Amuse Amuse
Contemporary cuisine, suitable for framing, makes this restaurant in VMFA a destination in itself.
Openings: Lunch daily, Dinner Thurs.-Fri. (early bird prix-fixe), Brunch Sun.


Amuse Restaurant Review:

Severin Roesen’s oil on canvas in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is dubbed The Abundance of Nature. So, too, could be the title of the jumbo lump crab cake with fried green tomatoes, bacon, corn relish and pimento cheese served steps away in Amuse, a restaurant within the Richmond institution. Part of the trend of museum eateries becoming destinations of their own, this dining room is worth repeated looks. And tastes. Rotating art adorns its walls, sculpted salt and pepper shakers bear contemplation, and Wedgwood flatware rivals encased Behren silver displayed in a nearby exhibit. Among ever-changing dishes, we like the green tea smoked chicken with sticky rice, pickled carrots, fresh herbs and green tea broth, and the polenta fries accompanying the flank steak will make you think trompe l'oeil. Udon in broth, rich with cabbage, sweet potato and more, plays with bold colors in purple, green and orange to create the sensory intersection of palette and palate. An exemplar of the locavore movement, Amuse uses much that is local, and much is homemade including focaccia flecked with fennel and red pepper. Interesting cocktails, wines and craft beers (often themed, as with a salt rim during the Hollywood Costume exhibit) may be enjoyed with meals as well as with small plates between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. Desserts (perhaps mousse or tres leches cake with caramel) are shows unto themselves. Art appreciation, meet food appreciation.