Eating Out: Selba
Selba’s one of those restaurants I’ve always passed when driving down Cary Street. One of those places I’ve always meant to go try. It wasn’t until a friend’s recommendation prompted me to give it a [real] try.
Local RVA eateries are taking pride on serving patrons local produce, meats, and ingredients – Selba’s no stranger to this movement.
Other than the food and location, Selba excels with admirable service. Our waiter was kind and genuinely friendly, this [unfortunately] is something rarely experienced from other independent RVA eateries. Oh, I wish I could name them off …
I envisioned Selba’s ambiance to be eclectic and homey. My expectation was proved inaccurate once we walked into the open space where I found the white linen tables and neatly tiled floors (squeaky clean) to be surprisingly traditional. So traditional, they even have a pianist and a cigar lounge. Even though pianos and smoking rooms aren’t “my thing”, it’s a nice change from other hipster-ish restaurants (I like these, too). If it works, it works. In contrast to the conservative front of house, they have a gorgeous garden room tucked in the back of the large building. It reminds me of The Planet (L Word) meets a Tiffany lamp warehouse. I imagine this room is swarming at brunch (or any meal for that matter).
My girlfriend and I landed at Selba for an early Saturday dinner. By the time we were feasting on our main course, the bar, dining room, and foyer were alive with a buzz of hungry Richmonders.
We began with the Mazza Platter ($9). With feta spread, tempande, tatziki, hummus, and pita, this starter can appeal to almost any palate. It was simple and fresh but nothing extraordinary. Other starters listed on the menu sounded stunning like the Baked Brie Encroute ($12) – brie, pastry, plum preserves, and apple and Roasted Carrot & Sage Sausage Flatbread ($11) – carrot puree, sage sausage, brie, Fontina, and sherry wine vinegar reduction.
Always being consistent with her selections, my lady ordered the pan seared chicken ($18). It was full of hearty and warm flavors. The wild mushroom risotto and asparagus complemented the rich flavor of the savory chicken. It’s a great go-to item – one that our server recommended without hesitation.
On the flip side, the vegetable wellington ($19) I ordered was bland. For $19, I hoped for something dramatic and bold than the thin flavorless wellington. For something that was different that the other mainstream dishes, this was a minor disappointment.
The pear and pecan strudel ($7) redeemed the meal. Its authentic flavors and chopped pecan texture was a reminder this dessert was made with love and pride. The earthy essence of the pecans paired with sweet pear was melodic.
Selba’s got a good thing going on – fresh food, outstanding service, and one big restaurant. Although my entree was a light setback, I truly enjoyed my experience. I’m aiming for Sunday brunch.
See you there.
Price: $6– $28 (be ready to spend a little dough if you’re pulling out all the stops)
Ambiance: Conservative but relaxed – ask to be seated in the garden room, it looks beautiful
Mentions: Selba prides on local food and gluten free options. They also offer free valet (Thursday – Saturday) and a private dining room in case you’re having an upcoming event.
Address: 2416 W Cary St (Fan)
I adore good food; the restaurants that serve it, the energy around it (even the hoopla), and telling others about it. When I'm not grubbing down on a great meal or writing, I'm mixing aromatherapy oils, letting Jillian Michaels kick my ass, and discovering new indie music that eventually goes mainstream (sigh).
By the time we finished, it was nearing 11, the buzz of the dining room began to slowly fade but the bar was still in full swing.September 23, 2014
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