Hilton Norfolk The Main hotel in Norfolk, Va., opens this month with three new restaurants and a new chef.
The hotel announced the addition of Chef Fabio Capparelli, who will lead the property’s culinary team and oversee its signature three on-site restaurants.
Capparelli trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has worked alongside some of the finest chefs in the world including Laurent Tourondel of BLT Restaurants and Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants.
A native New Yorker, Capparelli began his professional career as a wait-staff manager learning the importance of good front-of-the-house operations. He then moved on to being a lead line cook for Roy’s Restaurant at the New York Marriott Financial Center and then a grande manager chef at BLT Steak Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Westchester.
By the age of 28, Capparelli’s outstanding skills earned him position of executive chef at New York City’s Park Central hotel for more than three years. It was doing that time that he was featured on Rocco’s Dinner Party on Bravo. Capparelli went on to open and operate his own award-winning restaurant, Blu Culino Fusion Bistro in Eetonton, Ga. And just prior to joining The Main he was the corporate executive chef for Rosebud Restaurants, which operates nine venues in the Chicago area.
Capparelli’s goal is to make The Main a dining destination for the hotel’s guests as well as the Norfolk community. He is focused on using quality local ingredients as much as possible and is already partnering with several area suppliers.
Located on the street level of The Main, Saltine showcases the region’s finest fresh seafood in a modern space with old-world accents including black distressed millwork and globe lighting. The subtle masculine design reflects the region’s history and features areas of exposed brick, hinting at the integration of the historic Decker building. Building upon its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Saltine offers live seafood displays and a fish cutting room where guests can see the fresh catches of the day being prepared. Anchoring the space is Saltine’s extensive 2000-bottle wine collection and glassed-in private dining room.
Menu highlights include oysters on a half shell from James River, Rappahannock, and others; ahi tuna crudo served on a pink salt block with micro mustard greens, picked mustard caviar, and lemon chip; Catch 31 jumbo lump crab cake made with Chesapeake crab and served with an orange fennel salad and a gazpacho aioli; and Tidewater cioppino made with blue crab, clams, shrimp, scallops and mussels. Saltine’s will also have a selection of signature whole fish offerings including fried yellowtail snapper, salt baked bronzini, and crab stuffed whole flounder. These dishes will be prepared using a centuries’-old salt-crusting method of baking whole fish that leaves the fish super moist and tender.
A quick escalator ride up to the second floor and guests will find The Main’s sophisticated trattoria-inspired Varia, serving modern Italian fare made from local ingredients and more than 100 hand-selected wines including 50 by the glass served at its onsite cuvinet. With luxe detailing and finishes, the highlight of the space is a large millwork library with hidden bookshelf doors leading to two ultra-private dining rooms. Guests will witness Varia’s culinary mastery in action with its open kitchen and elegant reclaimed chandeliers from The Cavalier Hotel ballroom, a historic 1927 hotel property owned by Gold Key | PHR, which also owns The Main.
Menu highlights include house-made buratta cheese served with a heirloom tomato crudo, basil, EVOO, smoked sea salt, and 20 year old balsamic; The Varia Salad with crisp iceberg, sliced soppressata, olives, tomatoes, fontina, pecorino and lemon garlic dressing; house-made pizzas with a thin cruse made using heirloom flour and organic honey; braised short rib ravioli with brown butter, pine nuts, kale, butternut squash, and parmesan; and steak pizzaiola made with broiled flat iron steak and served with oven roasted tomatoes and peppers.
Located nine stories up, the 10,000-square-foot Grain offers a casual rooftop option that seamlessly integrates indoors and outdoors with large roll-up walls opening to the extensive terrace. With lush landscaping and an oversized fire pit, guests can enjoy live music or a life-sized chessboard and billiards room. Along with casual dining options and a large a selection of craft beers, the amazing views of the Elizabeth River will be the highlight experience.
Menu highlights include IPA poached shrimp with a house-made horsey ketchup; Brown ale brined wings with Mahi Mahi’s sweet and spicy sauce served with herb buttermilk dip; ale braised pork quesadilla with ancho chili jam and cilantro cream; The Lager Heads black and blue burger with 80/20 beef, blue cheese cream, pickled onions, and roasted shallot; and the Triple Ale turkey burger with wheat ale ground turkey, fried red ale zucchini, brown ale BBQ, lettuce, tomato and Swiss cheese.