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Fresh seafood in Norfolk/Virginia Beach area?

I love living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but every now and then I just have get down to the ocean for some really fresh, simply prepared seafood.

My wife and I are planning to spend a weekend in the Norfolk/VA Beach area in mid-September and I'd appreciate hearing recommendations from any of the local Hounds who share our love of fresh fish, crab, shrimp, etc.

I'll try anything from formal dining to casual seafood shacks if the food is high quality and delicious.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!
John

Aug 04, 2011
John Fugel in Mid-Atlantic

Fresh seafood in Norfolk/Virginia Beach area?

I love living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but every now and then I just have get down to the ocean for some really fresh, simply prepared seafood.

My wife and I are planning to spend a weekend in the Norfolk/VA Beach area in mid-September and I'd appreciate hearing recommendations from any of the local Hounds who share our love of fresh fish, crab, shrimp, etc.

I'll try anything from formal dining to casual seafood shacks if the food is high quality and delicious.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!
John

Aug 04, 2011
John Fugel in Southeast

Food Franchises That Don't Suck

I agree with Oceanaire. I've eaten in Orlando, San Diego and Northern VA. Always excellent and great wine list.

Jul 13, 2009
John Fugel in Chains

Manuel's, Norman's or...?

I considered Primo's, but we already have plans for a corporate dinner at Enzo's on the Lake, so I didn't want to go Italian again.

Jan 29, 2009
John Fugel in Florida

Manuel's, Norman's or...?

Hi Gang,
I'm attempting to make a final choice for a business dinner in Orlando on a Saturday evening in late-April. The chef's tasting menu at Manuel's and Norman's sound wonderful. If you had to make choice, which one would you go with? Any other suggestions or places I should consider.
Thanks,
John

Jan 29, 2009
John Fugel in Florida

visit with one dinner only

Brigsten's is my top choice as well. It's a cab ride from the Quarter, but well worth the trip.
Wonderful fresh fish, lovingly prepared and a great wine list.

Jan 22, 2009
John Fugel in New Orleans

Orlando area: Enzo's on the Lake?

Had a wonderful meal at Enzo's several years ago. Is the food quality still top-notch? Would my business clients be impressed if I took them here?
Thanks!

Dec 29, 2008
John Fugel in Florida

Wine recommendations

In whites, I have several current favorites in your price range:
Bogle Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - $9 at Total Wine
Meridian Santa Barbera Chardonnay 2006 - $7 at Total Wine
Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc Vitner's Reserve 2006 - $9 at Total Wine
Folie a Duex Menage a Trois White 2006 (Blend) - $11 at Total Wine
Lindeman's Semilion-Chardonnay Bin 77 - 2006 - $7
Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - $9 at Total Wine
Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc Sonoma 2006 - $9.50 at Total Wine

Favorite Reds:
Ravenswood Vintner's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - $8 at Total Wine
Jacob's Creek Shiraz - South Eastern Reserve 2004 - $11 at Total Wine
Bogle California Petite Syrah 2005 - $9 at Total Wine
Rosenblum Cellars Vintner's Cuvee XXX NV (Zinfandel Blend) - $10 at Total Wine
Blackstone California Zinfandel 2005 - $10 at Total Wine
Alamos Malbec Mendoza 2006 - $7.50 at Total Wine
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley Merlot 2005 - $9 at Total Wine

You can't go wrong with any of these. I don't know if you're near a Total Wine store, but I find that their prices are usually very good.

Enjoy!
John

Oct 13, 2008
John Fugel in Washington DC & Baltimore

Enzo's on the Lake for client dinner?

Hi Hounds!
I'm looking for a place in the Orlando area that could handle a client dinner with about 20 people.
I took about a dozen clients to Enzo's on the Lake back in 1989 and we had a fantastic evening.
I'd be curious to hear from you guys on whether Enzo's is still up to snuff and would be an appropriate place to impress my clients, most of whom are from DC, Richmond and SW Virginia. We'll be attending a conference in Orlando, so I'll probably rent a small bus/van to ferry them from/to the convention center area, so transportation is not a concern.
If you have any other suggestions, I'd appreciate hearing them as well.
Thanks!
John

Aug 07, 2008
John Fugel in Florida

Salem (help!)

Thanks, Hounds! Has anyone had any experience with a place called Bentley's, or something like that. It's near the new convention center.

Thanks again for the suggestions!

May 11, 2007
John Fugel in Pacific Northwest

Recommendations for Salem, OR

Heading to Salem in July to visit family and looking for some restaurant suggestions in the area.
Sushi, dim sum/Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, seafood are favorites. Has anyone eaten in Salem lately?

