Taste of Europe gives its customers an opportunity to enjoy authentic European groceries without booking a transatlantic flight or wearing pants made of world maps. The store stocks pelmeni, baklava, and smoked meats, along with other foods and baked goods from European countries such as Russia, Lithuania, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Poland. For a sweet snack, pair imported Swiss chocolate with a cup of Lavazza coffee or sip from a glass of fresh-squeezed juice.
Since opening in 1974, The Jewish Mother Backstage has hosted the likes of Dave Matthews, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Ice Cube. But despite its famous visitors and the media frenzy surrounding Ice Cube's melting accident, the New York–style deli still maintains a neighborhood atmosphere. Local and regional music acts fill the stage with groovy tunes, and the menu of hearty comfort fare is rooted in tradition, inspired by the owner's own Jewish mother. More than a dozen delicatessen sandwiches boast family names such as the Mother's Son reuben and the Mother's Sailor Friend, a split knockwurst with gooey swiss cheese and pastrami. Aromas of meatloaf fill the eatery at dinner, and breakfast service sates guests' early-morning hunger and desire to crow onstage.
Sushi chefs marry presentation and flavor in each roll they craft, striving to create a lineup of maki that is as aesthetically appealing as it is delicious. Inside the Tokyo Love Story roll, they intertwine two tempura-battered shrimps before layering in lobster salad, fresh mango, and sweet milk sauce. In their popular “OMG” roll, they pair seared tuna with salmon, eel, and a zesty mustard sauce. Cooks in the kitchen whip up teriyaki and noodle dishes over open flames, which are preferable to the flames that leave Gone Kindlin’ signs in their absence. They also host special events on occasion, such as four-course wine-tasting dinners.
Aromas of cumin, roasted lamb, and grilled kebabs mingle with wisps of fruit-flavored smoke that emanate from tall glass hookahs inside Mazzika Mediterranean Restaurant. The restaurant outfits its water pipes with a choice of more than 30 flavored shishas and enhances each puff by affixing a real fruit or dragon to the device. Mediterranean staples such as hummus and kebabs precede desserts including baklava with pistachios. Bartenders shake fruit-filled Lebanese cocktails and belly dancers occasionally shimmy through the space. Cigar nights feature an array of bold, imported stogies from makers such as Arturo Fuente and Rocky Patel.
With their in-house smoker and closely guarded recipes for spice rubs, Belmont House of Smoke gradually coaxes out rich flavors and tender texture from brisket, ribs, and award-winning wings. Pit masters stand guard over smokers as slabs of meat and beer-can chickens soak up flavorful vapors from a bed of blazing hickory embers. Guests gather around tables in the two-story dining room to share meals and toast beers poured from one of two separate bars. After meals, friends can play a game of pool or take live tunes from artists throughout the week.
The 100% vegan menu at Path stands as a tribute to the scrumptiousness of sustainable, locally sourced fare. Housed beyond a bright red door of a cottage, the ordering counter acts as a gateway to three-course meals, sandwiches, and vegan desserts. Local art and thank-you notes from carefree cows hang on the walls, and musicians perform for diners on weekend nights. Path's dedication to minimizing its carbon footprint also extends to its bike-delivery service, which is free for customers in downtown Norfolk and Ghent during lunch.