Eurasia Cafe & Wine Bar's chefs start with seasonal, local ingredients and infuse them with spices from half a world away. It's not hard to spot the Asian influence in their farm-to-table fare; sesame seed crusts envelop yellowfin tuna steaks and fresh pork tenderloin rests in sweet beds of pad thai noodles. Their commitment to fine foods also finds inspiration outside of Asian cuisine, evidenced by dishes such as the Southern-inspired sauteed shrimp atop a smoked gouda stone grit cake.
To complement the menu, sommeliers curate a self-described "New World-inspired wine list" with bottles from all-star wine regions such as California and Washington, as well as selections from up-and-coming regions, such as Michigan and Argentina. These same sommeliers also provide advice on navigating the list to ensure customers find harmonious pairings for their chosen dishes. They round out the selection of beverages with handful of microbrews on tap, by the bottle, or by the 2-inch keg.
Wall sconces cast warm light across the exposed brick walls at Monastery Restaurant, where guests dine on European cuisine at small, candle-lit tables. Owners Anna and Adolf Jerabek first opened a restaurant in New York City after leaving their native Czechoslovakia in 1967, and later journeyed to Virginia to open their Old World eatery at the current downtown Norfolk locale. There, they serve breaded port cutlet with Lyonnaise potatoes and steamed broccoli, and veal-stuffed cabbage with dumplings. A painting of a portly monk with a half-finished beer hangs behind the bar, where visitors can enjoy selections from the drink list—wine, beer, champagne, and cocktails—or jump up on the wall to act like the portly monk.
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Executive Chef Jeff Brown transforms a host of farm-to-table ingredients into traditional southern dishes. He drenches meatloaf in mushroom gravy and pairs chicken with homemade biscuits. More creative endeavors include a burger topped with bacon, crab meat, cheese, and a fried egg; and a free-range chicken breast stuffed with country ham and mozzarella. On select nights, servers cart fried green tomatoes and pork chops to tables as guests play poker or exercise their minds during trivia.
Tracy O’Grady, an acclaimed chef who once ran the kitchen of Kinkead’s Restaurant, teamed up with Kate Jansen, a cofounder of Firehook Bakeries, to craft Willow Restaurant’s modern continental menu. Their dishes draw on traditional culinary techniques from both French and northern Italian cooking blended with high-end American ingredients. Though complex in flavor, all of the entrees—from the braised lamb shank to the roasted wild alaskan halibut to the pepper-crusted seared top sirloin steak—are prepared with straightforward, simple techniques.
Hoping to create a tranquil and relaxing sanctuary from the stressful pace of the country’s capital, the eatery calms its dining room with deep-purple and burgundy accents, rich fabrics, and mahogany woodwork. The space feels like a re-creation of a 1930s jazz lounge, with black-and-white photographs and glistening silver trays. Two semiprivate rooms with seating for up to 10 can be great for private dinners and upscale Go Fish tournaments, and the larger private dining room can be reserved for events with up to 50 guests.
The sustenance slingers at 821 Cafe delight grumbling hunger tubs with its selection of eclectic comfort fare, served up within the cozy confines of an art-adorned cubbyhole. Impress early-rising incisors with one of 821’s distinctive breakfast dishes—served until 5 p.m.—such as the crab omelette, a swiss-covered eggtraption swaddled in spinach and tomato ($8). The picnic-basket submarine sandwich submerges grilled brie, mixed greens, apples, and pears in a honey-mustard sea ($7.25), and the Brent burger cradles a precious patty in the loving lactose arms of two grilled-cheese sandwiches ($12). The establishment also offers a smattering of vegetarian and vegan dishes, including the vegan angel-hair pasta, a noodley collaboration of sautéed veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic white-wine sauce ($9), and spleen-warming vegan chili ($4.50), as well as a lubricating selection of craft beers.
The staff of Jimmy's Oven and Grill hasn’t changed much since Mo Boulftali bought the restaurant a few years ago. This may be because, as Boulftali explained to Williamsburg Yorktown Daily reporters in 2009, he doesn’t allow stress at Jimmy’s. Whether customers are chowing down on breakfast omelets, scrutinizing the dinner menu, or enjoying the all-you-can-eat selection of Jimmy’s weekday lunch buffets, the bright, spacious restaurant creates a comfortable haven to relax and enjoy classic American cuisine. In a dining room of mint-green walls accented with classic wood paneling, customers can sit around tables or tuck themselves into comfortable wooden booths bathed by sunlight from large windows for the sake of pet plants that are afraid to stay home alone.