Loosen those belts and clear your schedule because Restaurant Week has returned to Hampton Roads.
Participating Newport News restaurants will have special lunch menus for $10 and $20 or $30 dinner options, which often are multi-course meals.
This is the seventh year Circa 1918 Kitchen and Bar has participated in Restaurant Week. The Hilton Village eatery will mix regular fixtures from the menu along with items exclusive to the event.
"We like to give a little of both new and popular items to bring in new customers and keep the locals coming in with some new dishes," said owner Chad Martin.
One of the Circa's new features will be an apricot glazed quail served with fried chickpeas, sweet peppers and Dijon buttermilk dressing. Another entree will be pan-roasted red shrimp with chorizo brie grits.
Second Street, with locations in Williamsburg and Kiln Creek, also will pull items from its regular menu for Restaurant Week.
"We wouldn't showcase a menu we're not proud of in the first place," said general manager Brandon Childress. "Why reinvent the wheel when we've got something great?"
At the restaurant, guests can choose from bison meatloaf, lasagna and shrimp and grits.
Martin and Childress both said they notice an uptick in new and familiar faces at their restaurants. Martin said January has become of one the busiest months since Circa began participating, with about a month's worth of business coming in that two-week period.
"When you sit down and have the tools to incentivize people on this scale with all the restaurants working together, we capture a larger audience," Childress said.
Newport News' Tradition Brewing Company is participating in the week as well. The City Center brewery has paired up with food trucks almost every night. Deals include a $20 meal that includes a beer or an entree around $10 with deals on pints. Trucks participating include Karnage Asada, Poor Boys Burgers and VA Blue Crab Co.
Restaurant Week runs in Newport News from Saturday to Feb. 4. A full list of Newport News restaurants can be found at newportnewsrestaurantweek.com.
Smithfield's Restaurant Week is Jan. 27-Feb. 4 and Hampton's is March 5-11.
Williamsburg Restaurant Week
One of the new additions to the Williamsburg area is the inclusion of breakfast as part of this year's Restaurant Week.
The Historic Triangle event will include breakfast deals with three restaurants participating: Blue Talon Bistro, Capital Pancake House and Culture Cafe.
Williamsburg Restaurant Week runs Jan. 21-31. More info: williamsburgarearestaurants.com.
Blue Talon Bistro truffle dinner
Williamsburg's Blue Talon Bistro is hosting a truffle themed dinner Saturday.
The seven-course meal will feature truffles from all over the world. Wine will be paired with each course.
Tickets are $145 and can be purchased at the restaurant (420 Prince George Street, Williamsburg) or by phone at 757-476-2583.
Black can be reached by phone at 757-247-4607.
Restaurant Week recipes
2nd Street's Shrimp & Grits (serves four)
24 each 16-20 shrimp (shell off and deviened
10 oz Andouille sausage (sliced ¼-inch thick)
4 TBL Cajun Spice
Vegetable oil as needed
2 each bell pepper, Batonet
8 Scallions cut in 1.5-inch lengths
12oz can peeled tomatoes, drained and rough chopped
8 each Grit Cakes (See Recipe Below)
As Needed Flour
1 quart beer broth (See Recipe Below)
1). Preheat oven to 300 degrees and put a cookie sheet pan in the oven
2).Dredge Grit Cakes in flour to coat.
3). Preheat a flat bottom pan over medium heat. Add 3 TBL Vegetable Oil to pan.
4). Once the oil is heated, CAREFULLY slide the grit cakes into the pan and cook on both sides till golden brown. Transfer to the sheet pan in the oven and repeat until all the grit cakes are fried.
5). Heat large sauté pan (or several smaller ones) over high heat. Add 3 TBL vegetable oil.
6).Toss Shrimp and Andouille with the Cajun spice to coat. CAREFULLY add to HOT sauté pan.
7). Cook without moving for 1 minute, then toss around. Add the Peppers, Scallions & Tomatoes and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
8). Add Beer Broth to pan. Bring to a strong simmer and remove from heat.
9). Plate in a pasta bowl: Grit Cakes down first, then ladle the shrimp, Andouille and vegetable mixture over the top. Finish with beer broth.
Beer Broth Ingredients
2 Quarts Beer
1 cup Onion, chunked
2oz Garlic, smashed
½ bunch Celery, rough chop
1 each Bay Leaves
1 tsp Coriander, whole
½ oz Thyme, whole fresh
½ oz Rosemary, whole fresh
½ bunch Fresh Parsley, Stems and all
6 oz Shrimp Shells/bodies
1). Combine all in large stock pot.
2). Over High Flame, Bring to a boil, then turn flame to just below medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
3). Strain liquid and discard solids.
4). At this point, the beer broth is complete. If not using immediately, please cool down properly then refrigerate.
NOTES: We use a combination of Michalob Ultra and Yuengling ale. The Beer Broth can be made days ahead of time and stored covered in the fridge.
Smoked Gouda Grit Cakes Ingredients
1 cup Stone Ground Grits
1 quart Chicken Stock
½ Smoked Gouda, Shredded
2 TBL Salt
1 TBL Chopped Fresh Parsley
1cup Heavy Cream
4 TBL Butter
1). In Large Stock Pot, Bring Chicken Stock, Salt, Heavy Cream & Butter to a rolling boil.
2). Whisk in grits, stir very frequently over high heat till mixture begins to thicken.
3). Turn flame down to medium, continue to stir frequently for 1 hour. Mixture will Greatly thicken as grits begin to bloom.
4).Using a tasting spoon, chew on the grit. It should be al dente, but not crunchy. At this points the grits are officially cooked.
5). Stir in Gouda & parsley. Stir until gouda is completely melted and incorporated.
6). Transfer to cookie sheet pans (18.5" x 12.5"). Level off grits even with sides of pan. Transfer to walk in overnight
7). Cut 4 pieces by 4 pieces (4" square), then in half corner to corner.
NOTES: Grits SHOULD be made a day ahead of time so they can firm up.
Marinated Flank Steak
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Ketchup
1 teaspoon Chives
1 teaspoon Relish
1 teaspoon Creole Mustard
1/2 Lemon Juice
1 Shallot Minced
1 Dash of Tabasco
1 dash of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
Combined all the ingredients in a bowl and mix add the steak and let it sit for 12 hours then grill.