Monday, March 11, 2013

Big Easy Grill & Oyster Bar - Norfolk, VA or The Best Restaurant I Will Never Go to Again

Big Easy Grill and Oyster Bar Exterior Sign
Being an oyster lover, I have wanted to try this place for a number of years. I walk past it about 8 times a week as I go to and from the gym. My husband and I had tickets to go see American Idiot back in late January, and I decided to seize the opportunity. I made early reservations, 5:30PM. This would give us plenty of time to have a cocktail, eat, get the car and park it closer to Chrysler Hall for the 8PM show time. I should also mention that this was during Norfolk Restaurant week.

Big Easy Grill and Oyster Bar dish: Oysters William
Oysters William

It has been a number of years since I have been inside the building that formerly housed "Club Soda". I can't say that it looks very different, which is fine. I always liked the rustic vibe fused with contemporary fixtures. We were promptly seated and then greeted by our friendly server. I let her know first thing that we were on a timeline for the show and she assured me that wouldn't be a problem. The Restaurant Week menu did not excite either one of us, but the regular menu had plenty that we wanted to try. We started out by ordering a couple of cocktails and an appetizer. My husband ordered Oysters William, lightly breaded oysters, pan fried in a white wine shallot sauce, 9.99. They arrived promptly and were delicious. For the main course I ordered New Orleans Crawfish Etouffee. Crawfish tail meat, seasoned vegetables and rice cooked together in our Cajun gravy, 17.99. I have been in love with Crawfish Efouffee since having it for the first time about 15 years ago in New Orleans. It was one of those rare dining experiences where the dish was so memorable, and I have never been able to duplicate it. My husband ordered the N.Y. Strip, "drizzled with red wine demi glace, served with one side item (he chose baked potato) for 21.99."

Big Easy Grill and Oyster Bar dish: Crawfish Etoufee
Crawfish Etouffee

By now, the restaurant is starting to fill up a bit, and tables next to us are seated. The table my left had a wobble issue. Ours did too, but we hadn’t bothered to mention it. The neighboring table complained right away. The maĆ®tre d’ came out immediately and diligently adjusted all four legs for several minutes until it was stable. He was very apologetic and gracious. I was impressed with how he handled it, as the customers were a little huffy about it. Shortly after this our food arrives. The potato toppings had been overlooked, but were quickly brought out to the table. Everything looked great, and tasted wonderful.

Not one to miss many opportunities for dessert, I tried their pecan pie. It was quite excellent. I even ate the crust, which is often the downfall of many pies, but was not the case here. The server did an A plus job for us. As we were winding down she told us to relax, and finish our drinks. We got our check, paid and were finishing up our wine. The time was a few minutes past 7PM, right on schedule for getting to the show. It was at this moment that the entire restaurant experience was irrevocably destroyed. A young man, who was hosting I believe, came up to the table, squatted down next to me and said, “Would you mind hurrying up and leaving. We have a 7PM reservation waiting for this table.”

I have a couple of phrases that I overuse, one of which is, “There’s a lot of stupid out there," but I was so stunned that I couldn’t even pull this out of my hat. I stared blankly at Mr. Moron and said, “Okay.” I looked up at my husband who said, “They are dead to me.” If you read this blog at all, you know by now that Alex and I can be hammers. My husband on the other hand, is much more patient and understanding. He has traveled far and wide, experienced many different cultures and eaten a lot of crazy foods in foreign lands. Never, ever in all our years of dining out have either of us ever been asked to leave a restaurant. I have since polled many of my friends. I have yet to find one who has. So, that is that. I will never go there again. I will never recommend it to anyone. They are dead to me too.


Big Easy Grill and Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Well I have worked in the industry for a while. What people dont understand is that on busy nights for most restuarants they give time limits on tables for for diiner so that can fit all their reservations in. For retards that sit at there table all night long after they finish dinner are rude and disrepectful. Use sonme common sense when your done eating LEAVE the meal is over so is your expirence. If you want to hang out for hours after you eat go to the bar.

Laine and Alex said...

Dear Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to so eloquently state your opinion. Many people are in the restaurant industry by choice and become fantastic professional waiters, bartenders, chefs and managers. I too have proudly served in this industry. That's why I know how to spell "restaurant" correctly. I am very familiar with a reservations process. Part of that process is building in a plan for overlap that does not involve telling a patron to leave your establishment. We were not there "all night long". We had paid and were finishing our drinks. We were within minutes of departing and they knew we had to leave for a show. I am sensing some real animosity from you towards restaurant patrons. Sounds like it might be time for a career change. Just be careful not to use the word "retard" in the interview. Use of that word is completely unacceptable in any public forum.

Randy said...

Stumbled across your blog and enjoyed the reviews until I got to this one. Then I loved it! Your brutal honesty and well versed rebuttals are enlightening and truly entertaining.

Laine and Alex said...

Thanks for reading Randy!