Creamed Vegetables and Open-Face BBQ from LeGrand Kitchen
We had front row seats to quite possibly the liveliest show in Norfolk on a Saturday night. Our bar-front view at LeGrand Kitchen invited us into the madness of chefs seasoning and sizzling with nonchalance in the midst of a packed out night. LeGrand Kitchen, which just opened in July on Colley Avenue, has no trouble filling their 16 seats, with more customers trailing out in the front.
You’d think a one-page menu would make ordering easier, but the truth is, every item sounded so good it was hard to make up my mind. In a menu among egg schmear (a play on deviled eggs), fig salad and smoked tilefish dip, I landed on the Creamed Vegetables. Initially drawn to the brisket sandwich with a charred scallion sauce, my husband, Cody, changed his order once the aroma of the Open-Face BBQ swept past him. If I had an additional stomach, I would’ve ordered the charred okra tossed with onions, but those cravings would have to wait for another day.
Splashed with edible flowers from one of the owner’s mother’s garden in Pungo—where a majority of their ingredients come from—the creamed vegetable dish was a balanced palette of bright, spring hues with layering depths of flavor for my palate. Zucchini, squash, corn, field peas and pea shoots danced in a lush, peppery sauce while crispy chicken skin offset the otherwise tender consistency of the dish. If it wasn’t already decadent, the yolk of a fried farm egg broke into the mix, sending my taste buds into a frenzy. It wasn’t heavy like I’d imagined a creamed dish to flaunt but pleasingly light, in that clearing my plate was not an issue.
The bites of my own dinner were of course mingling with bites off of my husband’s plate. A toasted slice of potato bread was slathered in pimento cheese, topped with tangy, succulent BBQ or “smoked butt” as they called it, smothered in their Alabama White Sauce, then finished with a layer of rippled pickles. The white sauce is a blend of horseradish, garlic, mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar making for a tart addition to the rich pimento cheese.
My lack of a second stomach never questioned my desire for dessert. Instinctively thinking we’d share the peaches and cream—which really means a solo bite is rationed out to him—the hubby chimed in to request the chocolate and peanut butter budino, an item that would proceed with hives for this allergic gal. He’s not a dessert eater, so I applauded his request while simultaneously envying him that I couldn’t taste this thick, Italian custard-style dessert.
The peaches and cream perfectly transitioned my palate between summer and fall, the quintessential post-labor day dessert. Warm peaches were afloat in melted brown butter. Dolloped atop the peaches was a velvety, sweet cream that I could’ve easily eaten by the spoonful. To top it all off, chopped candied pecans elevated this treat, welcoming me to autumn in the sweetest way. Cody’s budino must have been enjoyable since he gestured his signature nod and eye squint to signal it was hitting “the spot”.
Overhearing one of the owner’s mention of New York-based Momofuku, we eagerly inquired since we’d visited its infamous Momofuku Milk Bar for ice cream. The chef said he’d been testing out a new dessert that likens the recipe of Momofuku’s chef, David Chang, and his notorious Crack Pie. The chef implemented his own twist with a Ritz Cracker crumble on top with chopped pecans tossed in an exceedingly sweet, yet salty, divine custard beneath. “I hope you’ve got more room,” another chef said as he handed us a sample. Let’s just say I was scraping the jar.
From the service, to the personable chefs and the top notch, aesthetically presented dishes with homegrown ingredients, I can’t applaud enough for this new neighborhood diner.
LeGrand Kitchen is open for dinner Tuesday–Saturday. Visit their Facebook Page for more information as well as the latest updates to their menu.