Mekong Restaurant

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

50 Reviews
Mekong RestaurantMekong Restaurant
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

6004 W Broad St
Richmond, Virginia, 23230-2222
United States

(804) 288-8929 | map
mekongisforbeerlovers.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
96
Reviews:
50
Ratings:
135
Avg:
4.39
pDev:
5.47%
 
 
Taps:
50
Bottles/Cans:
55
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 135
Reviews by Hanzo:
Photo of Hanzo
4.04/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Arriving at Mekong for lunch on a Saturday left me very skeptical, but I do not judge books by their covers. Headed in and was promptly seated at the tables near the bar. The place looks like your average Asian restaurant, but with beer signs thrown in to try to depict beer being their focus, place seemed slow and quiet for a Saturday afternoon. Finally ten minutes later someone came by to take our drink order. I order my beer and an appetizer, followed by entrees for my wife and I.

The food itself was very fresh, tasty and hot. I cannot complain about that or their massive beer selection between bottles and draft. Had a few beers and had planned to order one more but the waitress had already dropped the check off without asking if I wanted anything else, so I had to flag her down to order my final beer and have my check adjusted. Felt like I was being rushed off, which would be excusable to a degree if they were busy which they weren't.

I certainly would go here fairly often if I were closer than two hours away, but as it stands I won't be back until some Richmond BAs have an event there, they tell me that is when the place comes alive and is best experienced...but as far as just stopping in for a bite to eat and a few beers, I can think of many places that do it better.

Also, they need to go for their off-site license. There were several bottles I would have bought to take home if I could have.

EDIT: I have gone back since this review and had a much more enjoyable experience, when you go when they are busy it is a whole different atmosphere.

 1,575 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

One of the best beer places I've ever been to, though their image and marketing don't signal anything of the sort. The website looks like it was designed in the late 90s, and their building's facade is just a storefront in a strip mall in a completely nondescript street in Richmond. This, it turns out, is a good thing.

The vibe is fantastic precisely because it avoids all the trappings associated with modern, trendy restaurants. There was a great article about this recently, detailing how the rise of uniform reviewing platforms like Yelp have led to a worldwide homogeneity in new restaurants. A new, trendy place in New York will have shockingly similar decor and menu to a new place in LA, or Akron, or even Cardiff. The best places, then, are the ones that establish firm images outside of the uniform ratings system, and Mekong is definitely such a place.

The decor is straighforward: medium strength lighting, woody walls, high tops, etc. TVs play sports at a low volume. Were it not for their very impressive collection of beer swag, this would look like any other medium-priced Asian restaurant housed in a strip mall.

This MOR vibe is accentuated perfectly, however, by the staff. They are kind and jokey and rude and profane. "What you want, motherfucker," the bartender said to a regular, and the regular could not have been happier to have been greeted in such a way.

If you're an excessive normie and profanity burns your precious ears, this is not the place for you. There are plenty of new, Safe Space restaurants that are designed to prevent you from suffering even a secondsworth of confusion or self-awareness. I urge you to consult Yelp to find a list of them.

And I need to stress: there was no meanness whatsoever in the bartender's tone or intention. He was just being friendly in an unguarded way. And, in an era where "progressive" scenes are rapidly losing their edge and spontaneity in sad attempt to make everything as non-threatening as possible, I found this sort of approach remarkable and refreshing.

But even if you hate that sort of candor and prefer the canned, ersatz vibe of newer beer joints ("woah! they have edison lamps and they're playing the Jack Johnson spotify station!"), you cannot deny the majesty of this place's food and beer.

As for the food: I've never been to Vietnam, but I've had pho in places ranging from Portland, Maine to Hollywood, California, and Mekong's was far and away the best I've ever sampled. Even if the beer list wasn't a tenth as extensive, I'd still recommend this place just for the food.

The beer list is also probably as varied and extensive as any I've ever seen, as their geographic placement allows them to draw from some of the best of the midwest, east coast, and west coast, along with an excellent selection of Belgian brews. They had Alesmith, Bells, and Maine BrewCo all on tap, along with Chimay and Rodenbach. They even had Maine's Lunch, which is really hard to find in freaking Boston.

