Friday, August 21, 2015

Twist Martini & Associates - Va Beach, Town Center

Twist Martini & Associates has a prime, corner location directly across from the Sandler Center, which led me there Sunday evening. We walked directly across the street to Twisted after waiting among others at the hostess stand of McCormick & Schmick’s for about 5 minutes. After waiting a completely flustered hostess announced to no one in particular that the “kitchen was running behind”.  Don’t these places prepare for concert nights?
The clock was ticking so we headed on over, checked out the posted menu and decided to give Twist a try. There were about 3 groups eating outside, and the inside bar was similarly full, but the dining area was empty. It also smelled like smoke. Not food smoke either, cigarette smoke. Usually I would have left at that point, but we were running out of time. A host/waiter showed us to an outside table and gave us menus. 

Once again…we wait. No water, no nothing. Some girl who worked there was decorating the sidewalk tent sign like it was going to go on display at the Chrysler Museum. She was 10 feet away and never budged from the sign. The table next to us was served, and still no recognition for us. Finally, our server arrived and we order everything at once. We are brown liquor lovers, so it was Jack Daniels Manhattans for us both. In my world all bars are judged on their ability to make a good Manhattan. Since Manhattans (and brown liquors) have risen in popularity over the past several years, most bars have improved on this item. Ten years ago, it was a different story. My husband ordered the Baby Spinach Salad from the Apps menu. It is served with strawberries, candied walnut, goat cheese and a Vanilla-Balsamic Vinaigrette.   We both opted for light fare entrée’s. I selected the Petite Fillet with Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables; he selected the Grilled Pork Chop, with Wild Rice, Apple Butter, Fried Onions and Bourbon-Thyme Drizzle. 

The Manhattan’s were excellent. I inquired about the fantastic cherry; one of the servers was very knowledgeable, explaining to us that they were Luxardo brand Maraschino Cherries, imported from Italy.  Additionally they use top shelf vermouth, Contratto Roso. Its details like this that take a drink up a notch or two! My husband said the salad was superior. Or course, this meant I had to taste it. The spinach was very fresh, but I think it was the vinaigrette that put is over the edge. I was excellent. My petite fillet was cooked to perfection, and the small plate is plenty for a meal. 

So, here’s the big miss. My husband’s entrée never arrived. Well, let me correct myself. We got the check, (from which they removed the pork chop), paid, and then the pork chop arrived. It looked awesome too…but we will never know how it tasted. Everyone was very apologetic, and we were offered complimentary drinks after the show for compensation. However, it was a work night, and we decided not to take them up on the offer. 


4517 Commerce St
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

(757) 995-7878


Friday, August 14, 2015

Steinhilber's Restaurant - Virginia Beach, VA

This weekend was time to revisit an old favorite, Steinhilber’s. Boy, did we time it right! Saturday’s weather was unseasonably mild, with low humidity, low temperatures and a nice breeze. That’s the perfect combination for dining al fresco on the water in Virginia Beach! Whenever you dine at Steinhilber’s, make sure you request a table with a water view, available both inside and outside. If the weather is nice, I recommend dining on the patio. I noticed that they have added several gas fueled fire-pit tables to their outside assortment. These would be great on cooler evenings.

After taking drink orders, our delightful server was quick to mention that they had a bounty of fresh vegetables, especially tomatoes, originating from the garden next door. How’s that for local? Two of the salad specials for the evening took full advantage of this bounty. They offered their twist on the classic Caprese and Tomato with Lump Crab. She had me at “Lump Crab”. My husband ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna Appetizer.

For his entrée he ordered the Baked Seafood Combination, which is a 3 oz. lobster tail, 3 scallops, shrimp and lump crab. My husband happens to be a soft shell crab fanatic. If a restaurant has them available, he is going to order one. They had them so he added one on to his order. I selected one of the specials; a bone in pork chop cooked with a peach barbeque glaze, served over a succotash of black eyed peas and corn. We ordered cocktails which we enjoyed while munching on cornbread and enjoying the view.

 All plates arrived in a reasonable time frame. We never felt rushed, and we never felt like we were waiting. The tomato did NOT disappoint, and the lump crab was very generous. The Ahi Tuna was also delicious. A tender cut, with a nice avocado sauce drizzle. The chop and succotash was special. Pork can be a tough meat to time right. It needs to be cooked through, but not over cooked. This chop was perfection. It was tender and juicy. I loved the peach glaze and it paired very well with the succotash. The seafood, including the soft shell crab, was another home run. 

Although I forgot to photograph it, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention dessert. I ordered the pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, noted to be a family recipe. Wow. This is a serious piece of pie people! The crust was very unusual. It reminded me of peanut brittle. It was crunchy with a distinct nut flavor, not at all your standard flour crust. The pie filling was heavenly. An extra spoon was brought out for the Mr., but I’m pretty sure he didn’t get more than a bite. I wasn’t into sharing my pie…which he is used to by now.


Ambiance-5 - outside on this day!


Friday, July 31, 2015

Zorba's - Virginia Beach, VA

Greek Side Salad - Nice dressing!

Greek food, oh how I love thee. Good Greek food, oh how difficult you are to find! Recently life events had me driving up and down Princess Anne Road in VA Beach, and Zorba’s caught my eye. Online reviews were a mixed bag. Google+ said awesome, Yelp said…not so much. An evening tournament at VA Beach National put me at the right place at the right time, so the family agreed to give it a go. 

They are located in the same strip center as the original Mannino’s. Not as nice as some of the newer centers nearby, but I am sure the rent is easier to manage. The interior is casual. No need to dress up. The far wall has a hand painted mural of Grecian landscape. As my daughter expressed, it was probably done by someone kind of new to painting. Service was brisk and friendly, which was good because we were hungry! We started to order cocktails for the adults, but were warned that the bartender wasn’t really up on anything to fancy, so we stuck with house wine. Next we ordered fried calamari appetizer, kid’s cheeseburger, Moussaka and Gyro Platter. My daughter begged for a BLT (off lunch menu), but the kitchen wouldn’t do it. I get it, but we were one of three tables at 7:30PM. It’s not like they were slammed. 

The calamari came out quickly and looked under-cooked, not golden crispy. We were quickly told that they had just changed out the fryer oil. Hmmmm….alright. It was just “okay”. There was nothing special about it and no interesting seasoning. The accompanying marinara was watery, and a complete failure as a dipping sauce. Next the meals come out, again rather quickly. In error, by daughter was brought a ground lamb burger from the regular menu, not a kid’s hamburger. It did not go over well. I thought it tasted great, with spicy seasoning, but I am not an 11 year old. The server was awesome, and quickly suggested spaghetti and meatballs. This also arrived quickly, but alas, the same watery marinara sauce was used. All three of us tasted it, and gave it resounding thumbs down. 

Calamari-This is NOT full portion. We ate some before I remembered to photograph!

Lamb Cheeseburger
I was the Moussaka recipient. I know from experience the labor that goes into preparing this dish, which is why I prefer to order it at a restaurant. Theirs was really good, with a nice spice in the meat and thick béchamel on top. I thought it was a little heavy on the potato layer, but otherwise a great dish. The Gyro platter, like the calamari, was just okay. The only standout from that dish was the tzatziki sauce. It was loaded with garlic and just the right amount of salt. Exactly the way I like it.

Gyro Platter


I won’t be rushing back to Zorba’s, and my quest for good Greek food continues. How I miss The Street Cook

4402 Princess Anne Rd.
VA Beach, VA 23462

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