Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Tortilla West-Norfolk, VA - Salt....less is more
Recently, I visited Tortilla West in Norfolk for brunch. Last year, they did away with lunch and now open daily at 4pm except Sunday when they serve what I once considered one of the better casual brunches in town. I noticed a few things. First, they have always had pretty large portions, but that has changed. A frittata that once consumed a large square plate (your side was in a side dish since no room could be made on the main serving piece) is now served on a smaller triangular plate with your side...on the side of that main plate. Second and this was during a different dinner visit, the chips were not seasoned as they usually are. Let me be honest, I go to T-Dub, as the Dub G Crew (West Ghentiles) coined Tortilla, for the chips. I like their food, but I love their chips! The tri-color chips usually come seasoned so you have an added punch with your chips and guac or salsa. Thankfully, I did not encounter the chips sans season at the soon to be understood 'blood pressure brunch'. The last and most significant item of interest is the overabundance of salt. For brunch, I ordered my usual, the Garden Frittata, which is usually spectacular. While the smaller portion perplexed me slightly, the amount of salt in the eggs almost made me fall out of my seat. I thought 'maybe its the cheese, maybe its something else, am I losing it', but no, there had to be a salt shaker worth of salt in my eggs. I ate my cheesy grits, which were not that cheesy and picked at my eggs and almost developed high cholesterol before leaving completely annoyed and parched. Chas' breakfast burrito was fine but he said that the last few bits extremely salty.
T-Dub, what is with the salt? I did mention to the waitress to tell Chef Salty Pants to lay off the salt if he wanted to avoid patrons keeling over at their tables. T-Dub needs a new symbol for their menu...there is a 'hot' icon and now, they need a 'SALT ALERT' symbol. I was really hoping that I would venture to T-Dub more when the smoking ban is passed, but only if Chef Salt is gone. I'll surely have to wait now unless I want second-hand cancer and high blood pressure.
Tortilla West is not a place you are going to stumble upon while driving down the road. Located next to the entrance of Lambert's Point Docks and close to the Midtown Tunnel, it is definitely a destination restaurant. With no available lot, parking is on the street and is very limited in front of the building. I have eaten there several times for dinner and a few at lunch (when they were open for lunch.) I have always liked the food, so hearing about the salt makes me a bit sad. As Alex says, the chips are spectacular and a must with some guacamole. They have a pork burrito that I was in love with for a while. The atmosphere turns "Bar" as you head into the evening hours, and with that comes a bar crowd with noise, smoke, etc. The service has never wowed me. Once at dinner with my husband the server came to our table 5 times.
1. To greet us
2. To take our order
3. To deliver our Drinks
4. To deliver our meal
5. To give us the check.
No refills, no "How is your food?", that was it. How can you eat spicy Mexican food with nothing to drink? I was dying for una mas cerveza! There are plenty of great places to dine in Norfolk. Tortilla West is a crap shot, at best.