Monday, October 5, 2009

Review-Burtons Grill

Senior account representative Shannon Igoe from Image Unlimited Comunications of Winchester MA, contacted me about being a guest and reviewing the new Burtons Grill in Virginia Beach Virginia. Burtons Grill has location in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and now Virginia. I am always up for trying new seafood dishes and thought this would be a good opportunity.

I have never been to Burtons Grill, and I have never even heard of it until Shannon had contacted us. As it turns out, Burtons has five restaurants and is continuing to grow. I was very anxious to check this new place out!
First up, the location. Everyone says that in the restaurant biz, it’s location, location, location. Burtons certainly seems to have that. Located in the chic Hill Top area of Virginia Beach easily accessed by interstate 264. The facility is located in a strip mall with plenty of parking. The only problem that I have with this location is that it is not in Hampton, sure wish this place was a lot closer, because we will be going there a lot!

The interior of Burtons Grill is large and roomy with ample seating including a private dining area that can seat approximately 50 or so people. A large wine cellar and a lavishly extended bar area with plenty of tabletops for dining creates a very comfortable yet intimate and casual experience. Burtons is tastefully decorated with a combination of granite, tile, and rich wood finishes, providing a cozy and warm atmosphere while huge windows help to maintain an open airy feeling. There was also outside seating with a large open doorway leading to where the live entertainment was staged near the bar area.
We had the opportunity to tour the kitchen and WOW, that was something to behold. They were very busy and I did not want to disturb the master chefs at their craft. But we did manage to get a couple pictures of the team in action. The kitchen is located behind the dining area, but far enough away where there was no heat, smoke, or any smells coming from the kitchen. This was one well-ventilated and maintained kitchen.
The service was impeccable and very attentive. We were not there for two minutes before we were greeted and had our cocktail order in. I went for the new seasonal rum punch, made to order, and it was fantastic.

To start off, we ordered what the bartender recommended for an appetizer. It was a baked zucchini dish. To be honest, I do cook with zucchini usually when grilling, but it is not something that I would think of to order for an appetizer while dining out. Always up for trying something new, we placed the order, not really expecting much of a dish, boy, was I wrong big time!! This dish just blew us away! I have to say it may be among the best appetizers we have ever had. What the dish was, well, it is a little hard to explain. Thinly sliced zucchini, rolled up and seemed to have different cheeses in the zucchini, then topped off with a fresh tomato sauce and then topped with more Parmesan cheese, then baked. WOW! Was this good. Believe me, it really tastes much better than it sounds. When you go to Burtons Grill, ask for this appetizer for sure, you will be glad you did.

For brunch, we tried a sampling of different menu items, the first was Lobster and Shrimp Pasta. Everything was fresh and the portions were huge. There was no way one person could eat all of this. There were very large chunks of lobster and the shrimp were massive and cooked to perfection. There was nothing over cooked here at all, the shrimp were tender and delicious. The lobster was also tasty and not over cooked. The tomato cream sauce was light and the entire dish was just perfect. Highly recommend this dish for anyone that loves a seafood pasta.

Next was something everyone should experience, Apricot Glazed Large Sea Scallops on a Sweet Pea and Feta Risotto. The real kick here was just the scallops themselves, you will never have any better. These beauties are imported fresh almost daily from New England, fantastic cold-water scallops that have a sweet taste that just can’t be duplicated. They were cooked just right as well, over cooking a sea scallop can turn a nice seafood delight into rubber. You will not find any better quality and presentation that what you will find at Burtons. Perfectly glazed huge scallops with the hint of Apricot, just fantastic! The scallops were very, very impressive.

I figured we should also try something rather straightforward, not fancy, something that would be very common to most readers. Grilled Mahi (Dolphin) was our choice. The kitchen prepared this fish in a way that I would do so at home. They bronzed the fish and then put it on a crab risotto. The risotto was very good, and you could not ask for a better filet of mahi. The fish was thick, juicy, not overcooked at all, tender, and melted in your mouth. Dolphin has long been one of my favorite seafood dishes, and we have been producing dolphin shows for over 20 years. If you are in the mood for a great filet of mahi, Burtons cooks it up just about as good as it can get.

Now this last dish we ordered was our all time favorite of them all, Baha Mahi. This is another Dolphin dish, however since we already had one filet of mahi, we substituted the dolphin for swordfish. The relish (or topping) was a mix of crab, avocado, and tomato also served with rice and fresh sliced local tomatoes on the side. The combination of the bronzed fish with the relish was just awesome, and for sure a MUST try! I just love this dish. For years I have made something very similar with rockfish and a tomato picante topping. We have published this recipe before and is on our jimbaughoutdoors web site.

The combination of the crab, avocado, and tomato relish on top of the bronzed filet, is just to die for. The presentation was very nice as well. Everything is fresh, even the tomatoes were harvested locally. Fresh produce can really make a difference when preparing seafood dishes. Detail is key. I knew we were in good hands when I was talking to the manager about tomatoes, Hampton tomatoes, Georgia tomatoes, even the Hanover tomato and the Tomato Festival. He knew what I was talking about too! Very comforting, a good chef has to know his tomatoes!

I don’t think I have ever given a restaurant a 10 out of 10 on all the menu items we have tried, but Burtons Grill gets it. A full 10 on every dish. Talking with the Mgr. Andy Holst, I asked him if people knew what a fantastic seafood restaurant they had become. He mentioned, yes, but he said Burtons Grill is really known for their steaks. Steaks that rival the best known steak houses in the US! I said, your kidding? I defiantly will be coming back to check it out. A great steak is a wonderful thing, but finding awesome great fresh seafood prepared to perfection, is a little harder to find, and we did find it at Burtons Grill.
I talked a lot about the restaurant while we were there, and afterwards, the only thing that we think Burtons is missing is one thing, Live Jazz. The facility so nice inside, the food is the best it could be, service outstanding, and for a Sunday Brunch, we wanted Sunday Jazz. The live music they had was good, and very professional-- but, a nice jazz trio would set that place on fire! Some of our local Jazz artists in the Hampton area should be camping out at Burtons Grill. Live Jazz should be on the menu, at least on Sunday. Even some Pat Metheny “Bright Size Life” on the house stereo would have been ideal.

All in all, without a doubt, Burtons Grill gets a 10 on food, service, and atmosphere. Now if they will just open one up in Hampton Virginia just blocks from our condo, I will be a happy camper!!

Tight lines and Bon Appetit!!!

Contact Info for Burtons Grill:
Phone 757-422-8970
Burtons Grill
741 First Colonial Road
Suite 107
Virginia Beach Virginia 23451

Reservations suggested

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