When I think of elegant dining I don’t automatically think of Chesapeake. I generally head to Great Neck, the Oceanfront, even Downtown Norfolk, but not ten minutes from my house at the Shoppes at Greenbrier. Clearly, I don’t know what I have been missing. Passion, the restaurant, is a restaurant that is a stone’s throw from my door step and I didn’t even know it existed. It is an elegant little place that has been open for a little over a year and I wish I had known about it sooner. Or maybe not. Sometimes newer places need time to work out the kinks. I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
Passion is nicely decorated and dimly lit and I got a pretty good feeling when I walked through the front door. The bar is at the entrance and just behind that is an open kitchen. Each table in the dining area is intimately lit with a single candle.
Passion’s menu is an interesting combination of appetizers, small plates, entrees and desserts. The wine list is varied but I didn’t think there were enough by-the-glass choices for those of us who don’t order bottles of wine with dinner. We chose the Candor Zinfindel from Paso Robles, California.
We began the meal with soup. I had the Passion she-crab. It seems I order she-crab soup at every restaurant but I can’t help it. I like to compare them and I have to admit that the Passion she-crab stands up against the very best
It’s thick and rich with tons of crabmeat. It was delicious.
We also ordered a Panamanian vegetable pear soup with shrimp and applewood bacon
Sound intriguing? I had never heard of anything like this and was anxious to taste it. It was awesome. The combination of the bacon and shrimp just made the soup. I definitely recommend trying it.
I ordered a salad and a small plate as my entrée. I started out with the caprese salad.
I always enjoy caprese and I’ve enjoyed it served both cold and warm. Passion serves it cold, which is fine, but I prefer it warm. Something about the molten mozzarella over warm tomatoes just does it for me. However, for those that prefer it cold I would definitely order it. The tomatoes, mozzarella and basil taste fresh and delicious.
I also ordered an interesting dish called “Not Your Grandma’s” Spaghetti and Meatballs
This dish blew me away. It consists of blackened sea scallops with oven roasted spaghetti squash and Fra Diablo. It’s topped with an asiago cheese crisp. It was so unique and the taste was amazing.
The second entrée was the carmelized leek encrusted salmon
The salmon was cooked to order and served with a marinated Portobello mushroom, sautéed spinach and chive mashed potatoes. The fish was cooked perfectly and it made for a very tasty meal.
We finished the evening with a lovely bread pudding
topped with fresh whipped cream and a strawberry. I always say that I’m not a dessert person but it seems I am slowly turning into one. This was worth forgetting about the diet.
Overall, our experience at Passion was a pleasant one. The service was a little slow as there was a thirty minute wait between the soup and the entrée. The dining room was not that busy so it was sort of surprising that the owners did not make an attempt to engage the customers. Also, it was interesting that our server did not suggest a second glass of wine. These are relatively small things that will not stop me from coming back a second time. Perhaps these are some of the kinks that they are still working out. It still has a nice feel to it.
There is plenty of outdoor seating as well as seating at the bar. There is a special five dollar bar menu which you can take advantage of between 4:00 - 7:00. Passion also offers wine tastings, wine dinners, cooking classes and weekly cigar events. You can check their website for details.