It was a Cats Pajamas kind of night.
Saint Germain’s spunky drink names instantly won me over. Though the nearly month-old restaurant planted itself on Granby Street in Norfolk, I felt like I was in a Victorian-style mansion with moody-colored walls, a chic bar and ornate chandeliers twinkling above me. Once my better half and I were seated on the second floor, we got down to business. That only meant one thing—a round of their swanky cocktails.
Cats Pajamas tasted like a fancy tequila shot. It was salty from the sea salt foam afloat the jalapeño tequila swirling with jalapeño slices and yuzu petals. The lingering burn from the punchy tequila was sweetly extinguished by the grapefruit juice.
His Morningstar was a dry and nutty concoction of whiskey and Frangelico with heavy cinnamon notes topped off by star anise. We later ordered their Rubicon which was of gin, green chartreuse—a liqueur similar to licorice—lemon juice and a rosemary sprig.
Aside from their stellar cocktails, they served what they called the ‘muse’ of the evening, which is essentially a nibble to ready your palate for dinner. Ours was a delightful bite of pressed celery amid pomegranate seeds and apple juice.
Our server was well-versed with every item on the cheese and charcuterie list considering there were a handful of unfamiliar items. We decided on the pungent Rogue Smoked Blue Cheese and the slightly spicy Calabrian Heart Sausage. Assuming we’d get a few slices of sausage and a comical amount of cheese, they proved us wrong; even their accoutrements left us swooning. There were bread and butter pickles, pickled watermelon rind, toasted almonds, fennel lavash, orange blossom honey, honey mustard; and pickled apple slices—all of which are made in house.
Though we’re more than content with a full-on cheese and charcuterie dinner, we knew we had to pump the brakes to reserve room for our entrées. Their entrées are listed in order of size, gradually becoming greater in portion. I went for a medium-portioned meal, the Mushroom Royale ($12). A trio of oyster, shimegi and black forest mushrooms were layered with microgreens, then stacked atop oyster bread with a sweet fromage triple creme cheese sauce drizzled over. The ‘bread’ was chewy, yet crunchy, garnished with cilantro and crispy lardons. The cylinder-shaped ‘mousse’ was made from ground chicken and mushrooms.
The husband ordered the larger-portioned dish of Pork Belly ($26). It was like brunch meets dinner; salty cauliflower grits served as a bed for the poached egg while the lightly breaded, sweet pork belly simply melted with every bite. Pressed pickled apples and crispy kale waved through the dish. We ate slowly, savoring each magical morsel.
Saint Germain creates their own set of culinary rules and will surprise you with their quirky, yet perfect combinations. I anticipate I’ll return sooner than later to trek through the rest of their menu, especially to try their dessert. One thing’s for certain: Saint Germain is the cat’s pajamas.