Friday, December 4, 2009
The Green Onion-Norfolk, VA-Where is the food?!
A popular Colley Avenue spot, Green Onion has an eclectic atmosphere and, for the most, part decent food. Recently, I have eaten at the Green Onion twice for lunch and once for brunch. A few years ago, I also had dinner during Norfolk's restaurant week. For some reason, I breezed over it for a good while since it was Wild Monkey years ago. For the restaurant week dinner, I chose the meatloaf, which at the time, was not a regular menu item and it was scrumptious. The portion was a good size and the accompanying mashed potatoes were nice and creamy.
My next occasion was the brunch, which I can compare to Tortilla West for one, scary reason...the salt. I ordered the poached eggs with spinach over what was supposed to be Challah bread with cheesy grits. My brunch companion ordered the corned beef hash with a side of sausage and we decided to add an order of the French toast and pommes frites to have a variety to review. My eggs were fine, but the spinach beneath had so much salt, I had to pick it off...read, unhappy. The bread was not Challah and the grits had as much salt as the spinach and were not cheesy at all! I was very disappointed because the dish looked so good on paper and when it arrived. The corned beef has also been a bitter pill and was very salty and Onion was out of sausage at 11:30am. When you open at 10am, how are you out of sausage in an hour and a half? Rhetorical question. Luckily, the French toast was excellent and the pommes frites were as well, but without those additions, the meal would have been a total bust. Green Onion is on the pricey side, so my displeasure was that much more considerable. Service was not stellar either. Our waiter seemed distracted and he actually substituted bacon for that side of sausage without asking. If he knew or found out they were out of sausage, he should have immediately let his customers know that and ask what he could substitute. That whole sausage detail of the meal was quite irritating. I move on.
I had lunch there a few weeks ago after someone else suggested Onion. I probably would still have not gone back had this person not broached the idea. This day, service was good and the food was good. My companion had the flat iron steak with mac 'n cheese and I ordered the spring mix salad, mixed greens with a button of fried goat cheese. The salad was excellent but it is very dainty - greens and the goat cheese with a balsamic dressing. I had this on a day I did not want anything heavy, so it was not the end of the world, but the comparison is...No Frill's salads are twice the size with twice the amount of ingredients and the same price...or less if you factor in added meat at No Frill. The flat iron steak was a hit, but note, the mac 'n cheese has changed. It used to be more of a Parmesan flavor and now it is cheddar...in case that is a deal breaker for anyone. The Onion was somewhat back in my good graces, so Laine and I decided it was time for a review. I wanted to eat there again in all fairness before I dwelled too much on my brunch trauma.
Last week, Laine and I met. We both opted for the Mango Salad, mixed greens with dried cherries, fresh mango, goat cheese and walnuts with a honey-raspberry dressing. Everything was very fresh, the mango, particularly, but the size of the salad killed me. We were both done in a few bites...for a $12 price ring. Not a good idea, Green Onion. You are a restaurant; do not starve your patrons. We decided to ask about dessert because we were both still hungry (this was not a day after a large holiday meal). I spied a cheese plate come out during this last visit and it was undersized as well. The egg nog cheesecake appealed to both Laine and I and it was a great choice, but it had more of a ginger snap taste with a very slight hint of egg nog. The graham cracker crust was moist, but a big hunk of it was missing upon arrival...that is the best part, they should have cut another piece. Presentation faux pas!
My synopsis is mixed and the Miller Light slogan comes to mind, great taste, less filling...Green Onion's food quality is great, and I will try brunch and dinner there again and report back, but the salads and soups ($10 and up for soup!) are pricey. The entrees look to be a little fairer on portion size and dinner might be a better bet...but you are going to pay more, so be prepared.
Alex's review is right on. $12 for a salad that does not contain chicken, steak, or seafood is a little steep. I would have been okay with that if the portion were large, but it was not. I am being generous when I say that there may have been a tablespoon of cheese on the salad. Alex and I are eaters! Serve this portion size to lollipop heads in Los Angeles. The pie was good, but not 'noggy' at all. If I had not known it was an egg nog cheesecake I never would have guessed it. The missing chunk of crust was sad too. It is not like they were busy either. We were one of 4 tables. I was offered patio seating when I entered, but declined not knowing if Alex would be interested. Later, I was glad I did. Since the Virginia smoking ban most restaurants, like Green Onion, have turned their outdoor patios into their smokers' section, completely killing the luster of it for me. I have to wonder why this place is so popular? It has potential but misses the mark in too many categories. By the way, No Frill Grill, located next door, was slam packed. Gee, I wonder why...
Located at 1603 Colley Avenue in Norfolk's Ghent district, Green Onion is open
Sun 10am-2pm, 5pm-9pm