Author Archive

Williamsburg Steakhouse 101: To Sauce Or Not To Sauce

February 10, 2017Read More

Any Williamsburg Steakhouse will tell you, Fireside included, that great steak should not be anywhere near a sauce. In fact any williamsburg_steakhousesteakhouse will probably tell you that steak has the flavor marbled in, grilled in, and slow cooked in by chefs who specialize in steak. Many tourists and locals in Williamsburg Virginia would agree when they are searching for best steakhouse in Williamsburg on their Iphone or steak Williamsburg on their Ipads. When we think of steak, most imagine a deep aroma, not sauce.

Nevertheless Sauce Is In The Steakhouse Equation

Sauces do play a part in many people’s steak experience. For most their are 3 go to stalwarts you have probably heard of:

  • Ketchup
  • A1
  • Heinz 57

All have a distinct flavor which will quickly mask the flavor of any steak. Many of our patrons would not even think about sauce at our Richmond Road Dining Room, as we start with the best Prime Beef. But some just like that sauce flavor with their steak.

And when not at Firesihomemade_steak_saucede

Most Likely the quality of meat available in a grocery store isn’t as good as a steakhouse you find here on your visit to Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens,or just a night out of the kitchen. Thus a sauce might be a good quick additive to your burger or sirloin since you cannot cook it as slowly as a steakhouse oven.

Simple Sauces You Can Use

If you need a sauce here are some simple steak sauce ideas you can whip up easy for hamburgers, sirloins, or other grilling delights.

Everything near the kitchen sink

The First one is pulled from Real Simple magazine. It involves a mixture of ketchup, Worcester sauce, brown sugar, hot pepper, cider vinegar and mustard. It kind of takes the kitchen sink approach combining sauces you most likely have around the house.

Flammable 90 proof steak sauce

Martha Stewart has a sauce which combines three types of alcohol with butter or cream cheese

Balsamic Vinegar

The Food Network offers a recipe that uses balsamic vinger with ketchup, honey, worcester sauce and other ingredients to create a savory yet simple sauce

Link for the actual sauce recipes listed above

Tried and true steak sauces

You can always fall back on good old fashioned Worcester sauce or soy sauce as simple flavor agents. There are also scores of special sauces and recipes in the grocery store based upon other successful recipes

Great Steak With Or Without Sauce

I know what you are thinking, enough with the sauce talk..where in Williamsburg can I go steak sauce free with confidence. Funny you should ask. Fireside Chophouse will provide you with the sauces you want but the flavor of our meat does not require sauce, so unless you just like it, you can enjoy the taste of great steak.

The Best Steakhouse in Williamsburg, sauce optional

Come visit our steakhouse on Richmond road in Williamsburg, VA

Other Steakhouse Articles

Ultimate Williamsburg Steakhouse

Steak and temperature




Making The Ultimate Williamsburg Crabcake

February 3, 2017Read More

williamsburg crabcake restaurantMaking a crabcake in Williamsburg, or anywhere in Hampton Roads is an artform. I do not mean that figuratively or jokingly. As a local you learn quickly what is considered a real crab cake or an imposter. In Williamsburg, a crab cake is not a code word for a dish that is flavored to smell like crab or just taste LIKE crab. It is definitely not meant to represent a dish where small pieces of non lump meat are being placed in some goo like paste or filler. That is not a crab cake. That is a crab flavored patty.

Where Is The Crab?

It is ironic but the main ingredient missing from most crab cakes is…crab. By crab I mean lump meat crab. This is chunks of tender sweet crab meat that will be seasoned and pressed together to make a patty. As far as what crab to use I will say that traditional Maryland crab cakes come from blue or backfin crabs. If you can, try and use these. If not there are of course other varieties of crab. You may not have a choice. Just make sure it is REAL crab
Here is a quick rundown of crab cake preparation basics. This includes, the seasoning, the filler, and of course, cooking the crabcake.


By seasoning this can be anything that goes on the crispy brown outside of the crabcake to flavor boosters in the crab. The key is to not overseason. The taste of fresh Chesapeake Bay crab should be the dominate flavor coming through.


This is an ugly word. By filler I mean the bare minimum to hold those chunks of crabmeat together. Filler is not meant to dominate the crab cake.

Pan Fried or Broiled

Then the lump meat sensation is fried or broiled to give the outside a crispy taste.

crab_cake_restaurant_in_williamsburgCrab Pitfalls and Fails

This is the shame section of this article. These are all the ways good crabcakes go bad or how things that really aren’t crabcakes get passed off as authentic. I must warn you, the many violations of crabcakery are shocking, so read with caution.

