Brunch at 219 Bistro in Norfolk
This is the first of many brunch reviews. I am lucky to be part of Hampton Roads' Gals that Brunch group. We visited 219 Bistro for the first time on Saturday, August 13. I never know what to expect when I see the word "bistro." I either think of bougie food or small menu items. I was pleased to see that 219 had a full menu and they weren't shy on serving sizes.
219, also known as 219 An American Bistro, is located on Granby Street in downtown Norfolk. The locally owned restaurant opened in 2010 and serves American cuisine with an upscale twist. Don't be threatened though, this place is not pretentious at all. We had a delicious brunch that didn't break the bank.
My favorite part of brunch is a good drink, especially a Bloody Mary. 219 offers a Bloody Mary Bar. It is priced between $4-$6, depending on the brand of vodka you choose. When I saw that they served my favorite Bloody Mary mix, Zing Zang, I knew I had to treat myself. They also serve an in-house Bloody Mary mix.
The bar has the standard Bloody Mary bar toppings, such as: celery stalks, cucumbers, olives, bacon (my fav), pepperoncini and hot sauce. They will also add celery salt or Old Bay to the rim of your glass. As a Maryland-er, I always go for the Old Bay.
They also serve Screwdrivers, Mimosas (classic, peach or mango) and a Melon Punch, all for $3.
Since I've gotten older, I usually stay away from the "build your own omelette" part of the menu, as a way to get out of my comfort zone. However, 219 has fresh ingredients and lots of options. One of our brunchies created her own omelette with crab meat, spinach and Swiss cheese. Their omelettes are served with a side of homefries, for $9.99.
Another one of our brunchies ordered the Shrimp and Grits. When I was reading about the restaurant on Yelp, I found a review from a very upset diner. Why was he upset? Because all he wanted was 219's Shrimp and Grits and they were not serving them as a brunch item at the time. I honestly think this man's claims of a "bait and switch" caused them to add Shrimp and Grits to their brunch menu. For $9.99 you get tender shrimp served over creamy grits, with onions and a delicious gravy.
A go-to menu item for me has become Crabcake Benedict. One of our brunchies ordered 219's Crab Benedict. It's exactly what you think it is. Jumbo lump crab (no fillers) topped with a poached egg on an English muffin drizzled with hollandaise sauce. Served with a side of homefries, this dish is $12.99.
OMG, can we talk about their biscuits?! If you look at the brunch menu on their website, you will not find their variety of biscuit options. This was a popular choice among our group. While the biscuits are loaded, that doesn't take away from the buttermilk biscuit itself.
Unfortunately, they were out of the ingredients for their Sweet Potato Biscuit, but we were able to try three different ones.
The Bacon, Egg and Cheese biscuit has no surprises. I love BEC anything so this was definitely a contender for me. The egg is fried and then topped with cheddar cheese.
Next, we have the Fried Green Tomato Biscuit (that's what I ordered). I'll be honest, the fried green tomato is twice the size of the biscuit, but don't be intimidated! The tomato is topped with a fried egg and a couple strips of bacon.
Finally, a favorite from our group, the 219 Chicken Biscuit. This is an amped up version of biscuits and gravy. Crispy chicken tenders, a fried egg, bacon and sausage gravy make this dish a great twist on a Southern classic.
You get two biscuits and a side of their breakfast potatoes or fresh fruit. I can't remember the price for each biscuit, but I can confidently say none cost more than $10.99.
219 also features brunch specials like their Key Lime French Toast. Their brunch menu also includes: soups, salads and sandwiches.
If you're ever in the Norfolk area and want an upscale brunch with a homestyle feel, definitely visit 219 Bistro. I recommend walking off your meal by the Waterside District or around the MacArthur shopping center. Both located close by.
For more information on Gals that Brunch, visit http://www.meetup.com/galsthatbrunchvb/