May 10, 2007
John Fugel in Pacific Northwest

Brigtsen's

The best meal we had in NOLA last week was at Brigtsen's. We've been there before and we enjoyed it even more this time! Chef Frank is still #1.

Everything ordered by our party of four was outstanding. Gumbo, shrimp & crawfish remoulade, and house salad were great. Entrees were sheepshead and drum fresh from the gulf and perfectly prepared to bring out the wonderful flavor of the fish. Desserts included creme brulee, sorbet trio, and banana bread pudding. The service was friendly and low-key, but attentive. Figure on $50-$60 person with wine and coffee, plus tip .

The cab ride from the central business district is about $12, plus tip (we had 4 in the cab) and should take about 10 minutes, but since most of NOLA's veteran cabbies have been replaced by recently arrived Haitian and Nigerian immigrants, it can take longer. Our driver spoke almost no English and I had to navigate to help him find the place. Marna called us a United Cab while we were having our coffee and he was at the door when we finished our meal.

Call NOW for reservations, especially on Saturday night. They're always busy and well worth the cab ride. Enjoy!

May 06, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

Ya'll been to the Pelican Club lately?

After dining at The Pelican Club last Tuesday night, I'd agree with mardy that it's a one-time experience. My wife and I were guests at a client dinner, so it really wasn't our restaurant choice. I did read some good reviews here, so I was expecting a pretty good meal. I'd describe it as "above average," but certainly not in the same league as the other places we picked on our own: Commander's Palace, K-Paul's, Dick & Jenny's, and our favorite, Brigtsten's. My biggest complaint with Pelican Club was that they're still understaffed and food was not hot by the time it reached the table. With so many other great places in town, I wouldn't recommend The Pelican Club.

May 06, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

60 Hours To Eat

My wife and I returned home on May 3 after five days in NOLA. After much research and consideration, we decided on Brigtsen's (best meal we had in NOLA), K-Paul's (great Cajun seafood), Commander's Palace for Sunday brunch (outstanding food and service), Pelican Club (good, but I've had better), and Dick & Jenny's (a little out of the way, but more than worth the cab ride). Also did both Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet (311 Royal St.), Mother's for po' boys and homestyle breakfast. Rio Mar for a wonderful tapas lunch. Take the free ferry to Algiers and eat lunch at the Dry Dock Cafe. Great fried shrimp and oysters. Missed Central Grocery for muffs -- too much good fresh seafood to pass up!

May 06, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

Gibson's or Morton's? Out of Towner looking for the Quintessential Chicago Steakhouse Experience

I've been to Gene and Georgetti's twice in previous trips to Chicago and really enjoyed their steaks, friendly, unpretentious service and neighborhood atmosphere. I may try Gibson's when I'm next in Chicago in October.

Apr 24, 2007
John Fugel in Chicago Area

Ya'll been to the Pelican Club lately?

Reading the last couple of comments about the Pelican Club was disconcerting, to say the least. I guess I'll take my chances, as it appears PC can be inconsistent. In any case, I'm not paying for the meal -- it's a business function. I'm sticking with my own choices of Brightsten's, K-Paul's, Commander's Palace and Dick & Jenny's. I'll report back when I return. Thanks again for the comments.

Apr 24, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

Camellia Grill Reopens

What's the easiest way to get to the Camellia Grill from the Central Business District? I remember that it was on the St. Charles streetcar line, but the line is still closed. Can I get there by bus? Thanks.

Apr 20, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

NOLA What to see/do?

Hey Cleveland Girl:
I'm heading to NOLA at the end of this month for a 5 days. Based on recommendations from locals and this board, I'm planning on eating at Brigtsten's (Riverbend); Pelican Club, K-Pauls, Central Grocery, Acme Oyster House, Mother's, Coop's Place (French Quarter); Dick & Jenny's, Cassamento's, Pascal's Manale (Uptown); and Commander's Palace (Sunday brunch - Garden District). Don't forget café au lait and beignets at Café de Monde for at least one morning! (okay, every morning!) You can search these places on this board using the Search function.

I suggest you check out www.experienceneworleans.com for a list of things to do and
www.offbeat.com for music clubs and performers.

The St. Charles Steetcar line through the Garden District is still out of service (bus service is available), but the Canal Street line is running, if you want to see a bit of the city.

Have a wonderful honeymoon and enjoy NOLA!

Apr 18, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

Ya'll been to the Pelican Club lately?

Thanks for the comments! We're looking forward to the Pelican Club and will report upon our return in May.

Apr 16, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

harold's...what's the deal?

After reading about Harold's here and on Roadfood, I was determined try this "legendary" deli. Although my wife and I currently reside in SW Virginia (not a decent bagel or deli sandwich to be found!), we both grew up in northern NJ and still have family there, so we drive up to visit several times a year. On one such trek last week, we decided to try Harold's (the one in Raritan Center in Edison).

