13th Annual Platinum Plate Awards
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Blue Talon Bistro, Williamsburg
Executive Chef David Everett has tempted our taste buds since his days at Ford Colony. At Blue Talon, the temptation has a French accent.
This eatery offers a casual atmosphere that allows diners to relax and enjoy an upscale experience based on “serious comfort food.” An expansive wine list from sommelier Adam Steely serves more than 40 vintages by the glass, and the zinc bar offers handcrafted classic cocktails, a leading selection of absinthes, pastis and cordials as well as single malt whisky.
We love the Sautéed Calf's Liver smothered in shitakes, bacon and onions.
Byrd & Baldwin Brothers Steakhouse, Norfolk
Opening in 2006, the owners of Byrd & Baldwin set out to fill a void of a traditional steak and chophouse in downtown Norfolk. Housed in the circa 1906 building of the same name, Byrd & Baldwin Bros. Steakhouse sets out to deliver a memorable dining experience, and in our case they fulfilled their mission.
The restaurant only serves grain-fed Midwestern all-natural beef aged on site and prepared, on our visits, deliciously by Chef Carlton Spurlock and his staff.
The Cellars of Church Point Manor, Virginia Beach
Tucked away in the cellar of an 1860s farmhouse, The Cellars is perhaps one of the most unique restaurants in our region. An upscale experience in a cozy atmosphere augments the “French Country with a Southern flair” cuisine from Executive Chef Matt Weishampel.
The Cellars was the winner of OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Award in Best Overall (32nd nationally) and Most Romantic Restaurant (in Coastal Virginia).
Coastal Shrimp and Carolina Gold Rice satisfies the body and soul.
Eat: An American Bistro, Virginia Beach
Located in the North End of Virginia Beach, chef/owner Erick Heilig focuses on fresh, local ingredients in his American Regional eatery. The space is hipster-chic and the service professional and prompt.
A longtime favorite of ours is the veggie lasagna, a freestack of noodles and vegetables in a creamy, dreamy sauce.
Mizuno Japanese Bistro, Virginia Beach
Sexy, thy name is Mizuno. Sleek and elegant with clean, simple lines, this eatery looks like a restaurant you’d find in a major city, but the relaxed atmosphere and friendly, attentive service remind you that you are indeed in Coastal Virginia.
Japan-born (and sushi-trained) chef/owner Wataru Mizuno uses many local ingredients in his creative, amazingly-executed menu. It’s also a varied menu, but I gravitate toward ordering from the fresh and fabulous sashimi and sushi offerings.
River Stone Chophouse, Suffolk
The impressive two-story Arts-and-Crafts-inspired River Stone Chophouse opened in 2008. Executive Chef Chris Jones’ menu feature in-house dry aged steaks, fresh seafood and poultry.
The feel is intimate, and a bar area provides a full service raw/sushi bar; there is an extended fire pit patio. The second floor features four rooms for group dining.
The Warm “Deviled” Crab Dip is divine; we also love the Surf and Turf dinner for two, which includes two New York Strips, mashed potatoes, broccolini and a whole Maine lobster to share.
Salacia Prime Seafood and Steaks, Virginia Beach
With a dining room like this, you know you are in for something special. A small-ish room makes it cozy and clubby. A soaring ceiling, modern accents and expansive window to the surf and sand make the AAA Four Diamond-designated restaurant upscale.
Seafood is always a treat here; Salacia and sister eatery Catch 31 source fresh and local, and the steaks—aged prime beef—are truly something special. We’ve enjoyed meals this year with former chef Brad Kelly and new chef Dan Elinan.
Todd Jurich’s Bistro, Norfolk
Todd Jurich’s Bistro has been a pioneer in the wave of fine dining restaurants in downtown Norfolk, first opening in 1992.
Chef/owner Todd Jurich is known for his farm-to-table menus, which are especially strong in Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay fish and shellfish. Many local farms supply produce for his American Regional dishes, too.
Jurich’s Pumpkin and Crab Soup is bowl-licking good.
The Trellis Bar & Grill, Williamsburg
Already a legend when Chef David Everett purchased The Trellis, the chef/owner continues the restaurant’s tradition of using fresh, seasonal ingredients, many from small-scale artisan farmers.
Contemporary and comfortable, with a lovely patio overlooking Duke of Gloucester Street, The Trellis is a great place to sit and enjoy a fine meal.
Everett excels at forcemeats, so we love to start with the House-Made Pork Pate. The Double Cut Pork Chop is absolutely delicious.
Vintage Tavern, Suffolk
Vintage Tavern, open since 2006, serves what they call seasonally Southern cuisine. We concur. Every meal we’ve had here has been firmly rooted in both the season as well the region.
From Chef Kenny Reynolds’ open kitchen comes dishes that honor local farmers, watermen and other produces. The Route 17 Pig Plate, piled high with pulled pork, house made sausages and molasses-brushed ribs (along with slaw and mac and cheese) is amazing.
A quaint tavern-style bar, cozy fine dining room, garden terrace and veranda are all full of charm.
Waypoint Seafood & Grill, Williamsburg
Waypoint Seafood & Grill, opened since 2012, is Williamsburg’s latest culinary destination from Chef Hans Schadler. The menu is a celebration of Chesapeake ingredients and includes items grown at local farms and caught in regional waters.
“The pure flavors and rich ingredients presented in the seasonally-changing entrees represent modern regional American cuisine with classical culinary roots,” Schadler says.
Must try: Oysters the Waypoint Way.