Salacia: Prime Seafood and Steak

Written by on May 20, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Virginia Beach, Virginia

How I heard of this place: Chris and I entered Virginia Beach at nearly 8:30 p.m. and drove straight by Catch 31, also in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, whose bright blue logo lights were intriguing. Live music from outside, heard clearly both from the car and to those seated on the restaurant patio, directly across from the green between Neptune’s stage and the statue of Neptune on the beach. I happened to mention it to Chris, on the drive by, that it might be a nice spot to enjoy dinner one these weekend nights of our stay in the area. Little did I expect that we would be back here less than an hour later when the restaurant we had wanted to try (The Jewish Mother on Pacific Avenue) seemed to have shut its doors for good.

Type of cuisine: The restaurant’s subheading says it all: prime seafood and steak. With fresh fish, caught and served daily, Salacia offers “the highest quality Beef and Seafood to include Wagyu Kobe, and USDA Prime. [Their] custom infrared grill sears [their] steaks at a blazing 1800°F, perfectly sealing in the full flavor and texture that deliver [their] signature Salacia ‘Flavor’.” In its Raw Bar, Salacia also offers “one of the largest selections of fresh oysters in the region. Harvested in the cleanest, purest waters from the east to the west coast. The oysters are offered by groups of three and served with spicy cocktail sauce, raspberry mignonette, and grated horseradish. From decadent bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp ($12) to Caesar salad ($8), beef Carpaccio ($13) to crab bisque ($9), the appetizers can stop the show on their own. But most patrons do not stop there, the 12 oz. Filet Mignon ($37), hardwood grilled shrimp ($11), lobster tail ($24) and Boursin cheese chicken ($25) keep us ordering. Sides typical and surprising are offered to dining patrons to enjoy family style, or to keep to themselves. And who can blame them? With grilled asparagus, sautéed exotic mushrooms and truffled baby baked potatoes ($7 each), everyone has something to get their mouth watering as they peruse the menu.

Ambiance: One is surprised at the quiet and romantic atmosphere of Salacia, after walking into a Friday night at the Catch 31 bar. The loud sound of voices and music are a wonder that anyone can hear anyone else at all. The scantily clad women, the chiseled men and the number of patrons waiting for nearly an hour to be seated gives one the impression that the place is something worth waiting for. We, on the other hand, were not that impressed. The menu looked decent enough, but the late hour and the abundance of other dining establishments along the oceanfront had us out the door nearly as quickly as when we entered. Luckily, the hostess for Salacia caught our attention on the way out. She offered us immediate seating in their steakhouse, which we accepted immediately. At 9:20 p.m. we were escorted through the winding pathway between the hoards, drinking, watching television, and loudly falling over one another, or seated at tables with hands flailing vividly as they talked, as if in a sports bar or pub during Spring Break, and the open kitchen. We entered a large, silver-handled cloudy-glass door to the intimate, cozy space called Salacia. Directly ahead of us, at the far end of the establishment, not more than twenty feet away, the first thing to catch my attention was the curved, tan and cream leather sofa and padded tile back that made its way nearly up to the wall, as well as separated the space from the kitchen and door that led to the outside seating area. Continuing our walk to our romantic two-person table, we were invited to be seated closest (of the seven other tables for two) to the chiffon-curtained floor-to-ceiling windows. At the windows could be found three rectangular tables, covered in the same white linen as every other table in the small space, seating four. Continuing around, the blue-toned dark wine case created a wall between Catch 31 and Salacia, as two round tables with seating for six, and one more four-person table were found. The floors, with thin carpeting in light browns and burgundy (as it seemed from the dark setting), complemented the high, wooden-tiled ceiling, with two shallow cylindrical paper lanterns, set in clusters of four like a chandelier. Opposite the windows was a large gas fireplace, the flat space around which was decorated with mini tiles in all shades and hues of blue, reminiscent of the ocean. Music plays faintly in the background, completely masking the sounds of the hustle and bustle of Catch 31, to the extent that one hardly remembers it exists beyond the wine cabinet and long, rectangular window at the top of the case, shedding in light from its massive space. Candles light the tables, with light so dim that it is almost difficult to see ones food, a small, detailed vase holds one, lone flower at each setting. Three small five-sided cubes are set in a slightly larger, rectangular dish, holding fresh ground black pepper, black Hawaiian sea salt and pink Himalayan sea salt, accompanied by a tiny spoon. Our blue-trimmed glass plates with a transparent center were topped with our napkins and a small, blue, square dish reserved for coming bread bowl and butters.

What I ordered: Upon being seated, we were welcomed immediately, napkins placed on our laps and offered either still or sparkling water. We chose still. One of many people who served us throughout the meal brought the silver rounded basket with small circular holes and a blue linene surrounding the three small artisan loaves, three slices of raisin-infused pumpernickel and two slices of white, French bread, accompanied by one square container of sun-dried tomato butter and another of salted butter. Being in the mood for seafood, it was not difficult to choose from the abundant, yet manageable menu. We started with a Salacia Caesar ($8) to share, Romaine lettuce, Parmesan and garlic croutons, served also with a wedge of crispy, baked cheese flatbread. For our main entrées, my dining companion knew immediately that he wanted the salmon ($27). I, too, was intrigued by the salmon, but, being our first visit, wanted to try more than one dish, and selected the hardwood grilled mahi ($27). Each of our dishes was presented in a shallow bowl, the fish set atop a small helping of lemon-herb risotto, two spears of early Spring asparagus and a drizzle of tomato saffron jus. Having seen more than one order of the Truffled Baby Baked Potatoes ($7) make their way past our table, I could not help but order it on the side. My dining companion topped off his meal with a glass of what tasted like fresh, lightly sweetened, tart cranberry juice, chilled with minimal ice. To end our meal, we selected the dense and not-too-sweet Cheesecake ($?), our servers favorite, set over a drizzle of dark chocolate and served with a small spice bowl of milk chocolate fondue, decorated with a magenta flower and one strawberry.

What I loved: Of the main dishes, it was difficult for me to decide what I preferred between the luscious, tender and juicy salmon, seared to a beautifully perfect crisp or the buttery, soft and truffled potatoes. The asparagus, often at the top of my list fell to a very close second place, while the mahi, as delicious as the smoky, char-grilled flavor was, fell to third.

Why I loved it: I love finding a space, so intimate, so serene and so romantic in the most unassuming of places. Being on the coast lends itself to fresh seafood, which one cannot turn down and makes me crave it more! The serenity, the comfort, the ease and the service were top notch! The food – the best I have had since leaving Seattle, and quite on par!

Cost: Average to high ($17 – $80 per dinner entrée, vegetarian to surf n’ turf)

Be Sociable, Share!


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *