Sunday, February 28, 2010

Smokey Bones

It was Friday night and I was hungry and I did not want to order take out and since I was hanging out with my fifteen year old, I really didn't want anything too fancy.

That is how we ended up at Smokey Bones on Greenbrier Parkway in Chesapeake.

This was not my first visit to Smokey Bones and I think one of the reasons I enjoy it is because of the casual atmosphere. It's perfect if you're looking for that sort of thing. There is a large dining area, a large bar area, pool tables and many flat screen televisions. We arrived shortly after 7:00 p.m. and we were faced with a 40-minute wait. That may be typical for a Friday night anywhere. My fifteen year old and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and decided to wait. The waiting area had plenty of comfortable seating and we didn't have anything else to do, so why not?

Once our names were called the hostess led us to our table and let us know that it may be a few minutes before our server arrived. Tyler arrived in less than a few minutes and because the restaurant was so busy we placed our drink and dinner orders at the same time.

Smokey Bones has a wide selection of steaks, burgers, chicken and of course, barbecue. Their menu can be accessed on line. I'm trying to eat a little healthier these days so I ordered the steak and spinach salad. I asked for the steak to be cooked medium and it came out perfectly. The dressing did not overwhelm the greens but I did leave a big pile of onions at the bottom of the plate. My fifteen year old ordered a sampler platter which included a few fried goodies like onion rings, chicken fingers and cheese fries. She ate all the chicken, we shared the rings and she picked at the fries. Including drinks, we spent less than $40 for the two of us. The service was quick and friendly and I always get a kick out of reading the T-shirts that the servers wear. One said: "Nothing is better for meat than a good dry rub. Stop laughing."

I couldn't stop laughing.

1405 Greenbrier Pkwy
Chesapeake, VA 23320
(757) 361-6843

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Monday, February 8, 2010

The Cellars

Are you looking for a place to take your sweetie on Valentine's Day?

I'd like to recommend The Cellars.

The Cellars is literally in the cellar of the Church Point Manor bed and breakfast in Virginia Beach. We were spending the night at the bed-and-breakfast and since the weather was so bad we thought it would be a good idea to just eat downstairs. The restaurant is dimly lit and provides a comfortable setting. We had the option of dining either in the dining room, the bar or the lounge area, which includes a fireplace and television. In addition to tall tables there are comfortable couches which line the perimeter of the lounge area. We chose the lounge.

The menu didn't seem to contain a lot of variety, but I was intrigued by what I did see. Of course, there were also specials that were not inlcuded on the menu.

We started with appetizers:

This is the Virginia Tomato Two-Way

Fried green tomatoes, local vine-ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, local basil, pickled shallots, red pepper essence and an aged balsamic reduction. Pretty, isn't it? This is one of my favorite appetizers but I've never had it with fried green tomatoes and I thought that was an interesting twist. The tomatoes were lightly fried and not at all heavy. The portion size, for me, was perfect and adding one more fried tomato would have been too much.

We also ordered the Church Point Rockafella:

We always enjoy oysters rockafeller but as you can see this is not oysters rockafeller. These are lightly fried selected oysters covered in a puree of local watercress, arugula, applewood bacon, sambuca, parmesan and chives. I was only able to taste one of them because I blinked and Bryan had inhaled the others. Needless to say, he loved them.

As an entree, Bryan ordered what was called the "over-the-top"

It consists of a beef tenderloin, on top of mashed potatoes and carrots, and topped with carmelized onions and a sauce that I can't recall. The steak was cooked perfectly but I thought the sauce was a little heavy.

I ordered the special which was herb encrusted rockfish in a chorizo sauce with pesto mashed potatoes and baby bok choy.

Where to begin. I have never had a rockfish that I didn't like. You can't see them in this picture but the mashed potatoes were green (because of the pesto) -- which threw me at first but they were delicious. This was my first time being served bok choy in a restaurant. It's a little stringy and not one of my favorite vegetables. It was lightly seasoned and complimented the fish in a good way.
For dessert, we shared an apple tart topped with bourbon vanilla custard.

The staff at The Cellars were completely professional. Initially, we were brought into the dining room but when we requested a seat in the lounge they were happy to accomodate us. The service was outstanding and the entrees average about $26. In my opinion, it was well worth it. You are encouraged to make reservations and you can view their menu and wine list on their website.

4001 Church Point Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
(757) 460-2567

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