The Rogue Gentlemen has been on my so-called RVA happy hour bucket list since it opened more than three years ago. I’m not sure what kept me from visiting, but I sure hope it isn’t another three years before I find my way back.
The interior of the space was brighter and airier than I had imagined and the small outdoor patio space is perfect for those warm (but less humid) evenings as Richmond slowly transitions from summer to fall. What can I say, I’m a sucker for comfortable patio furniture (think couches) and some string lights. If the weather is cooperating, I highly recommend ordering a night cap after your meal (or in my case snacks) and taking your drink(s) outside. As a whole, the restaurant almost feels like you’re at home or in your friends home.
Let’s start with the drinks
When I visited, the restaurant had recently released its summer cocktail menu and man, there is something for everyone on there. As you might suspect from past posts, I’m sort of all in on the fruity and refreshing cocktail train. I’m all for branching out, and I do on occasion, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Because we couldn’t decide, my friend Nicky and I shared the Tiny Rhinos — a strawberry infused Beefeater gin based cocktail mixed with Dolin Blanc, grapefruit, lime and passion fruit syrup — and the #CNTLPS — a cantalope-infused Rujero Singani mixed with Carpano Bianco, lemon, simple syrup and basil. 10/10 I would order either drink again. They almost complimented each other in that the #CNTLPS was not as sweet as the Tiny Rhinos and they were perfect for drinking outside on the patio.
If cocktails with 5+ ingredients aren’t your fancy or don’t fit your happy hour budget, never fear The Rogue Gentleman has great happy hour deals which seem to change seasonally (don’t expect to see rosé on the happy hour menu in the dead of winter). When we visited here’s what the specials were: $2 off draft beer, $5 daiquiris, $7 collin, $8 margaritas, $5 old fashioned, $5 glasses of rosé and $1 off snacks. Don’t you just love when happy hour includes food and drink specials? Shout out to the bartender, Ethan, for making the perfect traditional daiquiri — not too sweet and never frozen. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Snacks and small plates
After tasting our drinks I got reallll excited about the snacks and small plates we ordered. It was tough to choose just a couple of bites to try off the snack menu and to be honest, I wasn’t super confident about our decision to choose the sage and brown butter biscuits over the Parker House rolls — I had just heard so many rave reviews about these dang rolls. But if you find yourself at The Rogue Gentlemen and the sage and brown butter biscuits are on the menu, do not think. Just order. I mean, look at them…
The perfect mix of savory and sweet (because they’re served with apple butter). I think I could eat a million of these, but caution, they are pretty filling. They are in fact covered in melted butter. Also off the snack menu, we ordered the pimento cheese plate, because this is Virginia. And the smoky ham and crispy, tangy pickles perfectly complemented the white cheddar cheese. This is a great snack for sharing with a group.
After polishing off our snacks, we were still hungry so we ordered a couple of small plates off the main menu, one I absolutely loved and one that just wasn’t my thing. Let me preface this with the fact that I don’t typically love lamb but I wanted to give it another try. These lamb meatballs were just a little too lamby for me, but if you like lamb, I think you should give it a try (and then give me your two cents). The meatballs were served with preserved strawberries, garlic confit, local grits, whipped chevre and arugula. And the small plate serving came with two nice sized meatballs.
My favorite dish of the night came in the form of the house spaghetti which we again ordered the small (or half) size. BIG MISTAKE. Order the full size and do not share. I repeat do not share. This may be my favorite pasta meal I’ve had in a long time. And let me tell you, I LOVE pasta. The spaghetti was served with miso cream, lemon curd, pear and BellaVitano cheese (a cow’s milk cheese from Wisconson). If summer has a pasta spirit animal this is it.
Note: The menu changes pretty frequently, and I think that’s a good thing even if your favorite dish isn’t always on the menu. The Rogue Gentlemen is located in Jackson Ward and is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner service and they even offer a tasting menu for $14 per course (three-course minimum). My one regret is not trying any of the desserts (we were stuffed). I’ll be forever trying to track down the cheesecake served with lemon, blueberries and a corn bread streusel. If you make the trip, let me know what your current favorite menu item is!