Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Green Onion - Colley Avenue, Norfolk, VA

Are you a part of the Groupon phenomenon? What a great idea! Getting people to buy services they weren’t even considering and don’t need, but now can’t resist because it is a good “deal”. A Groupon that was reaching its expiration date had us headed to the Green Onion on Colley Avenue a couple of Friday’s ago. It was hot outside, but Alex and I are office dwellers and decided we would rather suffer the heat and get some fresh air versus shivering inside in the A/C.

They were not busy. We were the only table outside, and there were only a few inside. My last visit, over a year ago, had left me with a rather ho-hum attitude about Green Onion, and I think I even grumbled a bit before going. Our server, Curtis, was the shot in the arm I needed. He was fun and funny, energetic and outgoing. Our orders were taken quickly and our ice teas served promptly as we sat back and relaxed, watching people stroll along Colley.
The Green Onion Turkey Reuben Sandwich
Turkey Reuben Sandwich with Mixed Greens Side Salad

The meals arrived super fast. The presentation was appealing on the nice, heavy, white square plates and bowls. My side salad of mixed greens was very fresh, and the accompanying dressing was light and crisp. I had ordered The Turkey Reuben. It was perfect. Their twist to the traditional sandwich adds jalapeno peppers and Gruyere cheese, leaving off the 1000 Island dressing. I skipped the peppers and didn’t miss them. Reubens often fall apart due to the wet ingredients, but this one held together well.
Our check arrived soon enough that we didn’t have to ask for it, but not so soon that we felt like we were being kicked out the door. All in all it was a great lunch, pleasant atmosphere and some good Alex and Laine banter. The next time someone suggests going to the Green Onion, I won’t be such a cranky pants about it.

A bit ago, I had a salty experience at Green Onion on Colley Avenue and had temporarily shunned them, but a few weeks ago Charlotte* and I decided to give it another try because I had a birthday coupon from Green Onion and it was Wednesday, all-you-can eat mussels ($17), which Charlotte had been wanting to try. We arrive a little after 7pm and were seated inside quickly. Charlotte knew she was having the mussels and I quickly decided I would try a dish that had previously escaped me due to other specials and entrees taking precedence. The Pan Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Platter ($16) was beyond what I could have imagined. The bowl was at least two inches deep and about five inches across and was filled to the top with green beans, spinach, tomatoes, white beans, corn, mini Yukon gold potatoes, red onion, green peas, yellow squash, zucchini and red peppers. A balsamic reduction, of which I did request extra (no problem!), was drizzled on the edge of the bowl and this made the dish. Everything in this medley was cooked perfectly and I cannot wait to have it again soon. Chalotte was really pleased with the mussels, which arrived in another huge dish and were topped with Green Onion’s fabulous pommes frites and a French baguette side. We both stared at this amazing portion and then quickly started on our meals. Charlotte shared some of her frites with me - they are some of the best around. We said over and over how we would have to come back on another Wednesday for mussel night (more pan roasted vegetables for me!).

I presented my birthday coupon to the waitress, who ID-ed me to make sure I was legit, and while the coupon gave us a 20% discount, our sweet waitress also gave us the dessert we ordered for free in honor of my birthday! I love birthdays, particularly mine. I have had good experience with dessert in the past at Green Onion and this evening’s choice of cinnamon bread pudding was no disappointment. A crisp granola was sprinkled atop the dessert, which was a nice touch and while iIt could have used a hair more of the caramel drizzle, all in all, it was really good. Since Charlotte and I had larger meals, splitting it was a grand idea. Service was great and our food came out very quickly. Charlotte’s mussel refill was waiting for her when she was ready - more pommes frites and French bread are available too should you need them. Satisfied and elated with our meal, we trekked home since it was only a late night this time.

The Green Onion Veggie Tabouleh Wrap
Veggie Tabouli Wrap with Artisan Mac n' Cheese
I love Groupon and while I have heard 15-20% of these types of deals are never redeemed, I am not in that percentage. I keep a running sheet of the deal, expiration date, applicable times and value - yes, that is overly organized, but I am not losing a buck just by forgetting to use something for which I paid. Laine and I had talked about the deals we needed to use and Green Onion’s lunch deal was one that expired soon, so one recent Friday, we made the drive to Ghent. Laine was lukewarm because of our last lunch there, but that would all change. I had a more positive outlook because of the meal Charlotte and I had had a few weeks prior, but felt the same about the last lunch we had there. I knew I would not order a salad - we both felt that the salads we had previously were small for $12. Onto better times, we had a fantastically fun waiter, Curtis, and a nice seat outside. It was just cool enough to bear and we were able to gawk at those walking up and down Colley Avenue. I knew I wanted the Veggie-Tabouli Wrap ($9) and it was between the Artisan Mac n’ Cheese or the Creamed Spinach as my side. While I love the pommes frites, I was determined to try something new with my new entree and the slight up-charge to switch was of no concern. Without hesitation, Curtis said to go for the mac n’ cheese. That was that and Laine and I enjoyed some laughs, as usual, while Curtis kept our drink refills coming...ALWAYS a plus and Laine and I can put away some diet soda and iced tea. Our meals came out in no time and we were both overly joyed. My wrap with the lemon chive crème fraiche was phenomenal and I typically steer away from wraps (more of a sandwich fan). It was fresh and stocked with flavor. The mac n’ cheese was a great choice with a sharp cheese, which gave it a little unique kick. I will most certainly order this again if I do not get the Cheddar & Apple Grilled Cheese, which always catches my eye.
The Green Onion Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding
 Raspberry-White Chocolate Bread Pudding
It was Friday and Laine knows what that means...dessert time. The White Chocolate-Raspberry Bread Pudding was approved as the best choice by Curtis and packed to go, since we had met our time limit (boo). He even wrote the heating instructions on the container. We really, really enjoyed Curtis and he is a regular waiter and bartender most days, including Sunday brunch. Thinking about both of my recent dishes right now, I cannot wait to go back to the Green Onion and I hope to see Curtis when I go.

The Green Onion
1603 Colley Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23517-1609
(757) 963-1200

Monday- Friday Lunch 11-230
Saturday Brunch 11-230
Sunday Brunch 10-230
Sunday and Monday Dinner- 5-845
Tuesday-Thursday Dinner- 5-945
Friday and Saturday Dinner- 5-1045

Green Onion on Urbanspoon

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