As always, I’m on the hunt for new and great places to eat while I am traveling. This past month I ended up with a long Norfolk overnight, which put our hotel downtown by the water. If you have never been to Norfolk, I would highly recommend going!
Around four in the afternoon, my First Officer, Dave, and I set out to find a good place to eat. While Yelp directed us in the right direction, the place where we ended up stopping was not even on Yelp, it was just that new.
As we were walking, we passed a place with several wide-open garage doors with a view right to the bar. This was the first thing that caught my eye. While the front door was not as obvious as one would expect, the entrance was easily found. I realized later that this was actually part of a hotel and the main entrance was from the hotel lobby, something I would have generally avoided, but I’m glad I did not. Outside Saltine, the sign on their door bragged of happy hour drinks and half-off appetizers. Since it was happy hour this solidified our decision to enter and give it a try!
Upon walking in, we noticed the dining room section was closed, but since I prefer sitting at the bar, this was not an issue. We found a couple of seats at the bar and we were almost immediately greeted by the friendly bartender with sets of menus. I asked him what drink specials they had this evening and he began to list of all the beers on special, then the cocktails; when he said five-dollar Old Fashioned, I stopped him with a quick, “Yes!” Dave chimed in and said, “You know I’ve never had one of those, I will try one too and let’s get an order of your fifty-cent oysters.”
The Old Fashioned arrived first, while I’m in training to be a whiskey/scotch connoisseur, Old Fashioned mixology is not my forte, yet. I do know the base has a lot to do with the overall flavor of the drink.
Within about ten minutes we had a platter of a dozen fresh oysters on the half shell with three toppings to accompany them. These included horseradish, cocktail sauce and a mignonette sauce, all made fresh in-house. The oysters tasted as if they had been pulled from the bay within hours and they were no small or skinny oysters either. About half way through devouring this dozen, I insisted we order another dozen along with an order of deviled eggs. The deviled egg appetizer came with three eggs, each with a different toping. One had smoked fresh Virginia trout; the second had fresh Chesapeake crab while the last was sprinkled with Old Bay. Just as we finished the eggs, our next dozen showed up and we devoured them.
Because the appetizers were half-off, we continued to scour the menu for others to try. Dave ordered the Carolina Shrimp a la Plancha while I ordered the Catch 31 Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. While I can’t speak for the shrimp dish, the crab cake was incredibly fresh and had some great flavors.
As we were leaving, the manager mentioned that they had a brand new roof top bar on the fifth floor called Grain. He highly recommended that we stop by and take a look. We left our bar stools, stuffed as usual, ventured to the fifth floor and found an amazing “rooftop beer garden” dining opportunity that I will be sure to try next time I am in downtown Norfolk.
As always be sure to enjoy any alcohol responsibly. If you have any great spots to eat, please share them with us… firstname.lastname@example.org
208 East Main Street
Norfolk VA 23510
757 763 6269