When someone asks me where to eat in Richmond, my first answer is always Comfort. It’s the epitome of our fair city, serving Southern food at its finest. Coming from a large Southern family, I’ve tried every classic comfort dish you can imagine. I clearly remember my grandmother’s table at family gatherings – laden with mounds of casseroles, cornbread, squash, collard greens, fried chicken, baked ham and all sorts of fruit and meringue pies. But I never knew Southern food could taste so gourmet until I found Comfort. Don’t get me wrong. The food and atmosphere aren’t frilly. The entrees don’t look like fine art. They just taste that way. Comfort’s sides are so flavorful, most times I order the vegetable plate for dinner – fried okra, mac n’ cheese, squash casserole, cheddar cheese grits, green beans. I could go on and on. I visited for lunch recently, though, and decided to try the pimento cheese sandwich. Pimento cheese was not on my list of favorite foods until two months ago when I tried the small plate at Pasture, a new restaurant by Jason Alley, the chef and owner of Comfort. Sure enough, Comfort’s sandwich came with the same delectable, creamy concoction. The optional fried green tomatoes added an extra Southern kick. Mmm, mmm, good!
Two of my lunch buddies ordered the spinach salad, a heaping bowl of green spinach with chopped onion, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes and a scrumptious warm bacon vinaigrette dressing. I’ve started many Comfort dinners with the appetizer version of this super salad. However, there’s just one item that I must have during every visit – the banana pudding. It’s the best dessert in Richmond, and for this chocoholic, that’s saying something. No ordinary pudding and nilla wafer combination, Comfort’s version is done crème brulee style with caramelized slices of banana, a subtly sweet custard and just the right crust. You don’t like banana pudding or crème brulee? It doesn’t matter – you must try this taste of perfection. And you might want to order it before you begin your meal, because they often run out during lunch and dinner. I’m not sure why I agreed to share with the rest of the table during our recent lunch. I can easily eat the whole thing by myself and still crave more.
Comfort is located at the corner of Broad Street and Jefferson in historic Jackson Ward. It’s right in the thick of things for First Fridays Art Walks (make a reservation if you plan to dine on the first Friday of the month), a block away from Theatre IV and easily accessible from the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the Coliseum and The Jefferson Hotel.
Read more about chef Jason Alley in GQ (http://www.gq.com/food-travel/restaurants-and-bars/201110/short-order-richmond-jason-alley-comfort-pasture-interview) and Bon Appetit (February 2012) magazines.
200 Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Carla Murray is Assistant Director of Marketing & PR for Maymont. She is a Richmond native and a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate. She lives in New Kent with her husband, two daughters, a dog, a cat and a turtle. Some of her favorite activities include letterboxing, long walks, Cirque du Soleil shows, wine tastings, reading novels, and spending time with family and friends.