In 2014, David Shannon opened L’opossum in the Oregon Hill neighborhood of Richmond, that’s the neighborhood just south of Virginia Commonwealth University before you hit the river. And even after all of the accolades — Style Weekly’s Restaurant of the Year, Southern Living’s 30 Best Restaurants in the South, James Beard Foundation semifinalist for best chef Mid-Atlantic and many more— somehow I still had not found my way to this restaurant.
If I’m being honest two things kept me from visiting, (1) the need to make a reservation on OpenTable (in fact I made my Friday night reservation about a month and a half in advance because it has become that popular) and (2) I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But believe me, L’opossum did not disappoint.
From the moment we walked into the restaurant (thanks Nicky for indulging me) I was impressed. It isn’t often that I get so lost in the atmosphere and food of a restaurant that I almost forget where I am. That’s exactly what happened at L’opossum, for some reason it didn’t feel like we were in Richmond anymore. I fully expected to walk out of the restaurant to a snow storm and the hustle and bustle of New York City.
After we were seated, we quickly perused the cocktail menu and immediately we both decided on the Pillow Thief — strawberry white balsamic puree, cucumber infused vodka, and grapefruit soda — and it was perfectly refreshing and deceptively strong.
Deciding on an appetizer was a little more challenging after recommendations from a few folks who had visited recently, and ultimately we decided to be “adventurous” with the Les Escargots a la Ham Biscuit. Neither of us had ever had escargot, but if all escargot tastes like these, I’ll be eating them every chance I get. The dozen or so escargot were served with a buttery biscuit filled with country ham, and the entire dish was coated with a sweet garlic beurre blanc. I think we would have drank the beurre blanc with a straw if we were given one, with no shame.
Side note: If you haven’t noticed already, L’opossum loves to find interesting and playful names for its menu items. Also the lighting in L’opossum is minimal, hence the less than ideal food photos.
For entrees we decided to share two dishes, both of which were a little less adventurous than our appetizer. The Filet Mignon of Beef “Swellington” which is described on the menu as follows: Totin’ a first class hobo stick packed tight with truffled Duxelles (mushrooms, onion, shallots and herbs) and duck butter in a pink peppercorn and port reduction. Just yes, to all of the things. This was definitely the best steak I’ve ever had.
We also shared the Pave’ de Porc Chasseur de l’Autumn Olive Farms, otherwise known as a pork chop. This boneless pork chop was served with saffron scrapple and collard greens and raspberries. Also amazing.
And we didn’t stop there. After our cocktails, appetizer and entrees wow’ed us, we knew we had to get dessert. We settled on the lemon-lavender creme brûlée and we didn’t want this course to end.
If you couldn’t tell, L’opossum lived up to (and maybe even surpassed) the hype that surrounds it. Everything was just that good. I would highly recommend making a reservation for your next special occasion or if you’re just in a restaurant rut and want to trying something new. Have you ever visited L’opossum, if so let me know what your favorite dish was, I’d love to try it on my next visit!