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“Byrd And Baldwin Loses It All With Poor Service”

Byrd & Baldwin Bro Steakhouse
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Ranked #23 of 711 Restaurants in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $23 - $48
Cuisines: Steakhouse
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Granby Street
Description: Located in a historic 1906 building in the heart of Downtown Norfolk, Byrd & Baldwin Brothers is proud to serve the finest steaks in our area. Our traditional, yet creative menu includes first quality steaks,chops,seafood & poultry, served by our experienced and dedicated wait staff. Our in house Sommelier's will be pleased to assist you in choosing the perfect wine from our extensive list of over 300 labels to accompany your meal. With over a 98 per cent approval rating on all comment cards, we continue to strive for perfection, and we would be honored with the opportunity to serve you.
Roswell, Georgia
Level Contributor
79 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Byrd And Baldwin Loses It All With Poor Service”
Reviewed October 7, 2013

We were in Norfolk for a wedding and wanted an evening out. I chose Byrd and Baldwin based on menu and reviews. I will give you the run down from start to finish. The valet was $5 dollars and did not open the door for my wife. The hostess seemed uninterested in being at work and would not seat us early though there were multiple tables open. They were understaffed. The bartender was not engaging, the bar was dirty. She was more intereseted in a customer she knew at the end of the bar and seemed more fitting for a less "white table cloth" environment. She used an overly wet rag to clean the bar while we were in dress clothes so we wiped it dry with bar napkins. The hostess would not transfer the bar tab to our table. Due to under staffing, the sommelier (Chris) was our waiter. He was very pleasant but running his *ss off so not engaged in the small things like cleaning the table after a course was finished. The food was good but not up to Chops/Hals/Bones quality at the same prices. The bread they brought out first was dry and smelled stale. The steak was cooked right (medium rare) and very tasty. My wife had crab cakes that were good, mostly lump and no filler. The side dishes were nothing wonderful. There are just too many restaurants that think that providing a good steak for $40 dollars will make up for lackluster service and unfortunately I can cook my own $40 dollar steak for 15 bucks at home. We eat out for the service and experience and this was just not a good experience. While I don't expect to be in Norfolk again, I cant recommend this place to other travelers.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank bluehorton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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153 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Virginia
Level Contributor
70 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Top notch for Hampton Roads; very expensive”
Reviewed August 23, 2013

The food here is excellent, but it is not the best I've ever had. Still, for Hampton Roads, it is near the top. It is a very expensive place-- I took my two sons and GF and got out for just over $300. There are many good wines, but it's not infallible as some are not so good. The service is excellent although our waiter on this last visit was quite pompous and self-inflated. Once when we came for an 8 o'clock reservation, we were seated at 9 PM-- they are not always on time, and it can be irksome.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Petronius X
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yonkers, New York
Level Contributor
176 reviews
122 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“B & B = One of Norfolk's Best Eateries”
Reviewed July 24, 2013

We recently enjoyed a wonderful meal and dining experience with another couple who are regulars at Byrd and Baldwin (they have been renting space in their wine cellar).

From the valet service, to the welcome greetings, and the waiter's service throughout the meal, the B & B experience was nothing short of memorable. The ambience is just formal enough, without being overly stuffy. The four of us each ordered different appetizers and salads, followed by beef, fowl, and fish entrees and just a couple of sides (veggies!) to share. We skipped dessert in favor of some after dinner drinks (sherries and ports) and a tour of the cellars. Everything was cooked to perfection and the presentations were outstanding.

For a dinner that won't be soon forgotten, try Byrd and Baldwin. We were glad that we finally made it there, after hearing so many good things from our friends over the past few years.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Alberto M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Smithfield, North Carolina
Level Contributor
71 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Memorable Memorial Weekend Dinner”
Reviewed May 25, 2013 via mobile

This is one of the finest steak restaurants my wife and I have ever visited. Have read the comments up here about the a la carte pricing, but the serving sizes are very generous. My wife had the 6oz filet mignon and I had the bone in rib eye. Both were cooked to perfection. The corn, spinach and lobster mac n cheese sides were fabulous. Started the evening with their signature Oyster Rockefeller. Tony was our waiter and was very professional and highly attentive. With wine, our bill was around $200....but it was worth every cent.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Chris J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suffolk, Virginia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Great Steaks, Nice Ambiance...but...”
Reviewed May 8, 2013

My husband and I went to Byrd & Baldwin for my birthday dinner. This was the first time we'd been there, but I've been wanting to try it for some time. I've been to the bar downstairs and liked the setting, the cocktails were great (hand-stuffed blue cheese olives make my day), and I'd heard good things about the restaurant.

Overall, the experience was good, but there are some big 'buts' that I have about it.

When we arrived, we planned to park either on the street or in a nearby parking garage. The parking garage is several blocks away, street parking was impossible (even on a Monday night), and it was bordering on a misty rain, so we used the valet for the restaurant. The first thing that I questioned was 'Why are they charging $5 to valet the car when I know we're going to spend a ton at this place?' That seemed a little chinzy. If you eat a meal there, you should get free valet parking. I understand this if you just go in for a drink, but not a full meal.

So, we went inside. There was nowhere to put our coats (that we could see) and no one offered to take mine. I should mention we tried to get a 6:15 or 6:30pm reservation, but they were 'booked'. We realized 'booked' was relevant to how many people they had in the restaurant- not how many tables were full- because it was mostly empty even after 6:30pm (there were five tables with people the whole time we were there- two tables with two people were there when we arrived, two groups of 5 arrived after we did, and eventually another two people came in). That's fine, but just something to keep in mind (in other words, book early). There aren't that many tables, but it wasn't especially intimate. My view the entire meal was of the wait staff area and we could hear most of the other tables' conversations.

