West End Eats

I’ve always lamented the availability of good eats here in the West End. The trade-offs of better infrastructure and parking are box-shops and chain restaurants. Lately, I’ve noticed some mom and pop eateries taking chances by not “Americanizing” their menu – Balkan, for example.

There is also a growing immigrant population here in Richmond, and with that growth is the emergence of global cuisine. Immigrants like myself, though drawn at first to the popularity of fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC or restaurants like the Olive Garden, soon realize that food tastes better if it does not come pre-made or frozen from a processing plant.

Though I enjoy the creativity right now of Richmond chefs embracing trends like the gastro pub and using local ingredients, I confess to being more excited in seeing International cuisine gaining traction in the area. I think that in turn, it would make other more established restaurants break out of a mold of mediocrity in trying to satisfy the status quo and instead give Richmond something new to try. 

I’ve long ago noticed that the location of most Asian/non-American cuisine (trying not to use “ethnic” since it’s totally wrong) restaurants in the West End have easy access from Broad Street and more than a few are in strip malls. Starting with Pho So 1, Mekong, Full Kee, Dalat, Thai Diner,India K’ Raja, Pho City and many more. Again, from an immigrant’s point of view: easy parking and familiar streets.

Anyway, here are some of my recent favorites, starting from Broad and Dominion Boulevard at the Shoppes at Innsbrook, Thai Flavor.

I love stopping by this place on my way home for some great Tom Yum Goong. My favorite to order here is the Fried chicken rice. The rice tastes like it’s been sauteed from the drippings of Chinese sausage, plus it doesn’t taste greasy at all.

Thaiflavor
Thai Flavor Fried Chicken rice

Further down on Broad Street is the relatively new Pho Saigon specializing in South Vietnamese cuisine. Minh, their chef, does grilled pork dishes very well.

phosaigon01
Pho Saigon’s Pork Bahn Mi
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Pho Saigon’s Grilled Pork chop special

Now I’m not a big fan of Mexican food, but other Latin American cuisine, I like. Which is why when I heard Jason, aka RVAfoodie, tweet about Peruvian Chicken near Broad and Parham…I didn’t waste any time in checking it out.

Rocoto Chicken, attached to El Jardin Latino Market, serves a mix of Latino food from Mexican, El Salvadoran and Peruvian culture.

I’ve only have had their Peruvian chicken but I’m sold on the clean, succulent rotisserie flavor. Their poultry is all-natural, hormone and antibiotic free and the seasoning can be tasted all the way to the bone. {also tried the pupusa after I wrote this}

rocotochix
Rocoto’s Peruvian chicken with fried yucca and plantains
pupusa
Pupusa 

Before any one of you think I don’t like American food, think again. I’m saving one of my favorites for last.  I love a great burger (and what’s more American than a hamburger) and Burgerworks does not disappoint. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve been there and living not too far from it could be dangerous.

I’ve tried their regular beef, turkey and bison patties. All were deliciously juicy and fresh tasting. Now there was one time we went there when my burger was overcooked and the fries were cold but every restaurant have their bad days.

The burgers are more expensive than most …but I don’t mind paying for such quality.

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Burgerworks SOB burger with chips and jalapeno on a wheat bun
burgerworks02
Burgerworks custom burger with beef pattie, bacon, swiss cheese, egg bun

Thai Flavor
4040 Cox Rd, Glen Allen, Va 23060
(804) 562-4105

Pho Saigon
10190 W Broad St  Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 217-7979

Rocoto Chicken
8046 W Broad St  Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 516-2687

BurgerWorks
10321 W Broad St Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 527-2747

8 thoughts on “West End Eats

  1. I’ve heard very good things about Thai Flavour and being a west ender as well, am looking forward to trying it soon. Also was curious about the new BurgerWorks, definitely appreciate the review.I haven’t been to that particular Latino market yet but saw it the other day on a trip to Total Wine and definitely need to take a stop in to check it out it appears.

  2. Kendra – I can’t wait to go back, actually like the adjacent market too. Lots of ingredients to experiment with.
    Stephanie – definitely try Thai Flavour, someone told me he thinks it’s the best Thai restaurant and he is a picky eater.

  3. Great list! Since we’ve been to Rocoto Chicken already (and agree 100%), I will check out Pho Saigon and Thai Flavor! Great list of non-American cuisine in that area. Have you been to Tay Do (tiny house on Rigsby Road, right behind Pho So 1) – for my money, they have the best Pho (broth especially) in Richmond. If you haven’t been yet, you should try it!

  4. Thanks, Rosa!
    Thanks, John! I’ve been to Tay Do a long time ago, I always go to Pho so 1 for pho. But I should try tay do again because I’ve heard so many rave reviews about them.

  5. OK, so on your (and other’s) recommendation, my wife and I tried Pho So 1 again last night. I would need to have both bowls in front of me to judge them both, but I do love Pho So 1′s pho. I especially like the cilantro they give you and the freshness of their meat. Definitely in the rotation now!

  6. They’ve (Pho So 1) been consistent lately and that is good because they’ll be opening a 2nd location soon where the Sino-American buffet used to be on Broad Street.

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