Cous Cous – A VCU-Area Gem
Cous Cous – 900 W. Franklin St. Richmond, VA 23220
Cous Cous, a self-proclaimed Mediterranean/Moroccan style restaurant situated extremely close to VCU’s Monroe Park Campus, is absolutely deserving of the hype it received when it first opened in July of 2006.
Richmond restaurant whiz kids John Yamashita, Jason Henry, and Alex Copeland snapped up the former Chuggers bar on the first floor of the Chesterfield Apartment building right on VCU campus and turned it into one of the best places to go for pseudo-authentic Mediterranean and Moroccan food and killer ambience.
Why say “pseudo-authentic”, you ask? Mainly because most reviews say that the food is not 100% authentic – but to this Richmond foodie the food was 100% to die for – and was authentic enough for me.
The décor is beautiful – high ceilings made of stamped tin, ambient lighting, rich jewel tone accents – and despite the restaurant’s central location, it serves as a cool, delicious-smelling oasis in a hub of activity.
Things to try on your first trip (and bring your appetite, because this is a lot of food):
- Curry Platas – Think French fries, but think sweet and salty, crispy yet tender, addictive French fries with a dusting of curry seasoning and curry sauce for dipping. I guarantee that once you’ve tried them, you’ll crave them. Often.
- Manchego Fritters – Melty, decadent balls of cheesy goodness. The size and shape of hush puppies, these are served with a mango coulis that blends so well with the taste of the cheese that you’ll think you’ve died and gone to cheesy heaven.
- Gambas – Shrimp and artichoke hearts in a gorgonzola caper sauce. Outrageous.
- Smoked Salmon – Tender smoked salmon folded top fresh potato cakes, smothered in a caper/dill/horseradish concoction that sets your taste buds aglow with complex and subtle flavor.
The dishes are served “Familia Meze”, so it’s not a huge serving. They recommend that you order three or four dishes per couple for a full meal. Of course, if you’re still hungry I suggest you go ahead and order a Pita meal. You have your choice of chicken or pork for your meat, or you can go veggie and get your pita with falafel (some of the best I’ve ever had). You also have your choice of hummus, tabbouleh, or babaghanoush. I say go ahead and splurge and get the garlic hummus PLUS the tabbouleh. Roll it all up in the soft, fluffy pita they give you and nosh. You’ll be full for weeks.
For your drinking pleasure, Cous Cous offers many different kinds of tea, plus coffee, espresso, and cappuccino. Or you could choose from their extensive menu of wine and spirits.
Cous Cous is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Richmond that will be near the VCU campus. Take the time to go, sit down, and have a truly wonderful meal in a great little spot.