Story and photos by Angela Blue
I used to be one of those people who was never comfortable with the idea of dining out at a restaurant alone. “Would I become bored with no one to talk to?” I wondered. “Would other patrons notice me sitting by myself?” That all changed when I became a mother and alone time became more sacred to me than money or chocolate.
So, on a recent solo visit to Newport News, I found myself swinging open the doors to Port Warwick’s Fin Seafood and requesting a table for one.
Fin is one of my favorites when it comes to fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients. Owner and Executive Chef Kenny Sloane combines contemporary flare with traditional French to showcase the outstanding quality and flavors of sustainable proteins and produce. Menu offerings aside, Fin holds a chic and effortlessly elegant atmosphere that’s clearly suited for seafood. Cool blue walls lead to a dining area splashed with tones of sea glass and white tablecloths set with fin-adorned silverware. Even the water glasses play along with the sea-centric focus. A clear, royal blue vessel perches atop a green base that strikingly resembles a fish tail.
And though the water here is just fine, I’d set my sights on a glass of rosé to truly relish the experience of my unaccompanied meal. Fin boasts a remarkable wine list with plenty of well-known varietals, but there’s also some unexpected offerings, like their lists of Interesting Wines as well as selections of premium sake.
As I bit into a piece of warm focaccia (made in-house) dipped in olive oil, provided gratis from my charming and knowledgeable server, I began to skim the lunch menu and discovered, much to my delight, that Fin offers two separate three-course lunch tasting menus, one priced at $20 and one at $30. Several options caught my attention on the first menu: the lobster bisque with sherry vinegar Old Bay whipped cream (first course) and the Salmon Gravlox Pizza (second course), but I was so intrigued by the description of the tuna tartare on the second menu that I couldn’t pass it up, and my server assured me that I’d made the right choice.
Upon return, he delivered a stunning black plate with raw yellowfin tuna neatly stacked in the center and topped with seaweed salad and a scoop of Sriracha ice cream (both made in-house). The dish was artfully garnished with delicate curves of spring roll crunch, as well as sesame oil powder sprinkled about. These flavors and textures melded for a combination that’s out of this world and a satisfyingly unique take on tuna tartare.
For my second course I opted for the pan-seared scallops over sesame risotto with wild mushrooms, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, house-made miso bacon and benne seed truffle demi. The scallops arrived perfectly seared, tender and sweet, which paired perfectly with the salty essence of the miso. Every now and then, a burst of truffle would present itself, making this dish stand out in a wonderful way.
Finally, I ended the experience with a rich, flourless chocolate torte accompanied by pumpkin sauce, hazelnut ice cream, candied bacon and fall spice espuma. I visited during autumn when pumpkin spice everything was prominent on most menus, and in my opinion, this takes the cake (or the torte) when it comes to presenting the best comfort flavors of cool weather, without being cliché.
Throughout the meal, I had a chance to do something I rarely get to do as a full-time working mother: sit back and watch the hustle and bustle happening in the kitchen through an open window, without lifting a finger except to pick up my fork or wine glass. The vibe here is sophisticated indeed, but I also found comfort in the moments of simply relaxing at my table, taking in the surroundings and savoring each bite. It’s certainly an ideal spot to bring colleagues for a memorable lunch meeting—but I also might find myself returning on a day when it’s most needed and happily requesting a table for one.
Fin Seafood is located at 3150 William Styron Square, Newport News. For meetings or events with larger groups, Fin offers the Portside Room, featuring its own private bar and restroom and state-of-the-art, electric, retractable screen. This room is available for groups of 20–40. Companies or representatives are encouraged to call 757-599-5800 for more information regarding bookings for meetings or presentations. FinSeafood.com