I am kind of embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t been to The Black Sheep until this weekend. It has been on my list of restaurants to visit for a really long time now, but I never can to make it out there to give it a try. Carissa always talks about how much she loves to get brunch there with her mom, and she has raved about the French toast on more than one occasion. It seems like everyone I talk to loves this place, and I’ve been missing out for awhile. I think the problem is that Kyle and I always want to walk to brunch on the weekends, and with so many great options nearby, it’s hard for us to hop in the car for the 2.3 mile drive to this gem of a brunch spot. I opt to use the word “gem” because The Black Sheep is a diamond in the rough, situated on a quiet corner in the quaint yet rough-around-the-edges Carver neighborhood of downtown Richmond.
We arrived at 9:15 and had our choice of tables in the small dining room. We chose a beautiful wooden table in the back of the restaurant which backed up to a rustic looking sub wall that looked salvaged and was used to separate the dining room in the front from the registers and prep area in the back. I immediately noticed that each table had a different quirky set of salt and pepper shakers; this is definitely an idea that I’m going to borrow when I have my own cafe someday. Ours were cute little gourds.
I sensed that my immune system was working overtime, even though I didn’t really feel sick, so I ordered an orange juice with my coffee. I ended up coming down with a major upper respiratory infection within 12 hours of brunch, so it turns out that my suspicion was dead-on. I still think the OJ helped a little though. Not only did The Black Sheep offer a collection of mismatched salt and pepper shakers, they had a variety of coffee mugs as well. Mine was Hawaiian.
The Black Sheep has a menu that changes seasonally and we found plenty of vegetarian options at reasonable prices. Kyle ordered the No Mas Huevos Nuevos ($8), “two eggs served with a wheatberry & black bean chili, topped with an avocado salsa, served over a griddled jalapeño gritcake.”
The chili was sweet and spicy, the avocados and scallions offered a creamy and fresh complement to the chili and eggs, and the gritcake was a delicious anchor for the dish. We think the garnish on top was homemade crispy flour tortilla strips. Kyle’s take on this dish: “MmmWow,” mumbled while munching down large forkfuls.
I had the Red Flannel Hash ($8), “two eggs served over roasted beets & roasted carrots combined with red potato, red onion, red pepper and parsley” with a lightly dressed mixed lettuce salad and a perfect slice of baguette.
The vegetables were nutty and sweet and perfectly cooked: not too crisp and not too mushy. There was plenty of hash to accompany both the eggs and the salad. While I rarely comment on a side of bread, this baguette was noteworthy. It might have been the most perfect baguette I have ever tasted, warm with a thin and crispy crust and a soft-crisp interior that featured the ideal balance of air pockets and crumb. It was heaven and it was only an accompaniment. Do they make their bread in house? Can I order some to take home? I’m still dreaming about this baguette – I have never in my life been so passionate about bread before this brunch experience.
Well I obviously loved it, but how did Kyle feel?
“This far exceeded my expectations.”
“This chili is so. . . . awesome!”
“We are definitely doing this again.”
“Let me get the check.”
If you are in the RVA area, get thee to The Black Sheep ASAP.