Surf Club Ocean Grille: 2019 Virginia Beach Restaurant Week
I’ve lived in Virginia Beach for almost five years, but when it comes to the Oceanfront, I never venture past the boardwalk. I always assumed that beyond 40th Street, Atlantic Avenue was just surrounded by residential homes and vacation rentals. That was until I decided to visit Surf Club Ocean Grille for my first meal of the 2019 Virginia Beach Restaurant Week.
I knew the restaurant was somewhere along the coastline, but figured I put in the wrong address after I passed all the hotels near the boardwalk. On the quieter side of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, off 57th Street, is the Wyndham Hotel and Surf Club Ocean Grille.
At first, Surf Club seems like your typical hotel restaurant on the beach. Hues of blue on the walls, cozy seating in the dining room, a winding bar and fantastic views of the beach through the large windows.
Surf Club featured a $25 three-course dinner menu for Restaurant Week. To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations when I arrived. By the time I finished my meal, I was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant.
Options: Greek Wedge, Sonoma Flatbread and “Petite” Shrimp & Grits”
I’ve had a lot of shrimp and grits in my days and, at first glance, I didn’t think that Surf Club’s version was going to wow me. I took my first spoonful of the Anson Mills stone-ground grits, scooping up one of the Carolina shrimp, and took back my initial thought.
Cooked in a rich, buttery natural gravy, the creamy grits made with Black Diamond white cheddar were reminiscent of a shrimp Florentine dish. Surf Club’s shrimp and grits were a bit more high-end, as opposed to a hearty down-home style. Maybe it was the creative plating or the use of the obscure yet satisfying fried parsnips on top.
Options: Argentinian Style Churrasco Steak, North Atlantic Salmon and Pork Chop
I told myself that I was going to take a break from beef, after eating several burgers as research for an upcoming issue of Coastal Virginia Magazine, but all I could think about was a big juicy steak. My server Mary told me that the steak on the Restaurant Week menu was eight ounces. As someone who can take down a 12–14-ounce steak in one sitting, I was not that impressed. Once again, I ate my words along with the considerable-sized steak entrée.
“Argentinian style” simply refers to how the steak is cooked and served. The eight-ounce steak was grilled, sliced thin and served with a fresh and flavorful chimichurri around the plate. The steak was topped with pico de gallo and served atop red skin mashed potatoes. The steak itself had just a hint of salt, relying on its own savory flavor and the accompaniment of the chimichurri. While I wanted to feel like a gaucho, the elegant plating brought me back to reality.
Option: Tahitian Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée and House-Churned Ice Cream Flight
The main reason I go to restaurants is to eat food that I can’t make myself. Crème Brûlée is one of the dishes I MUST order when it’s on a restaurant’s menu. As full as I was, I eagerly broke through the caramelized top layer to get to the luscious custard.
The crème brûlée was topped with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. The dessert also came with a cookie topped with more whipped cream and a sprig of mint. As you know, I can do without whipped cream on pretty much any dessert. I was tempted to scoop it off my plate, but I ended up adding it and some of the strawberry pieces to the cookie and made a bootleg strawberry shortcake.
The best part of Restaurant Week is the ability to try new restaurants at a discount. I found Surf Club Ocean Grille’s serving sizes to be generous considering the meal was only $25. I kind of liked that I knew nothing about the restaurant before visiting. I’ll have to come back again for brunch or lunch so I can take in that view during the daytime.
Surf Club Ocean Grille is located at 5700 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach.