De Rican Chef in Virginia is Revisited on ‘Restaurant: Impossible’

Getty Chef Robert Irvine onstage during a culinary demonstration.

Three years ago, Chef Robert Irvine and the Restaurant: Impossible crew rescued De Rican Chef, a Puerto Rican restaurant in Virginia Beach. As part of the special “revisited” series, the crew went back for an update on how things are going since the first visit.

Since the first visit, De Rican Chef has updated its menu and opened a second location. The locations follow the same book of family recipes.

The original visit to De Rican Chef was in season 13, episode 2 of the show. Titled “Ambush: Beneath the Surface,” the episode followed Irvine after he was called to the restaurant from owner Raquel Rothenberter’s daughter, Tamara.

When Irvine got to the restaurant, he found that Raquel owned the restaurant and ran it with the help of her son, Reuben. The two were barely making a profit, and their personal relationships were suffering because of that. Irvine helped Raquel restore her passion and love for her restaurant.


De Rican Chef Was First Featured in 2016

Prior to the original visit, reviews mentioned that the food at De Rican Chef was good, but that wasn’t why Restaurant: Impossible was at the restaurant. He was there to help make the business profitable.

During the day and a half spent at the restaurant, Irvine went over profit/loss statements, tweaked the menu, retrained staff and made a marketing plan.

The owners of De Rican Chef lost a sister not long after opening and never really recovered from that loss, so Irvine wanted to help them get through that healing process.

De Rican Chef has been open for 14 years, and they serve authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. The food is prepared from scratch daily and then cooked to order. The website mentions the stuffed mofongos, pork dishes, seafood and street food.


How is The Restaurant Holding Up?

The menu for De Rican Chef is available online here. They feature, chicken, sandwiches, fish, and more.

Now, the Yelp page for the restaurant has 346 reviews with an average of a four-star rating. The most recent review is a 3.5-star review that mentions they visited even before Restaurant: Impossible renovated the restaurant.

In the lengthy review, the user mentions that service is inconsistent and the food is good. However, at the end of the review, they mention their disappointment.

“I’m not sure if there has been a change in management and/or kitchen staff, but this is not the same De Rican that I used to love.”

Another negative review from earlier this month mentions the food being great, but they also mention that there was a rude waitress. This seems to be a common thread throughout many reviews.

There are, however, many positive reviews that were left recently. Many of those reviews mention the atmosphere, decor and food.

De Rican Chef also delivers via GrubHub and Doordash. A recent article titled by Daily Pressthe Mofongo a la Criolla With Shrimp dish was looked at in depth. The dish is built around fried, mashed plantains and is served for $15 – $17 depending on which location is visited and if the guest orders from the lunch or dinner menu.

Tune in to Restaurant: Impossible revisited tonight, January 30, at 10 p.m. to see how Irvine helps the restaurant out this time around.

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