Thursday, October 27, 2011

Path - Norfolk VA

Path Restaurant ExteriorOne of my favorite sayings is ‘[insert action here] seemed like a good idea at the time’. This applies to life so frequently, as it did for our experience at Path. Laine and I were pretty excited to try this newer place, a 100% vegan restaurant in Norfolk. Initially, they only offered delivery, which I thought was a tad odd, but by the time we ventured to the Ghent location, they had dine-in service. Having no worries in the world about this adventure, we convinced our friend, Emma*, to tag along, though she was timid about the faux meat business and I do not fault her here, as some of the faux stuff out there can be pretty bad.

It was a nice Friday, as we hopped in the car to head to Path. At the time, it was situated in a tiny structure on Boissevain Avenue. I know this building was a hair salon at one time, as my mom has visited pretty much every salon in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and I believe it may have also been an art gallery at some point. Street parking was a limited but we found one spot, thankfully. We did not need that hurdle with what we were about to endure. We walked in and were greeted by the lone employee, who was pleasant but not overly friendly. I immediately spied the empty dessert case and was perturbed as Path is always posting photos to their Facebook page to showcase their temping desserts. Where were they? Nervousness could not explain my state of mind at this time.
Path dish: 'Chicken' Salad

We had perused the menu beforehand, but took another look and went for it. I was torn between the ‘Chicken’ Salad and the Raspberry ‘Chicken’ and finally settled on the former. We had a choice of Cole slaw or potato salad, of which I chose the slaw. Apparently, the vegetable chips and fries were only offered at the Path location situated inside The Edge, near ODU. They have the fryer there, along with desserts and other things that were well out of our reach this day. Then the menu advertised bread, but all they had was wraps. The gal said the bread was white and did not have much nutritional value, and these vegan wraps were better - please update your menu. I prefer bread over a wrap, but what was I going to do, the choices were dwindling by the minute. I was bugged and Laine was right there with me. Emma went with the Club which has tempeh bacon along with the faux chicken and the potato salad - two faux meats for the timid one!
Path dish: Club Sandwich

While I appreciate the effort to eat all natural, I need my diet soda, the all chemical drink alternative. No go at Path - the choices were Dr. Pepper (no diet!), bottled water, a drink with the word grass in the title and the now infamous Kombucha tea. Because I have an aversion to regular soda or drinks made from carrots, grass and such and I’m not a fan of paying for water when we have decent tap H20, I gave in to the Kombucha, but only after Laine and Emma chose the same. It came in cute dark glass recycled bottles, which had hand-drawn designs. Emma and I opted for the last two bottles of the hibiscus haze flavor, which was okay, but I like regular iced tea better...especially after we were hit, or rather smacked, with the price - it’ll put you in a haze. To round off the meal, we ordered a lemon pound cake topped with coconut shavings.
Path Kombucha

We encounter the coupon debacle pretty often. You think you are getting a deal, but what you get is hosed. Not every time, but Laine and I have definitely had this experience more frequently that we would like, and Path is another example. I had a coupon worth $20. I figured we might pay another $10 for the three meals. As she rang up our food...and tea (this is important), I almost choked. $45 for three sandwiches (each about $8), one lemon cake ($5) and then the darn tea. That means that the three bottles of Kombucha ran us somewhere between $13-$14. For that price, a drink needs alcohol in the ingredients and as I stated, we did not think this was a revolutionary drink. We all stared at each other, forked out too much money and went outside to sit and wait for our food. For a place that does not cook anything, only heats up, the prep time for our food was lengthy. Our food arrived and while my sandwich was quite good, as was Emma’s, we both were disappointed in how little ingredients were in our sandwiches. The contents were about half of what you would expect inside a wrap. The sides of vegan slaw and vegan potato salad were tasty, especially the slaw, which was very fresh, but unfortunately, our overall experience was less than stellar at Path.
Path Kombucha Teas
We cut the lemon cake back at the office and that was actually wonderful and for $5, it is a deal and easily feeds 2-3 people. I just wish we had been able to try some of their other desserts as well, such as the many different flavors of donuts they promote on Facebook. The vegan donuts were what really caught my eye.

I have another coupon, so Laine and I will try Path again, but we will have to travel to either their location at The Edge or a newer location on 35th Street, which seems to have replaced the Boissevain address. The gal who took our orders this day told us to to to The Edge before 10pm, the time it becomes shady. Interesting marketing to warn your patrons about the times to NOT visit your other location. We were surprised that Path would put itself in a college bar, but maybe they get enough business from Edge supporters that want a vegan alternative. We will not be lured into buying any Kombucha ever again, though, and if prices had been posted (they were not anywhere in the restaurant or online), we would never have purchased it - we should have asked but who knew it would cost that much for tea! For almost $5 a pop, I can think of a lot of other things I would rather drink, preferably something with alcohol. Hopefully, the veggie chips, fries and donuts can help Path make a comeback for us. To be continued...


If I were to construct a top five list of worst restaurant experiences, this would be on it. In their defense, they did close this location about a week later, which is probably why they were out of so many things. However, food supply was only the tip of the iceberg.

I am not going to rehash what Alex so perfectly describes, but the whole “no bread, no dessert, no soda, no fries” thing was a pretty big let down. Right then I should have redirected the group to a nearby favorite, but we chose to persevere. Stupid. Seating inside was two, 2 top tables and it was rather warm, so we chose to dine outside. They had one table out front, again with only two seats. Shortly after being seated we realized it was located in a driveway, which doubled as access for the rather busy business next door. Excellent. I can eat my healthy, vegan food whilst I inhale exhaust fumes. I'm not sure this is "a kinder way" to dine.
Path dish: Cheese Melt with Fresh Watermelon

Path dish: Cheese Melt

 We were the only group dining in that day, but the food did not arrive quickly. We were pondering our teas and getting a bit antsy when the food started to arrive. I had ordered a cheese melt with fresh fruit as a side, and the watermelon looked perfect. The wrap looked like a brown paper bag that was burnt on the corner. I have long ago learned that you cannot necessarily judge food by the appearance, so I dug in with gusto. If I were to construct a list of top five worst sandwiches, this just might make #1. There was almost no cheese on my cheese melt, and what was there was not melted. The generous portion of mustard on the other hand, was strong, spicy and overpowering. All this was rounded out by a lonely little slice of apple and a chunk of tempeh. It was inedible. The lone cook/server/cashier did not say a word when she removed my full basket of picked apart wrap. Thank goodness for the lemon poppy seed cake. My one third of that cake, which was excellent, got me through until cocktail hour when I tried to drink away the memory of lunch. (It didn’t work.)
Path dish: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Alex may have to knock me unconscious and drag me by the hair in order to get me to try Path again.

P.S. I was not a fan of the tea either.


Path Restaurant SignPath
617 W. 35th Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23508

Path @ODU
4814 Hampton Blvd
Norfolk, Virginia 23508
Path Norfolk on Urbanspoon

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