Fine Dining at the RivahPosted: April 21, 2011
Rivah (‘riv-â), n. [der. river]: 1. the lands and waters of the Northern Neck & Middle Peninsula of Virginia, particularly favored by urban dwellers for spring, summer & fall escapes. 2. a region in these peninsulas bound by the Chesapeake Bay.
For many residents of Central and Eastern Virginia, going to the “Rivah” is just what you do on the weekends, but not everyone can go. Unless your budget allows for regular stays at the beautiful Tides Inn, you can only go to the Rivah by property deed or by invitation.
Though a property deed to the Rivah will not happen in my lifetime, I am fortunate to have a few friends with such deeds who kindly extend invitations from time to time. As I am an Avad Fan of the Rivah lifestyle, I joyously accept these kind invitations. My daughter and I are the recipients of such a lovely invitation from one of our closest friends and are currently enjoying a very relaxing couple of days looking at the broad waters of the Rappahannock River out toward the magnificent Chesapeake Bay.
We can’t live on views alone, and it’s still a little too brisk to be out on the water, so yesterday we had to go in search of food. Because the Rivah is dotted with small towns breaking up great stretches of farms and large residential tracts, finding good food can be an adventure in itself. We had two such culinary adventures yesterday.
While our hostess was waiting for the landscape guy, I took the kids on the first one. One of the benefits of life at the Rivah is that the fast-food conglomerates have by and large left this landscape untouched, so the best way to find good and affordable lunch spots is to follow the local workers. Fortunately we had gotten a tip and beat most of the lunch crowd to Rocket Billy’s (851 Rappahannock Drive, White Stone, VA 22578).
Rarely do I have the opportunity to eat trailer food, but this place was memorable. From our order-taker to the car-side delivery, the experience was as classy as anyone will ever find in the parking lot of a lumberyard. The food was made to order while you wait, and I was thrilled to find that it is soft-shell crab season. While I generally prefer my soft-shells sauteed, this baby was lightly fried in a batter that did not hide the acquired taste of the crab.
My daughter’s crabcake sandwich was actually made of crab and not a bunch of filler. You never know what you are going to get in a crabcake, so this was a pleasant surprise. Her fries were seasoned with Old Bay (perfect!), and our friend’s onion rings were as lightly fried as the soft-shell. All in all, lunch from Rocket Billy’s was a culinary delight.
Just as improbable as our tasty lunchtime find was our satisfying dinner at the local bowling alley. Our friends had been telling us about this local favorite for quite sometime, so I had been looking forward to this culinary adventure. The Fusion Coastal Grill at the Kilmarnock Entertainment Center (16 Town Centre Drive Post Office Box 2100 Kilmarnock, Virginia 22482 804-435PLAY (7529) ) did not disappoint. Nicer than your typical bowling alley, this was a perfect spot for dinner. The wine selection was limited, but the house Merlot hit the spot. My hostess and I both had to try the most unique sounding item on the menu: the Kilmarock Quesadilla. Made with backfin crab, shrimp, Old Bay and cheddar, this unusual combination was delish, especially dipped in the salsa and sour cream.
I’m an Avad Fan of adventure, especially when it’s yummy. It’s at least half the fun of getting away. These two culinary adventures at the Rivah just go to prove that fine dining can be found at the most unlikely places. Hope you have an adventure today!