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Elegant Dining + Kids' Menu, Too

Sophisticated, new chophouse makes everybody happy.

Back when The Baby Girl was an actual baby girl, we hewed to a firm rule regarding dining out: only restaurants where Mommy could sip a glass of wine. Back then, our go-to was a now-shuttered Italian eatery where the decor changed with each major and minor holiday and Mr. Bond, the piano man, occasionally invited my girl to play a tune or two.

Now there’s a new option for an upscale night out with (or without!) the kids. Jimmy G’s Chophouse & Bistro Bar opened in April in the Little Neck area of Virginia Beach. Its handsome, standout storefront beckons like a doyenne from between a Princess Anne Plaza pizza joint and a barber shop.

Step through the onyx double doors and into a dining room outfitted in crisp white-and-black decor. There you’ll likely find Jimmy G himself settled into one of the cushioned barstools, sipping his namesake cocktail and grinning and greeting guests, many of whom he knows by name.

Vincent “Jimmy” Garofalo and his partners spent a half million dollars renovating this space, which once housed Il Giardino and before that, Braise, the swan song of Tidewater’s late and legendary chef, Bobby Huber. The vision of the owners, who boast decades of experience in the corporate restaurant world, is a sophisticated chophouse serving prime beef, veal, pork, fine wine, and spirits.

“We did it for the necks,” Jimmy said, adding a bit more midori to his Goose & Juice, a melon ball-meets-screwdriver sipper that tops a slim list of classic and flirty cocktails.

The “necks” he refers to are the Little Neck and Great Neck neighborhoods which were stuck, he says, in a sort of chophouse desert requiring residents to huff it to Hilltop for a decent steak. The bistro side of his antidote eatery offers a convivial 20-seat, L-shaped bar, high-backed booths and a couple of large tables hewn by a local woodworker from a felled red oak.

Walk down a hallway past the soaring wine cellar and a series of original art to arrive at the 70-seat chophouse dining room at the back of the restaurant. Yet to be opened at press time, it will be a more elegant setting complete with its own bar.

At either end, patrons can order from a concise menu, culled from the original 90, that has quite a few high spots and speaks to the creativity of Chef Paul Simon. Consider, for example, JG’s Marinated Beet salad ($10), a medley of beets, orange supremes, spicy arugula, walnuts, and salty pecorino tamed with a drizzle of sherry vinaigrette. The French onion soup here is served in an excavated, fresh onion bowl.

Carnivorous “Neck” dwellers will have to decide between the 16-ounce prime beef ribeye ($72), the 6-ounce filet ($44), or the skirt steak ($38) served “Cuban style” with black beans, rice, plantains, roasted garlic, and sharply delicious chimichurri. A New Zealand Rack of Lamb ($48) and Rosemary Garlic Airline Chicken ($30) round out the offerings.

Diners with lighter appetites may choose from a “small plate” menu that includes Jumbo Coconut Shrimp ($24) with a whisper of lime zest and a dollop of mango-and-peach chutney. The Tuna Poke ($18) combines ahi tuna with macadamia nuts, slathered in just enough sesame-garlic-ginger sauce with crunchy shrimp toast shovels.

More casual still are the juicy and towering burgers, sandwiches, and six kinds of flatbreads or pizzas, all made with a choice of pizza dough, flatbread dough, or cauliflower crust. One of the vegetarian options, The Garden ($18), comes with three varieties of mushrooms, black olives, shallots, red pepper, and mozzarella atop a generous swirl of marinara.

And what about those kids? Jimmy G’s $10 kids’ menu gives them a choice of pizza, chicken tenders, fried shrimp, or a beef slider with fries, broccoli, rice, or mashers, beverage, and finally, a joyful bowl of ice cream or sorbet.

At Jimmy G’s, everybody’s happy.

Food Find: Jimmy G’s Chophouse & Bistro Bar

3333 Va. Beach Blvd., Suite 17, Princess Anne Plaza, Va. Beach
757-937-0658 •
Tues.-Sat. 4-10 p.m. Sun.- 4-9 p.m. Closed Monday
Small plates: $12-$24; Flatbreads and pizzas: $16-$26; Sliders, burgers, and sandwiches: $16-$20; Entrees: $22-$72; Dessert: $10; Kids menu: $10.

Lorraine Eaton

Lorraine Eaton, former Staff Epicure at the Virginian-Pilot, is co-author of the “Food Lover’s Guide to Virginia,” and author of “Tidewater Table,” a local bestseller. She has won numerous state and national writing awards, and her work has been included in “Best Food Writing,” an annual anthology of the best American work in the genre. Lorraine has a daughter, Peyton, who is attending university. She resides in Virginia Beach.

Give Your Child a Healthy Start to the School Year

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