Monday, October 12, 2009

Uno Chicago Grill - Norfolk VA

Uno Chicago Grill Logo
Several times throughout my life and careers, I have found myself working in the Janaf / Military Circle section of Norfolk. Sadly, there is not an abundance of lunchtime dining options in that area. When Alex and I decided to meet out that way for lunch recently, I remembered one of my former favorites, Uno Chicago Grill. Several years ago when I was working out this way, my friend *Brianna and I started a Tuesday lunch ritual, and Uno was where we usually ended up. It had been well over 2 years since I last dined there. There always used to be a wait, but not so last Friday. (A sign of the times?) I knew Alex had already procured an outside table. The hostess immediately knew who she was and walked me out. A man I assumed was the owner also greeted me and said something along the lines of, “Have a nice lunch”. Hmm…so far so good!

Those of us out and about on a lunchtime work hour know it is vital that the restaurant you choose be efficient so you can get in and out in your allotted time. Uno has a great Ten-N-Ten lunch menu. Ten lunch items in ten minutes, all served with all-you-can-eat soup or house salad. Included in the mix of ‘tens’ is both a Deep Dish and Flatbread pizza pre-selected for each day of the week. I think Uno offers a lot of variety in their menu. Even the kids menu has more than the usual suspects, providing 5 side options from fries, to steamed veggies and fruit. They are exceptionally good about posting nutritional information on their website, including sections with breakdowns of meals by calories, sodium, protein, cholesterol, carbohydrates, saturated fat and dietary fiber. Wow. There are further sections for vegetarian, gluten free options, even food allergy information. Bravo! I don’t really expect or want this from private restaurants, but I wish more chains would provide it. This location has a rather large bar area and some interesting cocktails, not that I ventured in at lunch, but it was noted! Brianna and I frequently ordered what is now called “Shrimp and Crab Fun-Doo”. I am not a fan of cutesy names, but this is an excellent hot crab dip. A very hearty portion is served with garlic baguette slices. This can easily be shared by 2, 3 even up to 4 people.
Uno Chicago Grill Salad
On this sunny Friday I opted for the chopped Mediterranean Grilled Shrimp salad. It’s not on the Ten-N-Ten menu, but came out rather quickly. I was happy with the presentation. I have to admit, I like my food to look “pretty”. There were hearty sized grilled shrimp which were lightly seasoned and cooked to perfection. All the ingredients were present and fresh. They even remembered to put the dressing on the side (something California Pizza Kitchen misses about 75% of the time).

While we were seated, the man I formerly tagged as being the manager came out and sat at the table next to us with some friends/acquaintances. While he was there the table’s food came out; a great looking burger and a sandwich. Shortly afterwards a fresh plate of fries followed. The diners looked perplexed. The manager had placed another order of fries because the ones served didn’t look up to par to him. Interesting…. He did it in such a nonchalant manner, yet I was impressed (and eavesdropping as you can tell). I like that attention to detail. I believe it is what can take a good restaurant to great, or an average restaurant to failure.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I failed to give kudos to our server, Robin, who was very professional and efficient. She also had such a great attitude. Everything happened with a smile. It’s nice to see people happy at work and doing a great job. I used to wait tables and know firsthand that it can be fun, exhausting, rewarding, irritating, hilarious and heartbreaking…all in one shift! Considering everything you have to handle in a restaurant’s work day, you better like it, because it can get tough out there!

The Uno Chicago Grill reviewed is located at:
5700 E Virginia Beach Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23502
(757) 466-0923
Uno Chicago Grill on Urbanspoon

No comments: