Friday, January 22, 2010


Let me say one thing about Restaurant Week: Make a reservation.

I thought about it and thought about it and never did it. Luckily we arrived at Terrapin early enough that we were able to score two seats at the bar. I don't mind sitting at the bar because I never have to worry about my server forgetting about me or disappearing. We're right there in each other's faces all night. Which makes for fairly decent service. Another advantage (in my opinion) to sitting at the bar was that we had a view of the open kitchen and were able to witness all the activity. Fascinating.

Out of all of the restaurants featured during the Virginia Beach Restaurant Week, you may be wondering why I chose Terrapin. I looked at the list and I crossed off all the places that I had already visited. Then I crossed off all the chains. Then I crossed off the places that were too casual for date night. Then I zeroed in on the menus of the remaining sixteen restaurants. Terrapin sounded the most interesting and appetizing.

I started with the roasted pumpkin soup

It was warm and sweet with a little bit of spice. I thought it was perfect for a cold, rainy evening.

Next were the entrees:

I had the crispy skin organic half hen with truffle mac and cheese and local greens. The hen was prepared with a thyme demi-glace. It amazes me how a restaurant can turn something as simple as chicken, greens and macaroni and cheese into something so delicious. The mac and cheese is made with Vermont "private stock" cheddar and black truffles and it was so good. It can also be ordered as an appetizer. The hen was very tender and delicious but I did notice that some more fat could have been trimmed from the leg portion. Otherwise it was perfect.

Bryan ordered the rockfish:

which was served with local collards and pee wee potatoes. The fish was cooked perfectly but I thought the portion size was a bit small.

For dessert we each enjoyed the Cocoa Gateau:

which is a three-layer concoction made up of flourless chocolate cake, chocolate gateau (mousse) and sweet cream bavarian. Off to the side was a mocha mousse puffed rice crunch with chocolate malt ice cream and the plate was drizzled with hot fudge. So chocolatey, so pretty and so very good.

Terrapin is tucked away on Holly Road and provides plenty of on-site parking. It's a beautifully decorated restaurant and I enjoyed the surroundings. The staff was attentive and friendly even though it appeared that they were in the midst of chaos -- the restaurant was packed!

I would highly recommend it for a night of fine dining. You can check out their menu on line and don't forget to make a reservation.

3102 Holly Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Terrapin on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whitner's Barbecue

Okay. I’ll be the first to admit that Virginia Beach is not necessarily the Mecca for good barbecue. Too many chains and I am not exactly a fan of the chain. So when I walked into Whitner’s Barbecue on Lynnhaven Parkway for lunch, my expectations were not that high.

I was intrigued when I walked through the front door. It looks like a little country barbecue joint. The menu and specials are scrawled across a chalk board and the tables and chairs look like they came from an old elementary school. None of this is indicative of the taste of that barbecue though. Seriously.

Once you enter the front door there is a man waiting to take your order. You can pick up your utensils and drinks on your way to the table and in just a few minutes the food was ready.

Whitner’s menu has everything: pulled pork or chicken, burnt ends, sliced brisket and smoked sausage; bulk ribs (wet or dry), a variety of sandwiches and several sides to choose from.

I started with the gumbo which included shrimp, pork and chicken and is served with a big piece of cornbread

The gumbo is spicy and delicious. I actually shared Bryan’s and I wish I would have ordered my own. There’s always next time.

I also ordered the pulled chicken tray

It was served with two sides and I chose macaroni and cheese and collard greens. As you can see the portion size is more than enough. You also have the choice of having the chicken on a sandwich for a few cents more or adding cornbread. The chicken was so tender and the sauce was just wonderful. I was hungry when I walked in and completely satisfied when I left.

Whitner’s also provides catering services and I would definitely recommend them for any event. The menu is huge but I wouldn’t worry about what to order … just work your way through it with each visit.

869 Lynnhaven Pky ste 106
Virginia Beach, VA 23452