The first thing I noticed was how cool it was in the restaurant. It was maybe 60 degrees outside, but it was a little chilly inside. And the vents are everywhere, so there's no place to sit where you're out of the air. It wasn't horrible, just a little uncomfortable at first.

Our waiter introduced himself- he was very helpful, friendly, and attentive- and offered the wine list and menus. They had some nice wines, many of which I hadn't heard of or tried, so it was a nice treat to try something new. We got a bottle of a shiraz from the Barossa Valley; it was on the lower end of the list at $39. Most of their wines seemed to run around $50 or more (mostly more). I did notice that one of the groups that came in had a bottle with them- I don't know if they do BYOB, but if they do, that's a definite bonus.

To start, we ordered the buffalo mozzarella wrapped in proscuitto with a balsamic reduction. If you like bacon and good mozzarella, you'll love this. The balsamic tasted like that aged, sweet sauce you expect with dessert. It had some sun-dried tomatoes with it. Next, we shared one of their house salads (they offer a caesar and wedge as their 'house'). I was a bit disappointed. It came with bacon, waaay too many blue cheese crumbles, and blue cheese dressing, which wasn't impressive- it was like blue cheese sauce. The wedge was mostly rind and still a bit wet. For $8, I expect a heart or at least something greener with more taste.

For dinner, my husband ordered their 'famed' ribeye and I got the 4oz filet mignon with an 8oz lobster tail (as an add-on). You should know the sides are meant to be shared, so they're larger portions that could easily suite 2-3 people. Since it was a special occasion, we got 3 sides: the lobster and corn salad, the portabella mushrooms with onions, and my husband got a baked potato.

The lobster and corn salad was okay. I think the lobster was cooked too long and, frankly, all I tasted was corn. I didn't taste anything else (except for overcooked lobster). The mushrooms and onions were pretty good, but if you add butter and grill or pan fry either of these at home, it would taste the same. The baked potato came with the typical fixings- butter, sour cream, and he was offered bacon, but turned it down.

But let me say, when we each took a bite of our steaks, we both went 'Oh my, God'. They were cooked perfectly, extremely tender, no rub, no discernible seasonings, though you could definitely taste the butter (if you don't know how they make some of the best steaks so juicy and delicious- they put butter on top of steaks- try it at home, it's horribly fattening, but delicious). Honestly, I thought my filet was better than his ribeye, but I think it was because mine tasted even more like butter than his.

The lobster tail was good, but typical. Unless you dry out a tail or cook it too long, it's hard to mess that up.

The funny thing is, as the steaks cooled while we continued to eat, my husband said the taste wasn't as good. I didn't have that problem- again, maybe it was the extra butter...?

We ordered cappuccinos and a chocolate sin cake for dessert. They give you swizzle sticks (like rock candy) with the cappuccino. The cake took a while to arrive- we were almost done with our coffees, but it was good. It was cold, formed like a pyramid, and came with some kind of candied sauce- maybe raspberry? But it wasn't something I hadn't had before.

Ahh, then came the bill. It was $235. I started laughing. Even if you subtract the bottle of wine, we still had spent $200 for a meal. I noticed when I'd looked around that most of the people in the restaurant didn't order salad or any sides. Most just got the ribeye. They might have gotten coffee. My husband's steak was about $39 and I think mine was $36- and the whole meal I kept trying to justify coming back again more often (after all, to get 2 good steaks for $75 isn't bad). The sides were around $8-10/piece, the appetizer was $14, the salad, as I said, was $8. Unbelievably, though, my 80z lobster tail was $42. That floored me. I've eaten in some of the best restaurants up and down the east coast and even some on the west coast and I've never seen a lobster tail- which is offered as just an add-on- cost $42 with nothing to accompany it. That was ridiculous.

I know this may sound silly, but I was disappointed that the only drying option in the bathroom was the same napkins we had at the table. They just don't dry anything. And one of the soap dispensers had run out- really? I'm paying that much for a meal, please make sure you have soap available (or maybe an attendant for those prices).

On our way out, I looked back down at the downstairs bar and saw people wearing jeans and polos. I know they have a tavern menu, but I didn't realize you could come that casual to this restaurant. It really reminded me of Riverstone in Suffolk, a place we frequent, a nice place with good steaks where you can wear more casual clothing in the bar area. I liked that- we might go back more frequently, but like Riverstone, I doubt they offer the good cuts of meat at the bar. And when we walked out the door, my car was parked across the street. My husband gave the valet the $5 and we walked over to the car (the valet didn't offer to get it for us- it wasn't far, but he should have offered).

All in all, it was good, but I've had better experiences. I've been to nicer restaurants that aren't anywhere near as pricey for what we got. I can't say this is the best steak I've ever had, but it was very good for the area. I would definitely go again, but just get steaks- nothing else (well, maybe a cappuccino). I've eaten at 3 Ruth's Chris (which I think are overrated) and I do think the steaks are better at Byrd & Baldwin (and we paid about $175 including sides, 2 salads, a bottle of wine, and dessert at Ruth's). The staff was responsive- they didn't rush us, they didn't bother us, they paid attention. During the meal, I mentioned how everything is labeled at B&B- from the wine glasses to the steak knives and he said 'Well, they have to pay for this somehow'. I thought that was a little tacky, after all, if I'm already eating there, I don't need a constant reminder of where I am, but, now I know how they pay for that.

And someone (some other review) mentioned how long a meal takes at this place. Yes, it's lengthy. We were there 3 hours.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank jmccullough33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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