A great restaurant never rests on its laurels. Six Burner was good several years ago when we had our first meal there, but they have since built on their experience to elevate themselves to a great restaurant. An original menu paired with a comfortable and elegant space and professional and personable service makes Six Burner one of Richmond’s best eateries.
Ever since Six Burner announced last year that they have become the only restaurant in the area certified by the Department of Health to cook using the sous vide method, we had been itching to try it out. Utilized by some of the best chefs in the country, the sous vide method uses a combination of precise temperature and vacuum sealing to prepare meats and fishes. We paid a visit to this Fan mainstay recently to check out this new technique and see what else chef Philip Denny has up his sleeve nowadays.
Our experience got off to a successful start when we were greeted at the door and offered helpful advice on choosing the roomiest of the dark wooden booths. The space was dimly lit, and the long bar and candlelit tables suggested an old tavern feel.
Our genuinely pleasant and knowledgeable waitress got us started with entrée choices and suggested a great wine to go along with our table’s wide range of menu choices. We started with an appetizer of local fried oysters ($9). Served on top of a spicy tartar sauce, the oysters had a nice balance of delicate breading and fresh mollusk.
The sous vide option for the evening was a wild sockeye salmon ($24). Because of the method of cooking, most may be surprised by the uniformly deep salmon color, more akin in appearance to raw salmon than a cooked dish. The fish is not exposed to high heat, so there is no sear—the consistency is uniform throughout.
The salmon was unlike any other we have ever had—it had more of a melt-in-your-mouth texture than your typical grilled or sautéed fish. The true flavors shone through and were complemented by a sweet saffron sauce and cherry tomatoes, Romano beans and green beans, purple and white bell peppers and rainbow radishes. The coral, purple and yellow colors of the dish popped off the plate with a tropical feel.
Sous vide is not the only trick Six Burner has up its sleeve. The rainbow trout ($24) was served with its crisp skin front and center, and why not when it is cooked so delectably? Not at all rubbery, the skin offered a crisp complement to the flaky meat underneath. Served on a bed of green lentils, roasted garlic, Swiss chard, bacon, fresh horseradish, and delicious oyster mushrooms mixed with a roasted peanut oil, the dish was a unique treat.
Our special guest of the evening, Jon’s mom, found a winner in the “umami on a plate” ($28)—48-hour braised short ribs, dusted with furikake, with roasted potatoes, shitake mushrooms, grilled spring onions, bacon powder and a “secret sauce.” Wonderfully tangy and moist, the secret sauce was infused into each bite. The potatoes and mushrooms particularly benefited from the succulent sauce. But, the real wonder was the tender meat with very little gristle—this is no backyard barbecue.
The service was among the best we have encountered. Our server was helpful with menu descriptions, wine selections, and even gave a fair rundown of the sous vide method. She seemed to delight in guests enjoying themselves, which is a rare attribute indeed.
While we have a good number of great restaurants in town, what really sets Six Burner apart is its unique menu. While offering some more traditional options like crab cakes and oysters, most of what we tasted on our visit was unlike the offerings of any other place we have visited in town.
Review written By: Jon and Leah Nelson
Published: July 22, 2011 (Richmond.com)