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Mekong Restaurant

Your Rating: None
Mekong RestaurantMekong Restaurant
BA SCORE
4.59/5
World-Class
148 Ratings
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
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
148
pDev:
7.63%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
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Ratings: 148 |  Reviews: 56
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.59/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Billolick
4.34/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

First, thanks to the forums and the great BA's that responded to my request for info I was able to make this the first beer stop on my journey from NY to Augusta, GA.

Super tasty Vietnameese food and a load of quality brews on tap...life is good... I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and a few tasty, fresh and local drafts...well worth stopping at if you are passing through...I'd be a regular if I was a local...

 409 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
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 Boone757
4.34/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of InspectorBob
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of dbrauneis
4.5/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This gem of great Vietnamese food would be easy to miss as it sits in an unassuming strip mall and the interior decor is basically what I expected for an Asian restaurant with the exception of the number of beer signs around on the walls. There were all sorts of folks here eating/drinking from families to groups of folks in their 20s/30s to retirees and folks came from all different ethnic backgrounds.

The beers were well poured, served at the proper temperature, with the proper amount of head, and in proper glassware.

The service was quite good - attentive, quick, and friendly. The servers were knowledgeable about both the food and the beer and I heard them offer suggestions for both to other patrons around us as well as explaining some of the dishes to first time diners (of Vietnamese food).

I have never seen a beer list like this in a Vietnamese restaurant (I've been lucky in most previous Vietnamese restaurants to have a choice between 5-6 different American Adjunct/Euro Pale Lagers) and it rivaled many of the really good beer places I have visited in other cities. 50 taps of craft with a focus on local Richmond breweries (including some rarer offerings) and Belgian style beers. I wish that I had a driver with me so that I could have tried more of the options available.

Possibly the best Pho broth that I have ever tasted. Food was excellent, I would stop by on any trip taking me through (or by) Richmond even if it did not have the incredible beer selection. Only minutes from I-95 for folks passing through.

 1,540 characters

Photo of seanchai
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Dicers
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
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 Mantooth
4.36/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

We would've missed this spot on a recent vacation to the area - had it not been for Beer Advocate. After seeing the buzz, we had to check it out - and I'm very happy we did. The exterior is unassuming and then some, you'd never know the interior of this strip center joint's got an amazing selection of beers. I looked over the menu for a good thirty minutes prior to ordering a full pour. The owner, An, is super cool - and our bartender was as well. They don't mind pouring small samples of a couple brews - so I did get a chance to try a few things other than the two full beers I had. Apparently they do a lot of big beer dinners, too. Also - the food is fantastic. We ate the lunch special and it was awesome - those around us said that everything on the menu was good. This is a world class beer bar - with great food. What's not to love?

 844 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The vibe is pretty much like any other Asian style restaurant so I didn't think that was too special. The service was good. The selection is very impressive and the food was actually very good too.

 197 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.1/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Mekond is simple to find just South of I-64 and Glenside on Broad. It is the kind of place you would pass and not go into from the looks. The windows are blackened and reflective. Once inside it is a huge place. Lots of tables and rooms and most of them with people and with people waiting. Unbelievable.

I was seated after a few moments and after the fellow in front of me placed his takeout order. I was given a tome of a menu and went directly to the beer section. The standards were there, and boring, but that list was mighty short, only a few selections. Then came a very short US section of micros, flip the page and three pages of Belgians are there. Unfortunately they only come in 750's or 1.5L, and most fetch in the $13-15 range, but they are there, and they look mighty inviting. I had been under the weather so I decided to skip a beer and sample the wares.

Spring rolls were good, fried spring rolls are to die for. The Pho was very good, just a smidge below some of the best I have had and made just a little differently.

Ooops, forgot about the service. Once seated, my water glass was filled immediately, perhaps even before both cheeks of my butt had hit the chair. Then everyone kind of left. Only after I set my menu down did someone come over. He took my order and from there it was a whirlwind of activity. I got my spring rolls in mere minutes and my Pho shortly after I finished the rolls. After the Pho was a memory the check was out in a flash. So once you get service, hold onto your hat.

I'd be back, not for a pint, but for some great Vietnamese food, and perhaps a bottle of Belgian beer.

 1,631 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.84/5  rDev -16.3%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of Jason
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +8.9%
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 Sludgeman
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of VABA
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is a little hard for me to review as I'm trying not to hold this "best beer bar" award they have won against them, b/c quite frankly I wouldn't call it the best in the state, yet alone the East Coast (I'm not sure what award they won: "city", "state" "region" or "country"). That being said, there are some great finds here and without a doubt one of the cheapest beer bars I have ever been to and if I lived in Richmond I would be a regular here. I went on a Saturday afternoon to avoid any crowd and was succesful as very few people here and I didn't eat b/c I am not a fan of the food style but my wife and stepson ordered and I have three observations. The food is cheap, pricewise, the servings are big and they thoroughly enjoyed their meal so based on that I would say this place has great food. Also, I read about the "Andal" or something and some tasting parties they have so this place seems pretty serious. About the only knock I actually have on this place, and it's not really a knock, is if you're looking for the hard to find gems and a large selection of hard to find imports I wouldn't recommend this place but that's about the only "complaint" I really have.

 1,187 characters

Photo of Todd
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of fredmugs
4.24/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of avisong
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Lucular
4.46/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of atrocity
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Highbury09
4.37/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

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Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, VA
Place rating: 4.59 out of 5 with 148 ratings
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