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Best Bites: Kitchen Table Bistro

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We're just bursting with new food content this week! In addition to our weekly food polls, we're also premiering a series called "Best Bites." These are basically miniature reviews of eateries that Seven Days staffers favor for one reason or another, whether it be the flavorful fare, the copious portions or the unusual ambiance.

Last weekend I checked out the Kitchen Table Bistro's new menu, which is stuffed with comfort food in the under $20 range. Here's my write-up:

Restaurateurs are taking all kinds of approaches to weathering the economic downturn, and this one is my favorite: serve awesome food at reasonable prices. The Kitchen Table Bistro, which has always skirted the borders of fine dining and cozy fare, has a new menu that is meant to return it to its “neighborhood restaurant” roots. The most expensive entrée — Boyden Farm Ribeye Steak Frites — comes in at $29, but the majority of fare now falls into the under $20 category.

Last Saturday, my husband and I decided to make a meal of items in the 10-dollar range. The onion soup ($9) featured a hearty, thyme-studded broth and a topping of Thistle Hill Tarentaise cheese, and the whole-leaf Caesar salad ($8) came with tender, wine-marinated anchovies rather than the leathery version I’m used to. We enjoyed the high-quality meat used in the burger ($14) — best when topped with the house-made marinated cucumber slices — and were surprised by the hefty portion of pork terrine ($10), served alongside a flavorful prune relish and chive-garnished mustard.

But our favorite savory dishes by far were the perfectly balanced endive salad with candied pecans, pomegranate seeds and blue cheese dressing ($9) and the plate-licking-good cider-steamed mussels ($9). The shellfish came with bits of fatty, crispy bacon and dollops of aioli, and the sauce was slightly sweet and very rich. The meal’s finish was superb, too: cream-cheese poundcake ($8) with blood orange sauce, lemon cream and housemade ice cream.

If the Kitchen Table Bistro were in my 'hood, I'd be a regular.

UPDATE: Whoops, we forgot to give you the contact info:

The Kitchen Table Bistro: 1840 West Main Street, Richmond 434-8686

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