Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Secco Wine Bar - "A Taste of Carytown" Restaurant Week

Secco is a well known hot spot in Carytown. It shares the same store front and owner as its neighbor, River City Cellars. The long and narrow restaurant has an European/Japanese ambiance with simple and casual decor.

Cheeses were nicely presented on a bamboo cutting board.  The goat's milk cheese had great aroma with soft and creamy texture like melted butter. A semi hard cheese with pepercorns had a creamy texture which matched well with the sweet red onion preserves.  Finally the blue cheese was salty and matched well with the sweet plum preserves.

Charcuterie, Olli Salametto Calabrese, Olli Prosciutto, Olli Sweet Coppa.  The Calabrese was spicy with a nice chewy texture.  The Prosciutto was mild with creamy fat marbling.  The Coppa was meaty with peppery spices. All of the charcuterie were locally sourced and sliced perfectly.

The bread was crispy without being hard.

Chilled olive wood smoked rock shrimp, charred corn, lime, tarragon, sea salt.  This was my favorite dish of the night.  It was visually amazing and tasted fantastic.  Shrimp were smoked perfectly with a nice light crunch.  The texture and sweetness of the charred corn paired perfectly with the shrimp.  The creamed corn sauce glued all of the ingredients together while the lime and tarragon brightened up the dish.  And finally the use of seasoned corn silk was brilliant!  I've never eaten the silk before.  It had a nice spicy flavor and was visually striking.

House-made ricotta and rapa agnolotti with sea urchin butter sauce and Aleppo toasted bread crumbs.  The little pillows of agnolotti were fresh and cooked al dente.  The rapa filling was very earthy with a spinach like flavor.  The toasted bread crumbs added a very nice crunch and spice to the dish.  The flavor of the sea urchin butter sauce was on the light side.  I wish I could taste the sea urchin more.

Hazelnut encrusted pork tenderloin, tomato and fig confit, house-made labneh, fresh herbs.  The tenderloin was cooked to perfection, still juicy and tender.  The crust was very mild but added a nice crunchy texture to the loin.  The lebneh cream had a yogurt like tartness that went well with the pork.  The texture and flavor interplay of the confit tomatoes was very interesting.  It had a soft cooked tomato texture but tasted like fresh raw tomato. I did wish there had been some sea salt sprinkled on top of the loin during plating.

House-made chicken liver pate, pickled cherries, anise, pine nut sauce. The liver pate was very high quality with a smooth and creamy texture.  The fennel fronds added texture and a liquorish flavor to the pate, not to mention it was visually amazing.  The pickled cherries were very tart which served as a great palate cleanser between each bite of the rich pate. The anise pine nut sauce didn't really contribute much to the dish for me.  The flavor of the sauce was too mild to pair with the rich pate and tart cherries.

Pistachio bombolini with peach pastry cream.  Freshly fried with nice dough to sugar ratio.  I did wish there had been more peach cream piped into them.

Chocolate-eggplant ganache, fresh berries, whipped basil sauce. The whipped basil sauce was very fragrant and it really dominated the dish's aroma.  The eggplant added more texture than flavor to the granache.  When eaten together, it was sweet, salty, earthy, and refreshing.

They also had a small but interesting selections of beer.  I also liked how they served them in the proper glass.

Overall I was very impressed by the food at Secco.  All of the dishes had amazing presentation with great colors, composition, and preparation.  The service was great and price was reasonable ($25 per person).

2933 West Cary Street Richmond, VA 23221-3515

Rating: ●●●●○


  1. Hi - Your photos are exquisite. I wish mine were that good. Keep up the nice work and keep being honest.