Monday, July 25, 2011

Todd Jurich's Bistro, Norfolk, VA

Two words, Lunch HOUR, note the capitalization. Laine, myself and one of our favorite friends decided to try Todd Jurich’s Bistro for restaurant week. I had not been there in a few years and the last experience included Nikki’s* dish having to be sent back for salt overkill and then bagged potato chips...remember, Jurich’s falls under the fine dining category. I hoped this time would be better for Jurich’s sake and for ours, but only half of my wish was granted. I made a reservation to avoid waiting since we would be on our lunch hour. Proactive thinking does not always result in a positive outcome. We were seated quickly, but as you will read, our lunch too longer than many dinners. It was at least five minutes before our waitress appeared at our table to take our drink orders. Bad sign and we should have ordered our food right then. Our two iced teas and one water came back in another five and the missing straw took an additional five minutes and two requests, one to the manager. I could have made a straw in that time and I am not crafty!
Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Gazpacho

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Bread

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: French Fries

Some restaurant week menus include three items, an appetizer, an entree and a dessert or side. I’m sure I did not read the fine print, so I was ready to order my three items for $12, when the waitress corrected me that it was only two. Bummer. I figured I would go ahead with the gazpacho and the Tillamook Cheddar Truffle Mac & Cheese and then just order the dessert ($7) separately, but then the wheels turned faster as I eyed the soup price ($4). How about ordering the entree and the dessert and then add the soup as an extra? Laine and I are made of money, but its always good to save a buck (note the sarcasm). Our waitress said adding soup was only $3 - bingo! Laine and our friend did the same. We just saved $12 between the three of us - that’s another restaurant week lunch. After interrogating the server to ensure we would each get some of the popover, Laine and I split the Bistro Bread Basket ($3) which also included cornbread that was cut in the shape of a potato wedge and a baguette. Well worth it and the popover was huge, so there were no issues of anyone being slighted. The cornbread was great but the popover was phenomenal. Nikki makes those from time to time and they are a real treat. The gazpacho arrived and we were all pleased with it, even if it took 10 minutes for a cold soup that is already prepared. Speedy.
Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Cheddar Truffle Mac and Cheese

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Salmon Cakes
Salmon Cakes-A late Restaurant Week Menu Addition

Finally, our entrees arrived after more gray hair appeared on my head. My truffle mac & cheese had cute presentation, a bowl of the mac with the Chevre Toast almost looking like a straw (that’s where the straw went!) and a small side salad. It was all darn good as were the Truffle Fries that I ordered as a side. The mac was a smaller portion but it was rich and after I had turned my focus to the fries, I realized I needed a to-go box for my mac.
Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Brioche Bread Pudding with Whiskey Custard and Creme Anglaise

There was such a delay between us finishing our entrees and dessert, I wanted to take a nap. Finally, my Brioche Bread Pudding with Whiskey Custard and Crème Anglaise arrived and while it took too long to show up, it was some of the best I have had and I never miss the opportunity to order bread pudding. As Laine said, I am trying to order bread pudding at every restaurant in Norfolk. It is very possible I will. Just call me the resident expert on the subject matter. About an hour and forty-five minutes later (yes, that’s what I wrote), we got our checks. We dropped our cards in the bill folder and when she returned them, she never ran mine, so I had to wait even longer and ask another waiter to run it. Give me a break! I needed the ‘took forever discount’. We finally left, I forgot my to-go and had to run back to get it. In sum, great food, LOUSY service. Let me finish with the two keys words for today’s lunch...Lunch HOUR.


Todd Jurich's Bistro empty glass
I have to concur with Alex. From the moment we were seated, there was a service vacancy. You might let that slide in another establishment, but when you go to Todd Jurich's your expectations for everything are a notch or two higher. Our server seemed to have brought a bad day to work with her. She never smiled and appeared completely distracted. Maybe she was in the weeds because they were quite busy, but hey, not my problem. It was hot, hot, hot outside on Friday, and we slammed our Iced Teas in minutes. The empty glasses sat on the table forever until someone else came along to fill them. Service never improved.

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Mediterranean Cold Plate
The food, however, was wonderful. I love Gazpacho, and their Iced Garden Gazpacho was some of the best I have had. It was not overly chunky, and mildly seasoned. The bread basket caught my eye on the regular menu, specifically the Popover it contained. I had to try it. After going back and forth about it, Alex and I decided to split one. It was large and easily shared. For an extra $3 (or $3.95) the bread basket is well worth it. I also enjoyed the cornbread. It was sweet with a hint of hot pepper. The bagette was ho-hum. As my main entree I ordered the Mediterranean Cold Plate, which featured Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Hummus, Pita, Seasonal Fruit and Pickle/Olive assortment. The salads were very good. The Hummus was mediocre. The cantaloupe was some of the most flavorful I have had this summer, and I have had some GREAT cantaloupe. I would have liked to see a more interesting variety of olive, versus the standard kalamata and green variety. Cornichons were a nice pickle choice and had a tangy zap to them.

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme
Dessert led me to chocolate. For me, that is as predictable as Alex and her bread pudding. The Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème was $2 extra and worth every penny.  I was not disappointed. It was rich, and thick. I scraped that ramekin clean.

My restaurant week $12 lunch ended up being somewhere in the neighborhood of $23. This always happens to me. I want what I want and all those extras add up! Should you decide to venture to Todd Jurich's Bistro for lunch be sure to bring your appetite, your wallet and some patience.

Todd Jurich’s Bistro
150 W. Main Street, #100
Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 622-3210

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