Friday, August 14, 2009

New Belmont - Norfolk

Exterior Sign New Belmont, Norfolk Barbecue Restaurant
Located in Ghent, New Belmont (formerly Belmont) is owned by the same proprietors of Cogan's Pizza around the corner (see our review on Cogan's). New Belmont is known for its nightlife, DJ's and occasional bands as well as nightly features such as wing specials and all you can eat sushi on Sundays. I am not a huge fan of wings or anything 'all u can eat' so I cannot say I have tried or will try either, but Laine and I decided to check out lunch. I arrived and Laine informed me the place was open but empty, completely empty. Typically, I would run in the other direction, but we knew we would have to buckle down and review New Belmont at some point, so why not on this one-hundred degree hot and steamy day. We were seated quickly and there was, in fact, one lone ranger at the bar watching TV and sipping on an iced tea.
Exterior New Belmont, Norfolk Barbecue Restaurant
New Belmont's menu has a lot of variety. I mentioned wings and they have a variety of sauces in which to dunk this popular appetizer but there are also salads,burgers, sandwiches, ribs and other entrees. Sides included mac 'n cheese, cole slaw, fries, hushpuppies along with a few others. I opted for the marinated portabella sandwich with goat cheese and roasted red peppers with a side of the seasonal fresh vegetables. The vegetables were great, sautéed zucchini, squash and onions. I was delightfully surprised at the good flavor for a restaurant I have always considered to just have 'bar food'. My sandwich was good. Actually, had the bread been better, it would have received a gold star. The bellas and peppers were marinated and had a fantastic flavor and the portion was fair. The bun was something I would not have picked if it was the last thing in the bakery at a local grocery market...and it was cold. If I eat a sandwich, part of what makes it original is a decent bread. Interior New Belmont, Norfolk Barbecue Restaurant
Service was not terrible, but not good either. At one point, our waitress told us to just shout if we needed anything as she was doing paperwork. What? Prices are reasonable enough and the food came out in a decent amount of time. I would probably not rush back to eat lunch again but I can say the times I have been in the evenings, New Belmont was hopping. Whether a DJ was spinning or a band was playing, people were drinking and dancing and since there are not that many places to dance in this area, that is a plus for New Belmont.

Dining Room New Belmont, Norfolk Barbecue Restaurant
The Nicoise Salad, according to Wikipedia was “first made popular in the Montpelier Region in the 1880's….Ripe tomato wedges, halved boiled new potatoes, steamed green bean, wedges of hard-cooked eggs, are topped with canned tuna (tinned in oil), and native Nicoise olives. Finally the salad is garnished with tinned anchovies. The salad is served with traditional Dijon vinaigrette.” Julia Child also had a popular recipe that really only varied by adding capers. There are some interesting opinions about the canned vs. fresh tuna. Keeping in mind that the salad originated in the 1880's, refrigeration was far from commonplace, especially in Europe, so canned would make more sense. I happen to like canned tuna, but of course prefer fresh (really frozen if we are "real" about it) if it is available.

I am not a purest when it comes to the Nicoise. One of my favorites is served at the Café in Nordstrom’s where they use salmon instead of tuna. Those rebels! A friend of Alex's had recommended the Nicoise at New Belmont. Their menu reads, “Seared Ahi Tuna with Nicoise Olives, Green Beans, Potato, Egg over Mustard Vinaigrette dressed Mixed Greens 10.99”. Here’s what I got:
Seared Ahi Tuna
Nicoise Olives
A bean that was green, but not a Green Bean. It was more like a snap pea?
Cold Potato Wedges
Side of Balsamic Vinaigrette
A Plate

It was more like a Tuna dinner, than a salad. The tuna was good, and cooked to order. I liked the olives very much. The beans/peas were good, just unexpected. The potatoes were disgusting. I don't mind cold potatoes, in fact, I love potato salad. But the ones they served were mealy, like a French fry gone cold after sitting out for too long. Perhaps these were leftovers from the previous night? Who the heck knows what happened to the egg, lettuce and Mustard Vinaigrette. The service was fair and the food came out rather quickly (perhaps because they only prepared half of it?) I’ve heard enough good about New Belmont to cut them a little slack. As a rule, I think it is a bad idea to eat in a restaurant that is empty. This was an affirmation of that belief. However, in today’s age of instant information, businesses can’t afford to have a down moment. You just never know when someone is going to walk in and end up telling the blogosphere all about it.

New Belmont is located at 2117 Colonial Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23517. Check their website or call for upcoming nightly events.

New Belmont on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

sn0flke said...

I do love New Belmont for their night scene. Never had their grub. However... can we guess what I am NOT diggin?!

They use PAPYRUS! EeEek!