I can only say that the place lives up to it's reputation. I ordered a cup of chicken noodle soup (just like Mom's) and my wife hit the pickel bar for sours, half-sours and kosher dills, as well as health salad. All were great. We decided to split a "small" - 13 oz. corned beef Rueben sandwich and a potato knish. So help me, the sandwich was 10" in diameter and nearly 8" high, piled with lean (like butta) corned beef, slaw, Russian dressing and topped with melted Swiss cheese. The potato knish was 9" in diameter and 4" thick. Needless to say, we barely managed to finish half the food and took home a nice package (fa-layta, as they say). We got 2-1/2 additional sandwiches out of the leftovers! The food quality was excellent. We couldn't have been more satisfied. My only complaint was paying $2.60 for a 12-once can of Dr. Brown's cream soda.

Our check came to $45 with tip, but considering the amount and quality of the food, we felt it was a good value. It seems that the key to really enjoying Harold's is to come with either a huge appetite or a group of deli-loving friends. In any case, we'll be hitting Harold's again on our next trip up north.

Apr 16, 2007
John Fugel in Mid-Atlantic

Five Guys Famous Burgers & Fries Coming to Middlesex, NJ!

I lived in the DC-Northern VA area for many years (born & raised in NJ) and always enjoyed Five Guys. I relocated to Roanoke, VA about five years ago and really missed their burgers and fries. They opened a place in nearby Salem, VA and my wife and I eat there about once a month when we crave a good burger and fries. We just drove up to visit family in NJ and found two additional Five Guys locations, just off I-81 in Woodstock, VA and near Staunton, VA (Exit 222). We hit the Woodstock location for a burger and found them to be as good as ever. The fries are outstanding and a "regular" size order is enough for three people. It's good to hear that they're coming to NJ, so we'll have another place to hit on our trips north.

Apr 16, 2007
John Fugel in Mid-Atlantic

German/Austrian Cafe in Chicago?

Thanks for the information and suggestions. I know it was not Berghoff. Based on the description, I think it was Kennesey's (doesn't sound Hungarian and I'm a "Hunky" -- they must have Anglicized the name). A friend actually made the reservations, called the cab and picked up the check. I don't recall it being in a hotel, but I was celebrating our anniversary with my lovely wife and didn't notice anything but her that evening.Thanks again.

Apr 03, 2007
John Fugel in Chicago Area

One more night to book - suggestions?

NOLA Hounds,
I have one more night to book for dinner in NOLA at the end of April. Right now we're locked into dinner at Brigtsen's, Pelican Club, K-Paul's and Commander's Palace for Sunday brunch. Still need to fill in the dance card for Wednesday night.

I'm considering Dick & Jenny's, Upperline and Herbsaint. What do ya'll think?

Thanks your input!
John

Apr 03, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

Ya'll been to the Pelican Club lately?

Yes, I'd appreciate your comments and recommendations. for Pelican Club. Thanks!

Apr 01, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

Napa Valley Restaurant

We just returned from Napa. I'd heartily recommend Mustard's Grill. Tra Vigne was also excellent.

Apr 01, 2007
John Fugel in San Francisco Bay Area

Ya'll been to the Pelican Club lately?

We're coming to NOLA at the end of next month for a conference and my wife and I have been invited to a client dinner at the Pelican Club in the Quarter. Zagat's gives it a 26 for food -- right up there with some of the city's best. We're especially fond of fresh, well-prepared seafood, as we live several hours from the Atlantic coast. Has anyone had any experience there lately? The last post here was in March 2006. Thanks!

Mar 30, 2007
John Fugel in New Orleans

San Francisco/Napa Report

Hi Lori,
Thanks for your comments. Yes, we did cover a lot of ground! San Francisco is certainly a foodie Nirvana! I just wish we had more time to explore all the wonderful culinary choices!

Cav Wine Bar was on my list, but First Crush was more convenient to our hotel, so we dropped in there for flights. Wish I had taken notes, as they had some wonderful wines.

Regarding Plumpjack Café: We liked the culinary creativity, the quality and freshness of the ingredients and the wonderful service. We had 6:00PM reservations, but the small place filled up quickly on a Friday evening. We were guests of one of my wife’s business contacts (she’s the client) and his wife, so price wasn’t a consideration. I’m sure dinner, tip and wine for four was close to $400.

Here’s a rundown of what we had. See the menu of Plumpjack’s website for prep details.
Salads: Salad of Young Lettuces, Delta Asparagus.
Entreés: Wild Vegetable Risotto; Monkfish Tail; Lamb Rib-eye; and Japanese Sea Bream.
Desserts: Pistachio & Olive Oil Grenache; Chocolate Decadence; and Bananas Foster.

