Friday, June 18, 2010
The Vineyards Trattoria and Pizzeria - Norfolk, VA
Recently, I dined twice at The Vineyard Trattoria and Pizzeria in downtown Norfolk. A few nights ago, a friend and I went to dinner after the Art Everywhere event downtown. It was a hard choice from the many appealing menu items, but I decided to order the Four Cheese Manicotti and my friend, Zola, ordered the Focaccia Salad. My entree came with a side salad and the waitress brought garlic knots for us to enjoy while we waited for our food. The restaurant was not busy and our food came within a reasonable amount of time. The manicotti was a generous portion, good and $10.50. Zola's salad was set on top of pizza crust, which I sampled and it was fresh and delicious and lead me to think the Vineyard pizzas are great choices. The salad portion of her meal was not huge and only $7, but if you are looking for more greens than pizza dough, order another salad. They have quite a few from which to choose. I figured I would give the dessert menu a look and wanted the white chocolate cheesecake, but they were out of that (my luck), so I chose the Tiramisu and was very pleased, thankfully. I have had one or two versions of Tiramisu that had too much liqueur and was not able to eat them. I was nervous, but The Vineyard's take on this dessert was just right. We received 15% off as the restaurant participated in the Art Everywhere event; a nice little discount. My bill before tip was less than $15. Not bad, especially at the dinner hour.
My next visit to Vineyard was for lunch. Laine and I, and two other friends, ventured over a little after noon and snagged one of the last open tables. The waitress took our orders and brought the garlic knots and then wait began. All four of us were pretty hungry and had a few garlic knots while waiting. The knots were flavorful and the waitress was not shy about bringing more when we had eaten the first round. I ordered the Mona Lisa Panini, roasted red peppers, eggplant, spinach and mozzarella on focaccia bread. When it finally came, forty-five minutes later, it was wonderful, very fresh and came with a side salad, always a nice addition to any sandwhich. Two of our party ordered the Chicken Parmesan Sandwhich and both were pleased. Theirs also came with a side salad. One ordered a cannoli to go, so Laine and I will have to find out how it is. My food was wonderful and the prices are more than reasonable, but the wait was entirely too long. When we arrived, the two-top next to us had just started their salads and then they had pasta and had paid their bill and left before our food even appeared. We had heard that wait was a little long from some co-workers, but forty-five minutes for a salad and a few sandwhiches is a bit extreme. I definitely do not want to blacklist The Vineyard, but I know the next time I visit, I will push them a little and ask for the check as soon as my food arrives. Most of the patrons are on their lunch hour and it is called a lunch HOUR for a reason. I cannot imagine how long it would have been if we had had a larger party. Eek. Highly recommended but watch the time.
The food was great. I ordered a steak salad that is not listed on the Newport News menu, but probably should be. The steak melted in my mouth. Ordered medium rare and cooked to perfection, it nicely complemented mixed greens and a light balsamic dressing. As for the garlic knots, they saved our lives. This meal took forever. If they want to cater to a business lunch crowd they seriously need to work on timing. Sandwiches and a rare steak don't take 45 minutes. This may be a better place for dinner when time is not an issue.
The downtown location does not have a website, but refer to the Newport News location's site for the menu. www.thevineyardskilncreek.com
147 Granby St
Norfolk, VA 23510