Gershwin's Brunch Review - Norfolk, VA
"The moment you walk into Gershwin's, you feel like you've stepped through a time portal and into 1940's New York City."
Gershwin's, located on Granby St. in Norfolk's theater district, is an upscale bistro that took great care in every detail of the restaurant. The large brass and gold windows give you a sneak peek of the ornate interior design. Everything is black and gold, reminiscent of a low-lit club from the days of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. To add to the classic touch of elegance, the entire waitstaff is dressed to the nines in black tuxedos.
Don't let the posh décor scare you. Gershwin's brunch is incredibly laid back. When Gals That Brunch (GTB) visited, Gershwin's reserved the entire first-floor dining room for us. While a lot of restaurants in downtown Norfolk are usually slammed during a Sunday brunch, we were perfectly comfortable and able to fully immerse ourselves in the Gershwin's experience.
Let's get to the best part about Gershwin's brunch. Unfortunately, Virginia is one of 23 states that prohibits "bottomless brunch." Gershwin's, however, settled for the next best thing.
Initially, when we ordered our mimosas, we weren't sure how much they were. When our server came back to the table, we asked her. "Our mimosas and bloody marys are $1," she said. Remember that scene in Finding Nemo when the seagulls were all saying "mine, mine, mine"? That was us except we were saying "more, more, more."
I've lived in the Hampton Roads area for one year and I haven't found a cheaper brunch cocktail yet. If brunch cocktails aren't your thing, Gershwin's bar, one of the longest in Norfolk, offers plenty of other options. You can go with a classic like a Sidecar or Manhattan, or choose one of their modern, infused cocktails.
Unlike Gershwin's interior design, their brunch menu is no muss, no fuss. There's something for everyone. Gershwin's offers warm croissants for the especially hungry guests. This is always a major key in the GTB world. When you roll with such a large squad, you're bound to have a few people show up late (it was me at this brunch). The wait time goes a little faster when you have something to snack on.
On the lighter side of the menu, Gershwin's offers four different types of salads, including a seasonal salad, and a soup du jour. Most of Gershwin's brunch menu is breakfast classics.
A popular menu option in the GTB world is always a crabcake benedict. Gershwin's serves theirs on a split buttermilk biscuit, that is topped with two crabcakes, two poached eggs and hollandaise, served with a side of home fries.
On the simpler side is the Breakfast Platter. Three eggs, grits, home fries and a choice of bacon, sausage or country ham. This was a good choice for one of our gals who wasn't looking for a heavy breakfast.
The signature Eggs Gershwin is also a good option if you're looking for something less heavy. A halved buttermilk biscuit, two poached eggs and country ham, drizzled with hollandaise, and served with a side of home fries.
For our vegetarian gals, Gershwin's has a veggie omelet. Much like our table décor, this omelet was perfect for fall, with squash, zucchini, red bell peppers, basil and goat cheese. Gershwin's was even able to accommodate one of our gals who prefers scrambles more than omelets.
If you're like me, you show up to brunch starving and ready to eat anything/everything. Gershwin's menu also features what I call "fill you up" dishes.
I had the shrimp and grits. If you know me, you know that this is one of my go-tos in the brunch world. Gershwin's serves theirs with jumbo, sauteed shrimp, sausage, green onions, tomato and stone ground bacon grits in a low country gravy. Unfortunately, Gershwin's did not mention that the dish had tomatoes or sausage on their menu, which can be problematic for some. It's also a pet-peeve of mine when restaurants leave the tails on shrimp. When I'm home, I have no problem popping the tail off a shrimp and leaving it on my plate - but in such a nice setting, like Gershwin's, it didn't feel right.
Another "fill you up" dish is the Hangover Helper. Gershwin's takes two crispy, fried chicken cutlets and tops them with a poached egg, then smothers the dish with sausage gravy. The meatless version of this is the straight biscuits and gravy.
One of our gals wasn't in the mood for breakfast food so she tried Gershwin's salmon, which was served on a bed of sauteed spinach. She was pleasantly surprised by the serving size.
Around The Table
The kitchen was a little slow (understandable since we did have a large party), but that gave us plenty of time to talk and meet some of the new gals. We learned that one of our gals had been to Gershwin's before, but not for brunch. She actually had a 1920's themed birthday party there. She nailed the theme, right down to her flapper dress.
We talked about how cool it would be to experience Gershwin's again in the evening. On the weekends, they have a live performer or band, who you can hear over the speakers from the street. I remember walking by one night and standing in awe. That's just one more thing that adds to Gershwin's unique appeal!
-Arielle J. Patterson