The wine chosen by our host, based on the waiter’s suggestion was a 2003 Landmark Kanzler Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($70). A wonderful wine, but I’m sure it was better with our host’s lamb than my and my wife’s fish selections. I would have opted for something white by the glass, as the offerings looked interesting.

Overall, it was a memorable meal, but not one of the top ten of my foodie career. I went with an open mind, hoping to try some new and interesting tastes. I was not disappointed by any means.

Plumpjack is rather small, so be sure to make reservations.

My wife and I are eagerly looking forward to NOLA! Life is good!
John

Mar 23, 2007
John Fugel in San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco/Napa Report

Fellow Hounds:
I just wanted to say “thanks” for all the information and recommendations you provided for my recent San Francisco/Napa Valley trip. I surprised my wife with a five-night getaway to celebrate her 50th birthday. My only regret was that I didn’t have enough time to sample everything! We’ve been to SF many times, but this short trip was by far our best food experience to date. In the interest of brevity, I’ll provide a list of the places we tried in San Francisco and Napa Valley. All of them were wonderful – with great food and service.

Due to weather backups and cancellations here in the east, our flight to the coast was rescheduled and we wound up arriving at 9:00pm on Thursday evening, March 15 – 8 hours later than we planned, so we lost both lunch and dinner opportunities on Thursday.
We were pretty tired by the time we settled into our hotel (Parc 55 on Cyril Magnin). We settled for some seafood soup at Siam Thai, located in the hotel. They were just about to close, but they let us “take out” some seafood food and chicken satay. Considering that we had just spent 10 hours in transit, they both were quite tasty.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll provide a list of the places we tried during two days in San Francisco and two days in the Napa Valley (we stayed in Calistoga). All of them were wonderful – with great food and service. Because we did not have a car in town, we limited ourselves to places that could be reached by cable or streetcar (although we did take a taxi to Plumpjack’s). Although we splurged on two dinners in town, we tried to stay within a reasonable budget.

San Francisco: Dottie’s True Blue Café (breakfast)…Yank Sing (dim sum lunch)…
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants (wine flights)…Plumpjack’s Café (dinner)…First Crush (wine flights)…Rose Pistola booth at the Ferry Building (breakfast)…Golden Gate Bakery (egg custard tarts)…Brandy Ho’s (lunch)…Antica Trattoria (dinner).

Napa Valley: Dominic’s Genova Deli (picnic lunch)…Pizzeria Tra Vigne (dinner)…
V. Sattui Winery (picnic lunch)…Woodhouse Chocolates (sweets)…Mustards Grill (dinner).

Wineries: Clos du Val…Regusci…St. Clement…Heitz…Grgich Hills…St. Supery.

Favorite Wines: St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc…St. Clement Bale Lane Sauvignon Blanc…Grgich Hills Fumé Blanc…Miner Family Mendocino Gibson Ranch Sangiovase…Heitz Napa Valley Port.

Places We Wished We Had Time to Try:
San Francisco: Canteen…Woodhouse Fish Company…Ristorante Ideale…Gold Mountain…Hayes Street Grill…Citizen Cake…Swan Oyster Depot…Hog Island Oyster Company… La Taqueria… Bocadillos…Mama’s on Washington Square… Linguira Bakery…XOX Chocolates.

Napa Valley: Bistro Don Giovanni…Zuzu...Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen…Bouchon…Bistro Jeanty…Tra Vigne…Go Fish…Taylor’s Refresher…Redd’s.

Wineries: Bennet Lane…Zahtila…Schramsberg…August Briggs…Opus One.

Your comments on our choices would be welcome. The nicest thing about the Bay Area is that you always have something to look forward to for your next trip!

We’re off to New Orleans on April 28, for a five-day conference, armed with our list of NOLA Chowhound recommendations. I’d be happy to share those experiences when we return. Thanks again to all of you!

Mar 23, 2007
John Fugel in San Francisco Bay Area

Any "classic diners" near downtown DC?

Sorry about multiple postings. I was attempting to edit.

Mar 06, 2007
John Fugel in Washington DC & Baltimore

Any "classic diners" near downtown DC?

I haven't lived in the area for five years, but I had two favorites that were fairly close in style to the Greek diners I grew up with in New Jersey --
Four Seasons on Van Dorn St. in Alexandria.
Amphora Diner Deluxe on Eldon Street in Herndon, near Dulles Airport.
Both had excellent food, including "all baking done on premises" desserts.
The Silver Diners, mentioned in previous posts are pale imitations by comparison.
Enjoy!

Mar 06, 2007
John Fugel in Washington DC & Baltimore