Scallion Chicken (photo from Foo Dog’s Facebook page)
I like a restaurant that serves strong drinks and tasty, affordable food. Fortunately, Richmond’s newest Asian-fusion restaurant Foo Dog, which opened its doors officially on April 1, does both these things effectively. We hit up the new watering hole (located in the Fan’s old Main Art & Frame shop) last weekend on April’s First Friday after seeing the Susie Ganch: TIED + Radical Jewelry Makeover exhibit at VisArts (my place of work).
First Fridays on West Main Street are always bumpin’, so we knew we’d have a wait no matter where we ended up for dinner. We were courageous though and decided that no matter the wait, we’d wander over to Foo Dog to try it out in its first week of business.
We made it to Foo Dog a little after 8 and were put on a wait list for 45 minutes. We hung out at the bar and ran into some friends from VisArts, so stood around and chatted and ordered cocktails. The bar seats dinner guests, but is also good for sidling up to to grab cocktails while you wait. (Although, I wouldn’t suggest eating dinner at the bar on busy nights. It seems to have an active bar scene. Note the cocktail list.) In our 45-minute wait, I ordered two Hey Joes, a refreshing sweet-and-sour drink with Bulliet Bourbon, local honey, thyme and ginger beer ($8). Two Hey Joes put me in my happy place and by the time we were seated I was definitely enjoying myself, and all the murals painted on the walls and bar top. (VCU art students painted murals on the interior and exterior of the restaurant.)
We were seated in the front window of the restaurant at a high-top bar table, so that everyone walking by on the sidewalk could see us and what we were eating. I felt like a food exhibitionist as I drank and ate and talked to my partner in front of all that were walking by on West Main Street. (I even made some faces at the passers-by because I’m weird like that — and because I drank two Hey Joes.)
We ordered three dishes to split between the two of us: the KFC (Ken’s Friend Chicken), chicken tossed in the “chef’s blend of secret spices and herbs and wok fried” ($7); East to West Pad Thai with mushroom, red pepper, cilantro, fried egg, cashews and bean sprouts in pad Thai sauce with chicken ($8 for noodles + $2 for chicken); and Scallion Chicken with Malaysian marinade, scallions, pepper, broccoli and fried rice ($12).
We both weren’t big fans of the KFC. The pieces were small and the meat dry. (I grew up eating Publix supermarket fried chicken, so its hard for anyone to compete with that.) On the other hand, we were huge fans of the pad Thai and scallion chicken dish. Both were flavorful and original and left us wanting to come back again for both those dishes — and to venture out and try something new.
Overall, great experience at Foo Dog. Friendly staff that engaged all my questions and chatter, delicious boozy cocktails, and a menu that will keep us coming back.
Good job, Foo Dog! You have filled a void that was very much needed in the Fan.