Passion, The Restaurant – Kudos for Good Food

It’s pretty hard to find a restaurant in the Hampton Roads area that serves really good food, serves it well, has a professional and clean ambiance, and is of the size it can serve patrons more than just food.  We were saddened to see the tiny restaurant, “Let’s Eat Gourmet” close down because the cook there served the most incredible meals and made us feel like family in the small seven table dining room.  And most of the restaurants, that tout fancy gourmet food, are a little too large to be intimate and cozy.  So when I come across another, and I love the food, I shout it out to the world.  (I hope this won’t mean that I can’t get a seat from the future crowds!)

I’ve found one!  I haven’t had to use many adjectives to describe food before, so please forgive repetitive uses of the same words since my food critic experiences are slight.

I attended MediaFest at the Sheraton Hotel on February 25th, and tucked into a back corner was a serious business suit offering little plastic cups of she-crab soup from a hot-crock.  As an aside, I have tasted a lot of she-crab soups in my lifetime, and I know what the good stuff should taste like.

The first bite of this restaurant’s she-crab soup was divine, and I almost melted with the remainder of the cup.  WOW!  So I look at the menu – pretty fancy names of the food on the list, but very appealing in their description, so…its time to go check it out with the husband and his wallet in tow.  After talking to the suit, I found his name is Michael Gomori.  Michael is the owner who has partnered with Executive Chef, Garett Barner, to create “Passion, The Restaurant.”

The restaurant is located on Volvo Parkway in Chesapeake, VA, and tucked into the corner of a shopping strip down the street from the Chesapeake Library.  Even though it’s winter and the front patio wasn’t open, the place still has a warm appeal.  We were greeted quickly by a host and seated at a very elegantly appointed table.  The waiter was enthusiastic about his job.  He had carefully written down the specials for the day and actually talked slow enough and pronunciated so these ‘old ears’ could understand every word (Thank you very much! Don’t you hate going to restaurants where the wait staff rattle stuff off so fast it needs repeating multiple times – they didn’t save themselves any time at all!).

Passion had two soups of the day – Chef Barner’s She-Crab Soup with a touch of sherry wine and South Beach Conch Chowder with Fresh Peppers.  While we were waiting for our salads, the waiter provided us with tiny cups of the Conch Chowder to taste.  Delicious!

The dishes used for serving the food were stylish and beautiful and the food was attractively arranged.  My Warm Spinach Salad was piled high, had a mouth-watering balsamic vinegar dressing drizzled over the spinach and around the plate that was framed by tiny bites of crisp apples, pears, and caramelized walnuts, with tiny bits of hidden Maytag bleu cheese among the greens.

My husband had a Salade Brannon, with fresh baby field greens, Asiago Cheese, tomato, the same wonderful balsamic vinegar dressing, topped with a Puff Pastry that was so light it melted on your tongue, and a tiny, bright-yellow yolk, fried quail egg.

The salad servings were so generous, I was seriously wondering if I was going to have room for the entrée.  The waiter also brought crispy crust bread and poured virgin olive oil with rosemary for dipping, and we could have filled up on that alone, it was so mouth-watering.

My husband and I are of the same mind when it comes to eating our meat…we ordered Fillet of Oscar, and were served a perfectly cooked petit Filet Mignon, surrounded by generous bites of Jumbo Virginia Lump Crab Meat; tender baby asparagus strips, all arranged on top of cheesy potatoes au gratin with a Béarnaise Sauce.  We both agreed this restaurant would do a repeat performance for us.

While we didn’t choose an Appetizer, I’m open for it on our next visit.  They have Shrimp and Grits, Scallop Caprese, Truffle Mac & Cheese, and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, which all sound like a meal in themselves, and the titles don’t seem to do the dishes justice.  (Check out the online menu to read the entire descriptions.)

Some of the other menu items are ocean sourced:  Blackened Ahi Tuna, Seafood Boullaibase, Fettucinni Amatriciana, Virginia Crab Cakes, Baked Surry-ano wrapped Fresh Rock Fish, and Pecan Dusted Filet of Salmon.  If you are more of a land-lubber and a meat eater, Passion offers: Grilled NY Strip of Veal, Cashew encrusted Pork Chops, Classic “brick” Chicken, Blue Cheese Filet Mignon, Pan-seared Beef Skirt Steak, and Roasted Fontina Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.  Reading the menu alone could make you drool, noting how the menu items are cooked, and what sides accompany the meat.

This restaurant is not satisfied in simply serving good food; they have other offerings that their clientele can partake of such as cooking classes, wine tastings, wine specials every Monday, a 35+ Martini Menu, special Wine Dinners, as well as being “Virginia Green Certified.”  Another special – every Tuesday, you can buy one entrée and get a second entrée (lesser priced) at half price.

Throughout our dinner we heard the most wonderful music, and we assumed the music was piped in.  It wasn’t until we were leaving the restaurant that we realized the music was live, with an accomplished pianist singing wonderful tunes by the front door, next to the bar.  She was a beautiful, talented, and wonderful singer; and we’d have been prepared to tip her had we known she was singing live during our dinner.

And most important to us – Passion, The Restaurant is Veteran-owned, so the military community should support one of their own!  (My husband is retired Navy, EOD Chief, and a business-owner himself [see our website at www.MonsterClean.net].)

I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant!  If you wish to visit to experience the rich food and ambiance yourselves, here’s where to go:  Passion, The Restaurant, located at the Shoppes at Greenbrier, 1036 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake, VA 23320, (757) 410-3975; www.passiontherestaurant.com.

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One Response

  1. Wonderfully written. You should get a free meal from these guys. I know what you say about the food and ambiance is true. You wouldn’t have written it otherwise. So….are you going to take me there if I come visit???

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