In my experience hunting Roadfood, Richmond always has been an especially biscuit-rich city. A recent few days eating around town confirmed that belief in spades. Perhaps the very best place to appreciate just how great biscuits can be — in and of themselves and as the foundation for all sorts of creative culinary fancy — is The Fancy Biscuit Company.
The place itself isn’t fancy at all. It is a casual, modern storefront that grows its own herbs right out by the sidewalk and asks customers to place their order at the front counter when they enter. The food is then brought to the table or counter seat you choose in a dining room decorated in a style that might be called reborn southern rural.
Like their modest setting, the buttermilk biscuits are not in any way outlandish; they are cloud light and creamy with a fragile, crisp surface, just like a first-class biscuit ought to be. Atop, inside, and underneath these perfect biscuits are some truly amazing complements, contrasts, and culinary wonders. One creation called the Salty Pig wows me with the magic one-two punch of caramel and salt. In this case it’s a biscuit that sandwiches good, rank country ham. The ham biscuit is presented in a pool of buttery, sweet caramel sauce. It’s a dazzling combination.
B&G — biscuits and gravy — looks very much like the southern cafe standard. But the gravy is in a league of its own, far from the gluey paste that passes as gravy in too many greasy spoons. It is maple sausage gravy, slightly sweet with pepper punch and a spicy twist to each nugget of sausage, of which there are plenty.
You can build you own biscuit from a wide array of potential ingredients and toppings, but other wonders from the menu include a fried chicken biscuit with pepper jelly, goat cheese and balsamic reduction; a biscuit with country ham and sriracha hollandaise, pepperjack cheese, and a poached egg; and a biscuit with tasso ham gravy and jumbo shrimp. Needless to say, all these combos are knife-and-fork affairs.
A comfort-food lunch menu (served Wednesday through Friday only) includes chicken pot pie (topped with a biscuit, of course), meat loaf with seared collard greens, a BLT with pimento cheese, shrimp & grits, and tomato pie.