Cozy and serene and surrounded with simple elegance and chic, Richard’s restaurant offers an atmosphere so intimate and comfortable, time and repartee seem to fly.
It seemed that the quiet ambiance (sans musical background) belongs to you and you alone, so that you could concentrate on your companions and nothing else.
The restaurant setting was once the compact, nicely laid-out home of the former restaurant owner and founder; and it gives one the sweet, tidy and familiar feel of a family soiree. The limited seating creates a hominess and warmth for a lucky few each evening. The net effect once you arrive is a sense that your party has membership in a VIP club.
The only bustle one notes is the owner/chef assuring herself that this effect is maintained from initial greeting to farewell. The experience, difficult for larger restaurants to duplicate, leaves one to conclude that minimal guesting, fine food, preciously attentive and convivial wait-service and attractive prices can become a unique brand at Lakeside. And in fact Richard’s has. Another nice homey touch here is the BYOB wine with a small corking fee.
The menu, featuring many British dishes, can be described as gourmet and thoughtful, reaching out to every palate, with chummy pot pies of every variation: chicken, beef, shrimp to specialties such as steak and mushroom pie and Shrimp Au Gratin — all accompanied with soup or salad and a side of rice pilaf, au gratin potatoes or ratatouille, another thoughtful variety of flavors to choose from for each entree.
I would be remiss in not recommending the pot pie I ordered with ratatouille. Aromatic with home-made freshness and wrapped in a tender, buttery, crust and creamy, capacious filling, it transformed the ordinary pot-pie into high-cuisine nobility. This was preceded by a rich and flavorful lentil soup. Another guest started with the liver pate, delightfully blended with spices and mellowed with brandy and port to a mild liver flavor. This preceded an order of Shrimp Thermador, a savory platter with a cluster of plump shrimp smothered in buttery mushroom and sherry sauce. A third guest had the baked salmon, which was at once flaky and juicy, hitting high notes with a dill mustard and wine sauce. The menu continued to seduce with home-made desserts: our table was drawn to try the “chocolate pot” that featured a firm mousse-like dark chocolate body rich and sumptuous, clearly a prayer answered with godly incaution and whipped cream.
Located off the well-traveled channels of Chapala, Richard’s sits across from Soriana’s at the pedestrian bridge on a corner of Obregon and Dominguez, an isolated location that is largely responsible for the nice, quiet atmosphere all about.
The only non-family aspect to Richard’s is that you can’t expect to just drop in. Reservations generally require inquiry a week in advance because Richard’s is open Thursday through Saturday for dinner only. Tel. 376-108-0180.