The Cuisine Scene 2010 Platinum Plate Winners - The best local restaurants
FEATURES JANUARY 2010
The Cuisine Scene
Wake up your tastebuds and get ready for the best restaurants in
Hampton Roads recognized in our annual Platinum Plate awards
Food is a very special thing.
Nations have gone to war over it, or specifically, over its supply. Nations also spar over it, claiming their cuisine to be superior in some way or another to other countries' foods. Folks pass down family recipes in secret, the way a bank teller may guard the combination to the vault. Folks also compete with said recipes, vying for everything from blue ribbons to an obscenely large purse at the Pillsbury Bake-Off to their own show on the Food Network.
But on the most basic level, food is nourishmentnot only for the body, but for the soul.
It is part of our life from beginning to end. It first appears at the baby shower thrown in our honor by mom's coworkers and fills tables in the church at the covered dish collection when family members mourn our loss.
During life, it is there at birthdays, holidays, weddings and anniversaries. It is used to celebrate things small and grand, to mark time and events, and to show love and affection. It comforts. It relaxes. It quells pangs. It stirs memories.
No wonder, then, that we hold restaurants in such high regard. Yes, many of our food memories are created right in our own kitchen and served on our own dining room table. But others are made in restaurants. The celebration of a promotion. The marriage proposal. The holiday out to give mom a break. The weekly date between long-partnered couples.
We take foodand restaurantsseriously here at Hampton Roads Magazine because we know they are part of the fabric of our society, not only on a large scale, but on a regional scale, too. For the seventh year, we offer our Platinum Plate Awardsour ranking of restaurants in Hampton Roads. Let's raise a glass to the owners, the chefs, the waitstaffs and to the food, for it is a very special thing indeed.
|Platinum Plates Top 10|
RANK 1 SCORE 98.7723
Zoe's was the comeback story of the year in Hampton Roads' restaurant scene. With the pinch of the economy hitting hard in early 2009, the then-owners of Zoe's decided to shut down the venerable eatery. But executive chef Jerry Weihbrecht rallied the troopsin this case uber-sommelier Marc Sauter and some of the restaurant's patronsand reopened within just a few months.
RANK 2 SCORE 98.1979
Fat Canary has been thrilling palates since 2003. It continues to wow with the contemporary, creative seasonal and fresh offerings from chef/owner Tom Power Jr. The edible masterpieces complement the masterpiece which is the tidy and simple but elegantly appointed dining room that simultaneously relaxes and invigorates.
Stove, the Restaurant
RANK 3 SCORE 98.1888
Creativity, thy name is Sydney Meers. We have long loved the Willy Wonka-ish creations that come from Meers' kitchens, beginning at his original Dumbwaiter. The chef is in his element in his current quaint and quirky eatery, surrounded by color and decors as vibrant and bold as his neo-Southern cuisine.
Riverstone Chop House
RANK 4 SCORE 98.1843
A fresh, seasonal menu with an emphasis on steak is offered in this impressively beautiful restaurant, with design inspired by the American classic Arts and Craft movement. In addition to prime, aged beef, a large selection of seafood is also offered and prepared just as wonderfully. Riverstone Chop
RANK 5 SCORE 98.1602
Chef/owner Rodney Einhorn has pleased foodies in Hampton Roads since 2006 when he first opened Terrapin and began offering locals his creative, classic-but-modern offerings utilizing fresh, in-season ingredients and local foodstuffs. The jewel-box dining room is well appointed in soothing green hues, exotic woods and lush textures.
RANK 6 SCORE 98.1328
A sexy and trendy, city dining room decked out in summer white and cobalt blue with dark wood accents opens to a wall of windows with expansive ocean views. The menu is equally impressive with upscale, seasonal offerings focusing on steak and seafood.
RANK 7 SCORE 97.9054
Fresh-caught seafood served simply and wonderfully is always in season at Coastal Grill. Since 1989, this comfortable, contemporary Beach restaurant has offered a succinct menu augmented by an extensive blackboard list of fresh catch and other nightly specials. .
RANK 8 SCORE 97.8979
Long-time sous chef Eric Doarnberger, now at the helm as executive chef, has prepared a reinvigorated seasonal and sustainable menu with all-from-scratch components. He serves diners an impressive array of contemporary cuisine prepared classically amid an elegant colonial dining room backdrop.
Blue Talon Bistro
RANK 9 SCORE 97.3752
A relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere sets the stage for chef/owner David Everett's beautifully written and executed menu of classic French bistro fare. The upscale comfort food shows remarkable talent and restrainttalent to prepare each morsel deliciously and restraint to not push it over the top. Everett succeeds.
RANK 10 SCORE 97.0458
Chef/owner Sam McGann wows diners with his cuisines, which he dubs "seasonally Southern." We concur. His sophisticated interpretations of rustic regional classics bode well in this comfortable restaurant, resplendent with stone walls, exposed ceiling beams, hardwood floors and spectacular wooded views. Vintage Tavern is a sister restaurant of Riverstone Chop House.
The Platinum Level
The Left Bank
Shula's 347 Grill
Todd Jurich's Bistro
The Platinum Plates, A to Z
Gold Through Pewter Level Restaurants
757 Fire & Vine
Al Fresco Italian Restaurant
Croc's 19th Street Bistro
Espeto na Brasa
The Flagship Seafood
Garrison's Bar & Grill
Hayashi Sushi & Grill
La Bella Italia
Lynnhaven Fish House
Mannino's Italian Bistro
Nawab Indian Cuisine
Passion the Restaurant
Smokehouse and Cooler
Sonoma Wine Bar Bistro
Surf Club Ocean Grille
The Melting Pot
Waterman's Surfside Grille
Zushi Japanese Bistro
Note: Muroni's Mediterranean Cuisine in Chesapeake and The Winehouse Bar & Bistro
Peter Coe, founder of Taste Unlimited, a specialty food and wine retailer in Hampton Roads.
Lorraine Eaton, staff food writer for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.
Tammy Jaxtheimer has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, is restaurant critic for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper and the director of the local Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) chapter.
Scott Mackey, advertising and marketing professional and area foodie selected as a winner in a previous year's "So You Want To Be A Food Critic" contest.
Shelly Rauch, freelance food critic and food blogger.
95 and higher points Platinum level
Top 10 restaurants received the highest points overall.
|Apply Now For The 2010 Awards
Restaurant ownersapply now for the 2010 Platinum Plate Awards. A completed application, available for download from www.hamptonroadsmagazine.com, must be completed and mailed with the application fee.
All applications must be postmarked by Wednesday, March 31, 2010. PEH