Beats, Beers and Brunch at Esoteric in Virginia Beach
The ViBe Creative District is Virginia Beach’s arts and culture neighborhood. Just beyond the Oceanfront boardwalk awaits a hub for artists, museums, restaurants and much more. I visited Esoteric for brunch with Gals That Brunch and had a meal that fit the ViBe.
I didn’t know too much about Esoteric before arriving on Sunday. Just from its location in the ViBe District, I anticipated an eclectic menu with farm-to-table ingredients. As I pulled up to the complimentary valet (a true treasure at the Oceanfront), I could hear the bass bumping from inside the restaurant.
On the last Sunday of every month, a local DJ casts away the “Sunday Scaries” with good vibes and great music at the restaurant’s Beats, Beers & Brunch. I walked into Esoteric to see DJ CanRock spinning across from the long row of taps. It was an unseasonably warm and sunny day, bringing locals out for a little Sunday Funday.
Esoteric’s special Beats, Beers & Brunch menu included cocktails, small plates, main dishes, sides and a sweet.
Just by looking around at all the tables, I could tell that the Blood Orange Mimosa was the drink of the day. The striking color of the blood orange juice stood out. Blood oranges taste less acidic than regular navel oranges, making this drink a little sweeter with a slight berry undertone. Esoteric also offered a regular mimosa, Bloody Mary and a White Russian.
I took some time to look around the spacious restaurant. The large windows gave the dining room a bright and welcoming feeling. Just beyond the backdoors was a notable feature to the restaurant—a garden. Both Esoteric and neighboring restaurant Commune grow their fruits, vegetables and herbs in the garden. Farm-to-table is one thing, but what’s more convenient than getting produce straight from your backyard?
While we waited for the rest of our party to arrive, I decided to order a “small” to keep me from getting hangry. The choice was between the Pickle Plate, Biscuit Platter and Pimento. Notice I put the word small in quotation marks.
For whatever reason, there has been a resurgence in the pimento cheese movement. I’ve been seeing it on a lot of menus done in high-end ways. Esoteric serves pimento cheese in its original form—straight up and spreadable. It had been a while since I had this Southern comfort food. I eagerly spread it on my lightly toasted bread and savored flavor from the sharp cheddar cheese. It was thicker than most store-bought pimento cheeses, most likely made with processed cheese, which made it even better. I went through two plates of bread before I decided to just box up the rest of my cheese. This “small” is perfect for sharing, so long as you’re dining with people who aren’t afraid of pimento cheese.
For my entrée, I couldn’t decide between the Buttermilk Stuffed Waffle, Joey’s Breakfast Burrito or the Biscuits and Duck Gravy. While the concept of duck gravy was incredibly different, the idea of a savory waffle peaked my interest even more.
The bright Havarti cheese sauce was the first thing to catch my eye when my plate was placed in front of me. My first bite of the stuffed waffle was all buttermilk pancake. On my second bight, I got a piece of juicy, tender chicken. I can’t tell you why, but I ate the outside of the waffle first, then worked my way in to the tower of fluffy scrambled eggs and spinach. The eggs were covered with the rich cheese sauce and bits of crisp Virginia ham that added a welcomed saltiness to the dish. This Buttermilk Stuffed Waffle checks off most of my breakfast boxes. A side of bacon helped make it the perfect meal.
Between bites, I did a little shoulder work to the hip hop and R&B that DJ CanRock was playing. He’s probably the only DJ in the area that would play Creep by TLC during a brunch. It was an unparalleled experience and definitely something I want to share with more of my friends. I can already picture myself coming to Esoteric for Beats, Beer and Brunch, then heading down to the Oceanfront for a little more day drinking.
The only part of the experience I missed out on was the second B—beer. Esoteric has 28 beers on tap and more available by the bottle. They also have one tap dedicated to kombucha and another to root beer. I’ll certainly have to return for lunch or dinner and get a craft beer paired with my meal.