Stove Restaurant, Portsmouth, VA

I always love trying out a new restaurant, particularly when it’s chef/owner is trying to cook using local and ethically farmed ingredients. Kudos to Stove for sourcing their ingredients locally.

My husband and I made reservations for an early supper, showed up on time and were promptly seated. Our waiter, Mike, was wonderful. The perfect balance of attention and peace. We ordered a cheese plate, wine by the glass and main courses. Mark had rock fish, fresh from the Elizabeth River (eek!) and I had pork, raised in Chesapeake. The cheese was good, the camembert was so creamy I might have drunk it; the black pepper cheese was delicious; the cabbage relish tasted like natural gas.

Mark was not fond of the rock fish. I tasted it and found it rather good and he smokes, so can he actually taste at all? Who knows. I had the pork which consisted of restaurant-made ham, smoky, different and good; pork belly, OMG!; tenderloin which was tender, just like you’d expect; and sausage. The sausage was tough and overwhelmingly smoky. The meats were laid over a sauteed veg mix which consisted of turnips, some sort of stringy squash, onion and garlic. ¬†Overall, the meal was adequate, the portions were large and everything was cooked properly. I didn’t much care for the overwhelming use of strongly flavored vegetables like cabbage, turnips and onions all together.

We had dessert at the bar which includes a huge selection of wines. I had a slice of lemon chess pie and Mark a slice of chocolate pie. I really like the lemon pie which was creamy and buttery and not too sweet, often a problem with desserts.

Overall, I found Stove to be horribly overpriced and overrated by The Experts. While the service was impeccable, the food was a weird mix of really good and not good at all. Coming in at ~$200, including wine and dessert, it was far too costly. We may go back for cheese and drinks in the charming bar in an effort to support a local business trying to do a good thing but it’s doubtful that we will have supper there again.

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