Rating: 4 stars
Shout out to the Southsiders!
It is often incorrectly stated by those who live within the city limits that there are no good places to go in the Southside. Luckily, those of us who live south of the river know better, and I am happy to state that Sedona Taphouse is one of the best new additions to an area that already has several great options such as Cafe Caturra, Crab Louie's, and Capital Ale House.
Located in the newer development of Westchester Commons off of Midlothian Turnpike, Sedona Taphouse stands out among other Southside newcomers as an upscale bar/restaurant that provides a hip "city" feel, minus the thirty minute drive. Boasting over 500 craft beers (one of the largest selections on the East Coast according to the website), Sedona attempts to rival Capital Ale House. While it may not quite succeed, it definitely provides an excellent option for beer lovers, and may even be good enough to make city dwellers cross the river every once and a while.
|Photo accredited to Richmond Times Dispatch|
Walking into the restaurant you are immediately taken with the tall warehouse ceilings and the impressiveness of the bar, which has been full all three times I have visited. A warm glow emits from the area, and a stately stone wall produces a dramatic effect that draws your attention to the numerous taps and rows upon rows of bottled beers located there. Dark tables and a concrete floor serve to match the hip but still inviting vibe of the establishment. While it is well put together there are some minor complaints about the atmosphere. The tables are a little tightly packed together, and the tall, unfinished ceiling doesn't dampen noise well. So, when it's packed, the restaurant is fairly loud and takes on a definite bar feeling, rather than that of an upscale restaurant. But it is a taphouse right?
|Sweet bar! Photo accredited to Sedona Taphouse's Facebook page.|
Speaking of the bar atmosphere, Sedona Taphouse has some great happy hour offerings till 6:30 on weeknights, with select $3 beers and wines, and $5 martinis. They also feature specialty nights like $5 steak night on Mondays for charity, Wine Down Wednesdays, and live music on Friday evenings. Beer flights are also offered for those who may want to try out a few options, and I am guessing with 500 beers available that is a popular selection.
I must say the beer list is impressive, but my only complaint is that it is a bit overwhelming. Unlike Capital Ale House, which gives a detailed description of what their draft beers taste like, so you have something to go by when ordering, Sedona only lists the name, location, and type of beer (IPA, Lager, etc.). That is not really much help when there are tons of beers to choose from. While the servers are knowledgeable and can assist by providing more info, it would be much easier if you could just peruse the descriptions on your own. That is probably my biggest recommendation for Sedona, and I think both the servers and customers would find things running more smoothly if this improvement was added.
|So many choices! Photo accredited to Sedona Taphouse's Facebook page.|
To be honest, there have been a few other complaints over my several outings to Sedona Taphouse. During my first visit, only a few weeks after the place opened, we sat at long skinny tall tables (a la BlowToad) near the front windows of the restaurant beside the bar. While we were only there for drinks, the size and placement of the tables caused us to have to squeeze together and sit with strangers. I was glad to see by my third visit in June that they had replaced the skinny tables with the normal four seater size, granting easier access to that section and allowing it to double as both a food and bar area.
Another issue that had been remedied after our original outing was the addition of liquor to the restaurant. (Yes, they had started out with just beer and wine.) Seriously ... you can have all the beer in the world, but if you are going to make it as a full scale restaurant with a big bar atmosphere, an ABC license is pretty essential. I was also happy to see specialty martinis added to the menu, again contributing to the upscale feel of the place.
|Check out the hip urban style. Photo accredited to Style Weekly.|
|$5 steak night on Mondays - Photo accredited to the Westchester Commons website.|
So far I have had the chance to sample the BBQ sliders, the crab cake, and my friends have had the fish tacos. I thought that the BBQ was ok as far as BBQ goes, but the "blues," Sedona's signature thick cut chips, were great. My friends had no problem scarfing down their fish tacos (I didn't even get offered a bite!). Though they did think they were a little overpriced at $6.50 a piece. As far the crab cake, I thought it was wonderful, along with the tasty redskin mashed potatoes and broccoli. It was mostly lump crab meat and was nicely pan seared. A simple dish thankfully not overdone with too many add-ons. The price was also right, at only $14 for a delicious and well proportioned meal.
|Sorry, no pic of the crab cake, but here are the crab cake sliders!|
Photo accredited to Stephanie from foodspotting.com
As you can see, living in the Southside I have had the opportunity to visit this restaurant a few times over the course of its short life, and have gotten to enjoy watching the owners grow and enhance their business. Each time I have seen new adjustments made as they attempt to correct problems and expand options in an effort to create an establishment that truly makes people want to come back. It's refreshing to see a place that is continually trying to improve. Every time I have been to Sedona, whether it was for drinks, a nice dinner with my mom, or girls' night out, I have had a wonderful experience. I am proud to have another great restaurant in the Southside, and I look forward to seeing what Sedona does next!
|Photos accredited to Cassandra B. from foursquare.com.|
Check out the Sedona Taphouse website at: www.sedonataphouse.com
See their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Sedonataphouse