Hell’s Kitchen by the Bay

Written by on May 22, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(hkonthebay.com) – Virginia Beach, Virginia by Chesapeake Bay

How I heard of this place: An old shipmate of Chris’ and my new friend Tony told us about a great brunch spot when we were hoping to meet up for a quick bite before returning to Arlington. It was one of his local favorites and only a block from his apartment, but a nice, new place for us to try and a beautiful drive through tree-lined streets and mini-highways.

Type of cuisine: The brunch menu promoted mostly American fare with miniscule hints of international flavor, by way of Steak & Eggs ($9), a variety of Eggs Benedict dishes (not exceeding $5 each), including: Tex-Mex ($5) with sausage, sour cream and salsa, or Chesapeake style with crab cakes instead of English muffins. Waffles and pancakes at $4 each and an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. The buffet included made-to-order, you pick what you want in the filling, omelets, bacon, pork sausage, corned beef hash, home fries, fresh-baked biscuits with gravy and a plethora of bread options: mini bagels, toast, muffins, chocolate cake, vanilla bundt cake, both with a sugar glaze and small cups with a child’s handful of fruit:honeydew melon, cantaloupe, blueberries and blackberries, not to mention a large pot of pre-made oatmeal and its fixings: brown sugar, syrup, and the like. Beverages include sodas, juices (apple, orange, cranberry) and a variety of alcohol, cocktails, mimosas and Irish coffee.

Ambiance: The residential area one must drive through in order to reach HK makes it all the more exciting when you stumble upon the restaurant. The unassuming, single story, house-like structure has a small sign overhead with their Hell’s Kitchen logo, black on white. Parking in the lot directly ahead of the establishment in the half-gravel/half-paved lot, we made our way to the restaurant doors. We saw two of our friends immediately, and did not even think to move any farther. We seated ourselves at the opposite side of the white painted, wooden picnic table in the bench seating, leaving the head of the table, the Godfather seat for our sole friend joining us shortly. The thick, tent covering of the space, allowed for outdoor seating both in the summer sun and with windows zipped down for those windy or rainy spring days. Several tables and chairs were behind us in the outdoor patio and others around the corner, creating an L-shape similar to a wrap-around balcony for seating. Indoors, while I did not get a close look, except for the breakfast buffet immediately to my right as I entered, I believe there were chairs and tables around the medium-sized space for diners.

What I ordered: Five of us met up for brunch, three of us very hungry! For us, the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($10 per person) was about all we could think of and went inside to partake of the feast. The chef behind the table invited each of us to take a small plate and fill it with our favorites from a selection of chopped up vegetables and meats. I selected red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, bacon and crab meat. Both of my dining companions added diced ham to theirs, minus the crab meat. When we passed our dishes off to the cook, he asked if we wanted fresh spinach and cheese – to which we all said, YES – he sautéed our selections in separate pans and began to heat up the eggs into omelets in separate pans, while we helped ourselves to the rest of the buffet. I helped myself to one sausage link, three slices of perfectly crisped bacon, home fries, and a small spoon of corned beef hash, just to taste, a warm, fresh-bake biscuit and a touch of gravy. My two dining companions did the same, with extra helpings of bacon and sausage. When we sat down, one of our remaining dining companions had ordered the Classic Eggs Benedict ($4), English muffins topped with apple smoked bacon, poached egg and hollandaise. To drink, we had one order for a cranberry juice ($1.90), a large cup, on the rocks and one Irish coffee with whipped cream.

What I loved: I have to say that the omelet was the most enjoyable part of my meal – freshly prepared to my exact taste and with all of my favorite things! The plethora of cheese that the chef doused into the egg added gooey, cheesy taste to each delicious bite! Asking another of our newest visitors to Hell’s Kitchen, he also unequivocally announced his favorite part of breakfast to be: “The omelet!” with a single head nod forward. The couple seated across from us were thoroughly impressed by the hollandaise atop the Eggs Benedict and proceeded to explain the challenges and nuance of preparing the sauce from scratch, proclaiming that this one was, well, perfect.

Why I loved it: I loved the outdoor seating on a beautiful beach morning, the opportunity to wear beach shorts and flip-flops while dining and the cool breeze that wafted through the zip-up windows, pulled up and over the top of the tent seating. I loved the picnic table and backed benches, the friendliness of our flirty serves, and the taste of the food over laughter, joking and fun conversation with my new friends! I loved telling our story and hearing that I was given the thumbs up from some of Chris’ closest friends from his days on the Enterprise, as well as putting a face to the names and stories I had been told.

Cost: Low ($10 per person for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet)

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