I go out for dinner/happy hour more than I’d like to admit. I intend on trying something new to me, but I usually end up at the same place; mainly because of the large variety of wines, delicious food, and prices that don’t make my bank account cry. I’d pretty much given up on trying to find a place, and hoped that someday while scrolling the interwebs, one would pop up. Lucky me I didn’t even have to scroll, I opened my email one day and spirit fingers…Cooper’s Hawk was there.
Prior to them opening to the public, I was invited to partake in a meal that could best be described as a culinary mouth party orchestrated by Master Sommelier Emily Wines and Executive Kitchen Manager Edmund Vogel. Conveniently located in front of Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Coopers Hawk consists of a restaurant, artisan market, bar, and Napa style tasting area.
Just as a quick side bar: as someone who needs to find her bearings when entering a restaurant, I appreciate that the hostess stand is not directly in your face when you walk in. That gives me plenty of time to try some wines, pick out a chocolate truffle, or just get my life together before the rest of my group gets there.
Back to meal, the afternoon began with a glass of Blanc de Blanc, a semi-sweet sparkling wine with hints of green apple and a crisp finish. We made our way over to the bar area where we tasted one of their signature sangrias, and received a sample of their barrel reserve wine. After a tour of the restaurant, we were seated in a private dining room and began the foodventure. Just to note: the food pictured are tasting portions, and are smaller than what you would receive when ordering inside of the restaurant.
Chef Matt’s Perfect Pairing Plate of Candied Bacon and Artisan Cheeses:
Honeycomb, Black Fig Jam, Grilled Polenta Crostini with a Trio of Cheeses: Stracciatella, Salemville Blue and Sartori Parmesan.
Candied Bacon….I don’t think I need to say more. If you and a friend come for a wine flight and want something to snack on, this is the best option.
Crispy Brussel Sprouts
Cashews, Mint, Sweet Thai Chili and Sesame-Sriracha Aioli
Wine Pairing: Bin 72 - Moscato
At what point in the last 2 decades did we decide to stop boiling brussel sprouts and start roasting them? Whoever started that trend, my tastebuds thank you. Don’t be concerned if spicy food isn’t your thing, the Thai chili and aioli only pack flavor, not heat.
Asian Pork Belly Tostados -
With Scallions, Sesame Seeds, Cilantro, Radish, and Sweet Chili BBQ Sauce
Wine Pairing: Bin 94 - Cabernet Zinfandel
Winner of the 2013 Menu Masters Award, these 2 bite treats (1 bite if you’re not ashamed to go all in) are small but mighty. This is a great option if you want something that is savory but wont make you too full before your entree.
Shrimp & Scallop Risotto
Sweet Corn, Asparagus, Pea, Spinach, Parmesan and White Truffle Oil
Wine Pairing: Bin 30 - Cooper’s Hawk Lux Sparkling
I think I may have been born in the year of the shellfish, because I have never been disappointed by scallops. The risotto was creamy, the truffle oil did not overpower any of the other components of the dish, and the carmelization on the scallop and shrimp had me craving more.
Blistered Blistered Green Beans, Grape Tomatoes,Ginger Rice, and Thai Lemongrass Sauce
Wine Pairing: Bin 70 - Unoaked Chardonnay
The stars of this dish are the fish and the sauce. Can you use creamy to describe a texture of fish, if not..I don’t care, I’m using it today. The meat was flaky and almost melt in my mouth, but it wasn’t too thin that it fell apart on my plate.
Pancetta, Chicken, Sage, Peas, and Parmesan Garlic Cream Sauce
Wine Pairing: Bin 74 - Cooper’s Hawk Lux Chardonnay
Rule #1 for my when I eat out, is to only order things that I can’t cook at home. I’ve had Gnocchi 3 times in my life and each time, my soul drifted into the land of haute cuisine. Pillows, clouds….Natasha Bedingfield in the background singing pockets full of sunshine, I think you get my point. If I were to rank the entrees I received, this would be #1.
Ginger Soy Glazed Center Cut NY Strip
Wasabi-Buttered Mashed, and Oven-Roasted Vegetables
Wine Pairing: Bin 89 - Cooper’s Hawk Lux Cabernet Sauvignon
This entree is like the Julia Childs of the menu, everyone loves and can find some comfort in it.
Lemon Ice Wine Cheesecake
Macerated Berries, Toasted Graham Cracker
Wine Pairing: Bin 63 - Cooper’s Hawk Lux Ice Wine
Its in the name but just so there’s no surprises, you have to be 21 and older to try this. I enjoyed the non traditional presentation of this dessert, and the texture was creamy but not overly rich.
Cooper’s Hawk Chocolate Cake
Valrhona Chocolate, Hazelnut Ganache, Vanilla Ice Cream
Wine Pairing: Bin 61 - Nightjar
While I don’t like my cheesecake rich, when it comes to chocolate cake the richer the better. There is one layer that has a thick, almost soft fudgelike center . I may have taken that layer off, and saved it for last.
Did reading this make you as hungry as I am after writing this? Lucky you (and me, cause there are menu items dying for me to eat them), everything pictured is currently available at the restaurant. If you’re someone that likes to wait until the “new” wears off before going to a restaurant to be sure that all the kinks get sorted out,I get it..I’m right there with you. I was prepared to wait, but then I realized that I have literally been looking for a place like this for years, and since the universe gave me this gift, I must accept it.
If you visit them in the future, stop back and tell me what you got and if you liked it.