Virginia Beach Restaurant Week 2015 has kicked off for the new year! Just thinking about all the possibilities for lunches and dinners has me worrying about my cholesterol and blood pressure. If you're not familiar with Restaurant Week, participating area establishments offer lunch and/or dinner specials at reduced prices to entice diners to visit their restaurants to try something new. On average lunches are $10 and dinners run from $20-$30.
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week is celebrating its 10 year anniversary with over 90 restaurants taking part. We were able to hit a few last year: Braise, Croakers, and Chic's to name a few. Our first Restaurant Week outing this year was to Mannino's for lunch! If you didn't know it yet, Mannino's has the best She-Crab soup in Virginia Beach—hands-down. I don't say those words lightly either! Starting with a good soup sounded perfect since we're in cold weather now. Shelby made reservations for us at the new Oceanfront location, this will be our first time at that shop.
They have an extensive Restaurant Week lunch menu made especially for Restaurant Week. I didn't realize how much they were offering until I actually checked out the menu. For $10 you get two courses: The first could be Prosciutto & Fresh Mozzarella, Calamari Friti or a cup of the Award Winning She-Crab soup! (I know what I was ordering.)
The second course ran one and a half pages, anywhere from salads, sandwiches (including an Oyster Po' Boy), and a wide range of pastas and sauces. We had 5 in our lunch group Shelby, myself, Nana and Marleigh who brought along a friend for us to meet. Once we were seated our server brought out a hot, fresh loaf of bread for the table and small plates to mix olive oil and balsamic. We used the delicious, crusty bread to dip into the mixture and finished off the small loaf quickly. I asked for another immediately afterward. The table pretty much stuck with the first course She-Crab soup except for Nana who has an aversion to shellfish. Our meals came with salads too, a nice house salad and a Caesar. As for entrées we ordered the following: Two plates of Four Cheese Ravioli (one spicy), Vitello Parmigiana, Smoked Turkey & Provolone Panini and a Fried Oyster Po' Boy.
When the first course was brought out I was surprised at how large the calamari plate was, it was the regular serving size. The soup came in cups, as described on the menu. Nana ordered the calamari and passed it around the table to share, even after doling out some to everyone she had a healthy portion left to herself. The She-Crab soup was spectacular as expected. The large chunks of sweet crab meat were hiding just below the creamy soup and I made sure to divvy out equal amounts of each with every bite. I can be a little anal about how I eat my food. The Caesar was very nice and I loved the croutons that came with it, I like mine a little airy. I didn't try the house salad but it was pretty with a variety of lettuce and long slivers of carrots and beets.
After the bread, salads, soups and calamari we were getting full. I had to finish Marleigh's soup because it would have been a sin to let that go back to the kitchen to be dumped! When the entrées were brought out we saw they really did stay with the regular menu portion sizes (or close enough!) I had the Vitello Parmigiana, veal Parmesan, that I really enjoyed. I don't get out for Italian much so this was a nice change of pace. The veal was lightly breaded and cook well, the cutlet was sitting on top of a mound of penne and sauce. I ended up giving the rest to Shelby in a take-out. She had the spicy ravioli and was gushing over the sauce. Nana had the panini and seemed pretty happy with what she ordered, it looked good and she ended up taking home some too. Marleigh's friend Patrick had the oyster po' boy that was huge. It had at least 6 plump, fried oysters in it with all fixings to the side with two sauces to choose from.
Overall everyone was impressed with the meals being offered on Mannino's special menu for Restaurant Week and can't say enough how great of a deal it was for $10 a plate! I hope we're as lucky with the next place we pick. Make sure to get out and see what's being offered, the chefs and kitchens usually put something special together to let people get a taste of what they have to offer. Take a tour of Virginia Beach's restaurants, see if you find a new favorite out there.
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week runs from 10-19 January 2015.