Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where are Laine and Alex?

Loyal readers, Alex and I apologize for the recent lag in reviews. We have been temporarily sidetracked, but promise to get back out and about sampling Norfolk's culinary offerings in the very near future. In the interim, take a moment to read this entertaining article about a competitor of ours, 12 year-old David Fishman of NYC. Perhaps we could meet him for lunch one day and get a few pointers?


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Ten Top - A Quiet Success

Exterior The Ten Top, Norfolk Restaurant

There are quite a few restaurant secrets in Norfolk and The Ten Top is one.  Located on Shirley Avenue right off of Colley Avenue (Colleywood to those of you natives), The Ten Top is a dining gem.  The Top serves lunch and dinner and soon will serve Sunday brunch, about which I am ecstatic.  I love brunch.  The Top appears to be mostly a take-out locale.  Laine and I have been twice now without having a problem getting a seat, and this is not a big place.  It is quaint with an artistic atmosphere - the walls have wonderful abstract lines while you still get a homey feel from the surroundings.  Relaxing and laid back. 
Sandwiches, soups, salads, gourmet pizzas and a few entrees make up the lunch menu.  Five or so entrees make up the dinner menu.  For my first visit, I ordered the warm goat cheese and caramelized walnut salad.
Greek Salad The Ten Top, Norfolk RestaurantVery good.  The portion is a good size and the flavors were tasty.  This go-round, I selected the Baja salad with chicken.  One word, super.  Avocado, sour cream, black beans and vegetables appeared in the salad.  The Top also gives you a decent amount of avocado.  Laine and I have found that you are often slighted on avocado for some reason, and usually that is one of the main reasons you order a salad with avocado...the actual avocado.  I added chicken, but you could easily order this without the chicken and be satisfied.  It is definitely a heartier salad. 
The Top also has some gourmet items, such as sauces, dressings and a few food selections, for retail.  Domestic and imported beers and a few wine selections are also offered.  An ABC license is a must!  These adult beverages are also available for take-out.  Could it get better?  Your meal and some beers or wine and you only have to stop once!  That is what I call a one stop shop.  The Top does deliver to those in the Ghent area.  I do not know why it is called The Ten Top, but I give it a 10.  This is a great place to grab something if you are jaunting down Colley Avenue or you do not feel like going out to dinner but do not want to cook.  I, being the anti-kitchen person that I am, adore this option.  You have to mix it up when you eat out every day as Laine and I do.  I dare say dining out is a way of life for us that has also become a series of adventures. 
Next time you are in Ghent, swing by The Ten Top for lunch or dinner.  It is a good option before or after a movie at The Naro. 

I agree with Alex wholeheartedly. I was surprised to hear that this place had been around since 1997. It is such a well kept secret that I had never heard of it. My salad of choice has been the Tomato Caprese Salad.
Tomato Caprese Salad The Ten Top, Norfolk RestaurantTraditional Caprese Salad is simply sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. The key to this salad is quality ingredients. Ten Top does not vary much from this classic recipe. They add lettuce, onions and croutons. In order to keep it "light" they also use low-fat mozzarella cheese and light olive oil. An Italian from Campania might take offense to these edits, but they are right up my alley. Ten Top will top any salad with grilled salmon for an additional $4, also right up my alley. The salmon pairs nicely with these flavors and makes the meal a bit more satisfying for me. The restaurant is small, but cozy and the staff is pleasant.
Interior The Ten Top, Norfolk RestaurantIt is an order at the register kind of place, but they do carry your food out to the table when it is done. Locals flowed in and out quietly picking up orders. Today we were the only ones sitting down to eat our meal there, but previously there were a couple of other diners. On days I feel the need to get out of downtown and kick back, this is just the kind of place I like to go. As Alex said, we have no idea why it is named Ten Top. Their menu has Vegetarian friendly options for those of you who are interested.

The Ten Top is open Monday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm and will open Sundays for brunch mid-November. 

Click Here to see their online menus.
The Ten Top on Urbanspoon