Tucked away on the upper end of the Atlantic strip, beachside of 40th street in Virginia Beach is a tiny, nondescript hideaway that is worth the visit. Within the confines of this little gastropub, you’ll find no pretense, no pageantry, just the simple desire to cure a basic human need. Aptly named, EAT, this divine little bistro will not only cure stomach rumblings but add flavor and essence to a palate as well.
EAT lays out like a jigsaw puzzle piece, a cavernous, yet animated bar is set to the left of the entrance. There is some available seating in what feels like the entranceway, with the majority of the dining tables situated around a corner in a dimly lit setting. The restaurant overall is a hip, modern boutique type establishment that offers a cozy dining environment. I highly recommend reservations to avoid the need to revert to Plan B.
There are an interesting array of wines, a fair and varied assemblage of whites and reds. The cocktail menu is appealingly, replete with some familiar craft creations and twists on originals. I had the Trickey Rickey, a blend of house infused cucumber Hendricks gin with fresh lime juice squeezed and topped with soda water. I couldn’t resist sampling the North End Passage Martini subtly flavored with 3 Olives mango vodka, fresh lemon juice, a tease of pomegranate juice, fresh sage and a splash of soda water. Quite tropical and very refreshing.
On this particular occasion, I was dining tapas-style and chose a couple of items from the “little” section of the menu. I ordered the Coquille St. Jacques, a creamy collection of seared scallops in a tarragon veloute sauce, accompanied by a mushroom duxelles with the very mild presence of garlic, white truffle and emmental which added just a hint of cheesiness. It was lovely though I prefer more tenderness in my scallops.
I enjoyed a twist on a Southern favorite, a finely breaded stack of vine ripe yellow tomatoes juxtaposed against a pink and creamy red beet goat cheese, diced shallots, and a drizzling of olive oil. Deliciously done and very satisfying.
From the “on the side” section of the menu I eagerly ordered the Crispy Glazed Brussels, a wonderful amalgamation of slightly scorched Brussel sprouts in a semi-sweet glazed coating of balsamic reduction. Wow! These Brussel sprouts were a show stopper for me. C’est Magnifique! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, my hat goes off to anyone who can take the bitterness out of a Brussel sprout, make it so delectable that you’re left contemplating more.
EAT makes the claim of being an American bistro and perhaps that’s true with offerings such as the Hasselhoff wagyu beef burger, channeling that ill-fated video of Mr. Hasselhoff’s burger barbarism, but indeed there seems to be something more, something more refined, something like the underpinnings of French influence. Their attention to the subtleness of flavor and willingness to experiment make EAT one of the better restaurants in Virginia Beach.
EAT is open daily at 5pm and is located at 4005 Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach. Make your reservations by calling them at 757-965-2472. Visit their website at www.eatbistro.net