Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christmas lights year round, magnetic walls and letters, 200 different bottles of wine...What's Not to Love?

Q is a fabulous inner-Richmond restaurant that serves American comfort food with a twist and features an expansive wine list with over 200 hand-selected California favorites. Q is located on Clement Street, and the people dining there are as eclectic as the restaurant. The staff is friendly and helpful. As for ambiance, Q is on the loud side. The great food brings in large crowds, which means a ton of people talking; and the kitchen is out in the open, so you have all the noise of cooking. All of that noise is topped off with music; however, the tunes are very recognizable and classic, you know… songs that everyone seems to love. Etta James…At Last, enough said.

The interior decorations are a cross between a child’s playroom and an industrial plant. The bottom half of the walls are magnetic, and come fully equipped with magnet letters for your enjoyment and sheer amusement. The daily specials and desserts are written on a huge section of a chalkboard wall. Christmas and chili pepper light-strands hang from the ceiling and on the booths; there is even a tree in the middle of the big table in the back, which is of course covered in lights.

Don’t think the decorations stop there. One half of the ceiling is painted midnight blue and a huge moon, craters and all, completes the illusion of a night sky…inside! All of these things may seem overwhelming, but they actually give the place a quirky and comfortable feel. Once you get over the embellished interior and focus on the food and wine, I know you will be satisfied! One suggestion, come hungry because the portions are pretty big.

The extensive and versatile wine list, of over 200 different wines as I mentioned earlier, was created by Q’s chef/owner Andrew Gillen. He has even taken the time to pair his favorite wine selections with specific menu options.

The lunch and dinner menus focus on classic American favorites. A few examples: Macaroni and Cheezy with Tate R Tots, Grilled Harris Ranch Angus Meatloaf on Mashed Potatoes with Country Gravy and Braised Vegetables, and Ultimate Vegan Grill-Grilled Squashes, Corn On The Cob, Yams, Portobello Mushrooms, Carrots and Onions with Marinated Beets, Black Beans, and Wild Rice Pilaf. My absolute favorite dish at Q is the Potato Croquettes appetizer, which is served with asiago cheese, rosemary, and smoked tomato salsa. No exaggeration I order it every time I am there! It’s just that delicious.

Q is more than worth venturing out to. The food is great, and comforting. The wine will never stop flowing. And I promise, the magnetic wall and letters are always great entertainment!