Field Guide Restaurant On Granby Street In Norfolk.
A precariously-appearing game of Jenga lined the interior of the restaurant where my friends and I met for a midweek dinner last Wednesday, when it felt like summer at a delightful 60 degrees. Field Guide joined the Granby street crowd at the tail end of last year and already packs out its cozy abode with bearded fellows and flanneled gals, among other dapper folk. Upon our visit, we noticed the garage door adjacent to the entrance was wide open with a wooden bar fastened between each side inviting the evening breeze. The tables diagonally jutted out from the left and narrowed toward the center of the room. We sat at the side closest to the gray, white patterned wall. The place reminded me of the dapples that scatter through a kaleidoscope lens.
Lights suspended between two wooden panels above. Alternative music and dim lighting echoed throughout. Window panels and jars accompanied the minimal decorations, careful to not take away from the obscure menu.
Field Guide is just one of two restaurants that birthed from David Hausmann and John Porter in the past year. Handsome Biscuit, first introduced last spring, is known for their spruced-up sweet potato biscuit sandwiches. Field Guide kicks up lunch and dinner with items like pork shoulder with raspberry cherry jam or their mac’n cheese sandwich with peperonata. I ordered the root beer braised chuck roast with assorted greens and a smoked cheddar spread. The brisket was tender, easily peeled away with a fork—important, as this sandwich was monstrous and could in no way be daintily eaten. Even the sandwich bread wasn't your average bun—it was fresh, likely homemade. My friends ordered the sweet potato gnocchi, the gumbolet and the “boaring” meat loaf—each impressive and none left us disappointed.
Now, I may have been full from this delightful spread, but don't think I walked away without dessert. I ordered the sheba bread pudding with no idea of what I was getting myself into. It was like a melting slice of molten chocolate cake. As if this wasn’t enough affliction for my sweet tooth, the pudding was piled high with a toasted, whipped marshmallow that tasted like pure honey. Pecans and drizzles of caramel sauce adorned the plate. As I ventured deeper, the center of the pudding was a whole other story. It was like sheer ganache, as the bready layers oozed melting, hot chocolate. It was rich beyond belief, so I took the other half home for the next day’s sugar-fix.
Field Guide strives to invite others to try something out of the box, as our server informed, and they absolutely exceeded their intentions in my first visit. Unbeknownst to me, my taste buds had been longing for Field Guide’s genius combinations, despite its unorthodox approach.