Words and Photographys by Amelia Heymann
While there are many Asian food restaurants in Richmond, Foo Dog separates itself from the others with a great menu and reasonable prices.
Specializing in Asian street food, on their menu you can get anything from Gyoza to homemade Ramen.
The kitschy, mod interior only helps add to the excitement of visiting, and it’s no wonder this is such a popular spot.
The restaurant is on the smaller side, or seemed so at 7:00pm on a Saturday when it was packed full of people. The walls were decorated in painted murals of tree branches, a couple foo dogs and an anime Little Red Riding Hood. On the wall to the left of our table, they were projecting the popular anime movieAkira, and it has been said that they sometimes will playKill la Killon the TV above the bar.
To further the nerd chic feel of Foo Dog, on the drink menu there’s an illustration of Cloud’s sword from Final Fantasy VII and as well as the Zangestu from Bleach. My inner weaboo trash felt very at home in this environment.
My table ordered the Chicken Gyoza as an appetizer. The Gyoza was some of the best I’ve eaten in Richmond. The dough of the meat filled dumplings wasn’t too chewy or too overly cooked. The meat inside was seasoned perfectly, and made it so you could consume the Gyoza without the Ponzu sauce if desired. This is rare because usually the Gyoza at most places tastes plain without the accompanying dipping sauce.
While the dumplings didn’t need Ponzu dipping sauce, it did make the dumplings taste even more savory and a tad bit sweet. Once we ran out of Gyoza, my friends and I used the lettuce that adorned the plate to soak up more of the sauce. It wasn’t one of my prouder dining moments, but I had to have more of that incredible sauce.
After a few minutes of having the Gyoza plate cleared from our table we received our main entrees. I got the homemade Japanese Ramen with Shrimp, which came in a pork broth. It looked like something out of a Miyazaki movie the way the vegetables lay on top of the noodles perfectly. The noodles themselves at first didn’t seem fully done, but after a minute of lying in the broth a little longer, they were the perfect texture. The mixture of the salty seaweed and crisp bean sprouts worked together with the meatiness of the broth. The shrimp were stuck on a skewer and had been grilled. The light tasting shrimp meat contrasted nicely with the full-bodied broth. There were also a couple pork bones floating around, evidence that the broth was made from scratch.
For how busy the restaurant was, the service was pretty decent. The server still managed to fill our water cups before we had to ask and the food arrived at the table within fifteen minutes of ordering.
Pricing was pretty great overall. Their entire food menu ranges from $3.00 for the cheapest item to $12.00 for the most expensive. My large bowl of ramen was $9.00, and that’s including your choice of meat. The Gyoza was only $6.00 for six dumplings.
Overall, Foo Dog strikes the balance of good service, prices and food that’s hard to find. For those who always wondered what a bowl of actual ramen tastes like, not just the packaged stuff, this is your chance to try. Only a short fifteen minute walk from the VCU Monroe Park Campus, Foo Dog is at the top of my list of favorite restaurants to visit.
Foo Dog is open 4:00pm Tuesday- Saturday, 12:00pm Sundays and closed on Mondays, located at 1537 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220.