Catch 31 is changing up their menu—for the better. Here's a sample of Virginia Beach's tasty cuisine.
Chef Kyle Woodruff, executive chef at Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, beams as he reveals his newest menu to a lucky group of media folks who gathered one chilly evening recently at Catch 31. “I love what I do,” says the chef, “and I love sharing what I do.”
The evening commences with cocktails and a giant seafood tower, one of Catch 31’s signature offerings. Overflowing with oysters on the half shell, shrimp, crab, and lobster, this fresh-from-the-sea feast is a seafood lover’s dream. As we nibble on succulent shellfish, servers pass by with clinking glasses containing signature cocktails that wow the crowd.
First I try the Italian margarita with the nutty flavor of amaretto added to the classic margarita recipe. My favorite is Neptune’s Folly featuring a dark rye whiskey with dashes of chili and chocolate liqueurs and mole bitters. Wow. This drink is a perfect warmer-upper on chilly winter nights!
After taking our seats, we learn more about the new menu featuring local and sustainable fare. Soon Catch 31’s professional staff is delivering delectable courses to our tables, each a beautiful presentation of assorted new menu items. The Trio of Starters features a shrimp-stuffed hushpuppy, Tuscan-grilled octopus, and a crispy fried oyster. I love them all—the moistness of the hushpuppy, the charred tenderness of the octopus, and the plump, perfectly cooked fried oyster.
As if these three starters aren’t enough, two more dishes land on our tables: a tasting size portion of their much-awarded she crab soup—creamy and thick with crab—and a hearty harvest salad with microgreens, wheat berries, goat cheese, and flavorful roasted pumpkin vinaigrette. Who know you could make such a healthy salad taste so good!
The main is a Surf & Turf trio of sliced New York strip, crab cake, and bronzed rockfish. Each of these three dishes is a winner, but the bronzed rockfish is my favorite. Caught in local waters, the uber-fresh fish is mild and flaky and tastes like the sea. The preparation of the three offerings is spot-on, especially the bordelaise sauce which accompanies the New York strip.
Room for dessert? Mais oui! I always have room for dessert, and we are treated to a cornucopia of sweets, each better than the last: banana pudding cheesecake, molten lava s’mores cake, caramel apple crème brulée, and vanilla panna cotta. I love the light creamy texture of the panna cotta as well as its delicate flavor.
As one would expect, the wines presented with this incredible meal are top-notch. I fall in love with Justin cabernet sauvignon, which my tablemates are already familiar with. For the dessert course, we enjoy a Virginia dessert wine, Barboursville Phileo, bright and balanced with an elegant finish.
Actually, these wine descriptors apply to the entire meal, an orchestra of bright flavors, thoughtfully balanced and exceedingly elegant.
Chef Kyle gathers his sous chefs and servers for our appreciative applause after the meal and tells us the team’s aim is to provide guests with a memorable meal every time. “We share the same goals,” he says. As anyone who’s worked in a kitchen knows, teamwork is key to success in the front of the house. It’s clear Chef Kyle runs a tight ship and cares about his people and everything that comes out of his kitchen. Catch 31’s cuisine speaks for itself.
For more information, visit www.catch31.com.