It would be a bit of an understatement to say that Harrisonburg is lacking in the food department. Yes, we have Bella Luna, Chop House, and Jack Brown’s, but my fellow foodie’s and I desperately crave new spots to obsess over.
Thankfully, my prayers were answered when Food Bar Food (no the name’s not a typo) opened. Yes, the name is strange and the building it’s in could be described as industrial at best, but as soon as you walk in any fears diminish immediately.
Immense amounts of light get let in through the giant glass windows, fresh flowers and quirky throw pillows adorn each table, and artfully distressed windows hang on the slate gray walls.
I like to go to a place a few time before I review it, so I have suggestions for you for brunch and dinner! Let’s start out with brunch. Pro tip: get there early or be prepared to wait. I know, the thought of waking up at 10:30 on a Sunday morning is just too much to bear, but trust me, you will be handsomely rewarded with amazing coffee and the crispiest hash browns you’ve ever had.
Now about that coffee…..
It’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee with a slosh of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom. You give it a good stir and the dense, lush, milk adds just the right amount of creaminess to the bold coffee. A nice touch? The giant ice cube is made from coffee, so as it melts it doesn’t water down your drink!
*Staring wistfully at my empty cup*
Now on to what you’ve been waiting for….the food!
The Brunch Bowl: fennel sausage gravy, cheddar grits, black bean chili, fried eggs, pico de gallo, and a biscuit.*Whew* that was a mouthful. I loved this brunch entree. The richness of the gravy is cut by the pop of fennel, and the brightness of the pico is exactly what this bowl needed.
Another plus? The chance of you finishing this is pretty slim, so you’ll have leftovers for tomorrow morning;) Alright, on to the next one:
Fried egg sammy with, you guessed it, fried eggs, smoked tomato, gruyere, and smoked bacon. Check. out. that. yolk. This was what I had my second time at brunch and I couldn’t recommend it more. The smoked tomato added a juicy contrast to the melted cheese and meaty bacon.
And right when you think it couldn’t be a better sandwich, look at the hash browns it comes with.
Crispy, golden nuggets that let out an audible crunch with each bite. Absolutely perfect.
They offer a wide selection of burgers for brunch, so my friend got the grass fed burger with gruyere, a fried egg, and smoked bacon. He said it was incredibly juicy and cooked to perfection.
The salmon burger is a thick salmon patty coated in panko and deep fried. Yes you read that right, deep fried. It’s topped with a honey dijon glaze that melts into the crispness of the patty.
Another grass fed burger with gruyere, this time with a fresh spinach almond pesto, one of 17 toppings you can choose from.
Here’s what I got, Kaya toast with asparagus, fried eggs, and a soy ginger sauce. I know what you’re thinking, what in the world is Kaya toast? A new gluten free option?? Vegan??? Unfortunately, no to both. My friend Cameron lived in Singapore this summer, so he explained that it’s a coconut custard (think lemon curd but coconut flavored) spread on toast, popular for breakfast or a snack.
The custard was delicious: rich, creamy, and laced with coconut, but I wish I could say the same for the eggs. They were drenched in a cloyingly sweet soy-ginger sauce that coated everything it touched. I tried scraping it off, but my dismal attempts left me with eggs that still smacked of sugar.
Now, on to dinner:
Cider braised pork belly that’s melt-in-your-mouth tender and seared until crispy. It’s sticky sweet with a soy apple glaze and I love the bed of silky pureed parsnips. A must try!
A rich duck and shrimp broth provides a well-seasoned pool for cabbage, pork medallions, and soft cooked egg. You won’t find ramen, let along good ramen in Harrisonburg, so you need to try this.
Grilled rosemary focaccia with mozzarella, amFOG mushrooms, basil, tomatoes, and a good drench of olive oil. Tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil are a classic combination that gets a fall spin from the sautéed mushrooms. Note to the kitchen, warm the mushrooms before topping the bread, they were ice cold last time.
Soba noodles in a miso broth with fresh veggies. So good we drank the broth straight from the bowl!
As you can tell by now, I’m a huge fan of noodles, and the lo mein are some of the best I’ve ever had. Now forget your experiences at Panda Express or some other Chinese chain restaurant that served you a monstrous portion of oily noodles they called ‘lo mein’. No, these are nothing like that.
They’re bathed in a light sesame vinaigrette, perfectly cooked shrimp weaved in through out, with pieces of crisp cabbage and scallions for texture. The juicy tomatoes and sharp red onions round out the dish. Probably my favorite thing here!
When you get your check, it comes on the cutest clipboard adorned with bright scraps of wallpaper. Little touches like this, plus great service (I loved Whitney), and overall good food means I’ll be back (read in The Terminator voice).