I’ve finally emerged from my fried food coma, thanks to Mint.
Mint New Casual Cuisine is Julep’s slightly less expensive sister restaurant. It shares the same southern fare, just a little on the casual side (note the long winded name).
It’s minimal decor and hanging vintage light bulbs make this joint instantly hip. Of course, no surprise it’s in the Fan, nestled on the corner of Davis and Main.
Be advised, Mint’s menu is one to make you squeal with carnal delight, que the whole “kid in a candy store” effect. Everything looks delicious, amazingly unhealthy (for the most part), and FRIED. This is the kind of place you really have to think twice before impulse ordering from the menu. Remembering you should incorporate some kind of vegetable or unfried side is highly suggested.
My dining companions and I started with the fried pickle chips ($4), fried green tomatoes ($8), onion rings ($5), and deviled eggs ($4). Notice a trend? Everything was great. We all happily chowed down on these starters and even ordered more. Yep.
My favorite were the onion rings. Onion rings are one of those foods that’s absolutely based on preference. These weren’t a hit with the whole table, but a victory in my eyes. These O.R. are thickly coated with sweet root beer batter. Ah, yum. And the dipping sauce (you know, cause us Americans like to dip) is a nice coriander aoili.
For booze, I chose a Shandy ($8). It’s a standard cocktail among Australians: a mixture of beer and sprite (or any kind of lemon-limey carbonated beverage). The Shandy at Mint is a little snazzed up with orange liqueur and ginger syrup. It was great but the sweet goodness of this cocktail made stick with one.
For our main course, most of the table chose the grilled cheese ($9) or pimento and fried green tomato sandwich ($8). For sides, you have the choice of fries, potato salad, or fried pickles. Not sure if all the grease and batter was controlling my ordering skills but I went with the fried pickles. Mind you, that’d be two servings of fried pickles for me that night.
The sandwich was good, the pimento spread was creamy and comforting. The thick fried green tomato had a great tang but was all too familiar since I ordered this as an appetizer, too. At this point, I’d rather just had a thick spread of pimento. The sandwich bread, “billy bread” was great. It was a fantastic complement to the pimento and tomato. Plus, I like saying billy bread.
By the end of our meal, we had all sunk into a food coma while the smorgasbord of soul fried goodness had also settled. Our waiter came by to see if we were interested the in dessert menu. A big (but kind) “no” uttered from our mouths.
The truth? Mint is great. The food is to the point, simply southern, and unpretentious. My fault (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one) was that I got sucked into a la-la land with the menu and didn’t order smartly (is that a word?). Too much carb-y fried goodness.
This place had a fantastic looking brunch menu that every Richmonder should check out.