Overall, I'd rank Mekong in the same class as the big boys: Lord Hobo, Map Room, Three Penny, Blue Palms, Sugar Maple etc. Only their otherworldly vibe and excellent food actually push them to the top of that vaunted class.

An absolute must-visit.

 3,257 characters

Photo of Lucular
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Stolenface1
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Zonian1
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

After reading about Mekong in several of the national beer magazines, I made this stop #2 on my Saturday beer visit to Richmond. I visited in the mid-afternoon, so it was a little slow, which worked in my favor as the bartender had some time to chat with me about the history of the place.

I can honestly say I have never been to a place like Mekong before. I've been to good Vietnamese restaurants. And I've been to restaurants with world class tap lists. But never to one place that features both! The food was delicious, and the tap list was fantastic. A great mix of locals, top US beers, and great international offerings. It was so cool to be in an Asian restaurant that was totally decked out with emblems from the best breweries in the world.

A truly memorable experience and must visit. I drove 2 hours to get there, and it was totally worth it!

 864 characters

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.83/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Outstanding list of beers, many of the great belgians which I love, plenty of variety from around the country. The food was outstanding and the prices for the food and beer was excellent. Plus, food was also outstanding. Wish I spent more time in Richmond.

 259 characters

Photo of Bierpapst
4.89/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This was one of my most surprising restaurant visits in the last few months - although I had heared of it before. Basically I came for the food - which was excellent Vietnamese cuisine at a very good price - and took the vast beer selection as an add-on. But once we saw the beer list (which we had to ask for) we were inspired to do beer and food pairings. Our lunch experience was so good that we decided to return for dinner, when the place was a bit crowded. Service was as good as at lunchtime. Beer and food just fantastic (a term I rarely use).

 551 characters

Photo of Macsimus
4.83/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Beer and food nirvana !

23 characters

Photo of Barracudas
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of fredmugs
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Unbelievable selection of top beers on tap from around the country, as well a big bottle selection. Huge, busy restaurant with large bar area too. The food is fantastic and the service is as good as it gets. Try the Pho Thai and the fresh spring rolls.

 252 characters

Photo of carterbt
5/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of lillitnn92
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of dwoolley1
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of Boone757
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of HuntDaddy540
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Photo of bilstin
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Jenebauer
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Cobratrooper
5/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of elkinbrown
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of JamesStreet
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Typical looking restaurant from the outside and upon entering. Sat at the bar and the draft board blew me away! Lots of wild ales, several goses, and plenty of IPAs and stouts. Bartender Phillip was prompt and cool and An, the owner, was nice enough to chat with us and show us the brewery next door, The Answer brewpub. Overall, this place is a must stop if you're ever in Richmond.

 386 characters

Photo of atrocity
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Highbury09
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I'm not sure what the origin of the Mekong location is, but it looks like it might have been a brewpub in a former incarnation; at the very least, the bar would indicate that. Otherwise it looks like an Asian restaurant, or at the very least, a strip-mall restaurant. I found the decor and atmosphere pleasant but not special.

The service is exceptional considering that we're not talking about fine dining. The staff seems eager to please, and happy in their work.

The draft list is extensive and well-balanced, although they do lean towards what's popular at the moment (currently IPAs). They care about the beer and use specialized glassware for each style.

The food is varied as well, really quite good, and surprisingly affordable. Not unlike another reviewer on BA, I'd have to rank their Phở as possibly the best I've ever had, and if not, at least second best. ($6.95 for a large bowl of Phở Do Bien - you'd better try it!). I'd go just for the food, but the fact that they have great beer makes it an even stronger destination.

One thing I should point out is that you don't need to eat. You can just stop in at the bar and just hang. There's usually a crowd, and they don't seem to care that they're surrounded by the dining room of an Asian restaurant. In that way it's quite unique, and even a bit surreal.

Mekong is certainly worth a visit whether you like Asian food or not. And I should also point out, it's not that far from Strangeways Brewing either.

 1,477 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

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Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, VA
96 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.
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