We haven’t been to downtown Norfolk for quite some time. On a recent excursion of rediscovery, we were directed to a new taste treasure that will definitely stay on our list of reasons to return more often: The Grilled Cheese Bistro.
We happen to like grilled cheese sandwiches, and if you do too, the only problem you’ll have with the menu is choosing just one from the unique variations available. And it had better be just one, unless you are a competition eater, as the sandwiches are quite generous. I ordered a smoked salmon and Brie creation that just about melted in my mouth. Russell W., being a braver and bolder foodie, went with a black truffle mac & cheese combo that could satisfy the cheesiest of cheeseheads. The cheese on both was perfectly melted and toasty, and the bread – that key component of any sandwich – was simply delicious. The menu is great fun to peruse, so we won’t include any further spoilers other than the chimichurri fries, which are just about over the top. A single side order is plenty to share with a friend (or two).
Speaking of sharing, be ready to share space as well – GCB is a bistro by design as well as name. The space is modest and seating is tight, but if you’re the gregarious type you may well find yourself striking up new friendships, especially if you sit at the bar, as we did. This was not by choice, as on a Saturday evening there was a line to get in and we were glad to take whatever spots became available, but the cheerfully social atmosphere inside made sitting anywhere an enjoyable experience. The Grilled Cheese Bistro is a friendly place, and it attracts a friendly crowd. Warning: crowd IS the operative word here. This is not an ideal spot for an intimate dialogue, and if you are already part of a trio or larger, you may wait longer than the 15 minutes we did to get seated.
The footprint of the GCB may be modest, but its décor is as snappy and pleasing as a high end pair of dress shoes, and at the same time as comfortable as a pair of favorite house slippers. As befits a bistro, it has a European flavor, with a streamlined, modern accent. Thick candles on the bar and tables lit after sundown add to the congenial ambiance. All in all, the Grilled Cheese Bistro is a great place to drop in, sit down, and strike up a conversation, with a one-of-a-kind menu that is a conversation starter in and of itself. If you haven’t discovered it already, we recommend checking it out. You’ll likely be happily chatting with fellow grilled-cheese fans before you even get in the door.
Website: The Grilled Cheese Bistro.