Imitation crab meat

Please don’t ever use imitation crab meat. A crab cake depends on the taste and texture of authentic crab.

No Reverse Crab Caking

What is reverse “crabcaking”? This is when you create some other dish and dabble it with crabmeat. You then pass it off as a different type of crabcake. Not acceptable. To be a crabcake you have to have crab in a patty shape of some sort. Just my opinion. Whether you are visiting Williamsburg or not.

No Oversaucing

Old bay is a seasoning not a coverup for crummy cakes. Also too much sauce is an indicator that the crab cake isn’t flavorful enough. The point of a crab cake is crabbbbbbbbb!!!!.

Not Fresh

I shouldn’t even have to say this one but a real crab cake has got to be ultra fresh. Packaged frozen crab is going to taste flat compared to fresh prepared crustacean.

Filler Nightmare

I saved the worst one for last. I call this the filler nightmare. It is a crab cake that is 90% bread crumbs,parsley, and seasoning. It has a few bits of real crab in it but it is not the real thing. It is like a caricature of a crab cake.

Questionable Crab “Cake Creativity”

Look I have nothing against creativity. Especially when it is with food. But I am talking about a very specific dish here. Here are some of the things I have seen mixed into or on the crab cake which are going to hurt the flavor

  • Jalapenos
  • Corn
  • Runny egg
  • Fruit
  • Salsa
  • Red Chili
  • Lime Sauce

Now Let Us Get To The REAL Williamsburg Crab Cakes

Come enjoy real crab cakes at Fireside Chophouse. Even better, pair the crab cakes with our signature steaks for an incredible taste explosion.

Other Fresh Williamsburg Seafood

We also offer a number of other fresh seafood dishes like:

  • tuna
  • Salmon
  • shrimp
  • lobster

crab cake restaurant near busch gardensHere is the link to our menu

See you there


November 9, 2016Read More

The thrills of Howl O Scream Are Behind Us And Christmas Town has arrived at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Certainly a departure from the non stop screamathon of October, it makes up for thrills with seasonal charm.

Gigantic Light Display In Williamsburg

If you are going to do Christmas In Williamsburg you might as well go big…and I mean BIG! How does 8 million(yes million) Christmas Lights sound. This is what you can expect making it the hands down largest light display in North America. As much as I would hate to see the power bill, I can only imagine how it must dwarf all the animated light displays in city parks and gardens(which are still great).

Busch Gardens Signature Christmas Beverage

Being a foodie I feel it is essential to mention that Christmas Town has a signature beverage which sounds scrumptious. The beverage is peppermint fudge hot chocolate. And this is just the tip of the proverbial seasonal iceberg of out of this world food offerings. These include a plethora of dinner buffets and lots of ala carte goodies throughout the park. My only hope is that they will offer it year round, just maybe add ice in the summer…but one can only hope.

Holiday Buffets At Christmas Town In Williamsburg

It may be a little decadent but Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Christmas Town has not one,two,three but four incredible buffets. They are:

Lunch Buffet: Dine with Rudolph & Friends

This buffet just screams perfect for small children before naptime. Kid friendly foods and costumed characters will keep them entertained and in the Christmas spirit.

santa-christmastown-williamsburg-vaDinner Buffet: Santa’s Fireside Feast

If you have kids, who have not morphed into teenagers yet, this is for you. Enjoy a delicious buffet while hearing stories from none other than the man himself..Santa! This is one Christmas memory they will not forget.

Dinner Buffet: Tastes Of Christmas Town

At this reservation only Festhaus feast the dishes you will enjoy are:

  • carved turkey
  • roasted sirloin
  • chicken Alfredo
  • barbecue pork sliders
  • bratwurst
  • rotini and red sauce
  • yummy baked potato bar
  • mac & cheese
  • chicken nuggets
  • soups and sides
  • salad
  • bread
  • delectable
  • desserts
  • soda

And while you are dining enjoy the entertaining holiday music of Deck The Halls in the Festhaus

Dinner Buffet: Black Forest Christmas Buffet

If the Festhaus menu and Tastes of Christmas is not to your liking you can enjoy a buffet offering turkey, glazed ham, chili and more at this feast.

For more information about Christmastown follow this link

Williamsburg Halloween Thrills

October 19, 2016Read More

haunted_willliamsburg_virginiaScary Halloween In Williamsburg Virginia

Sometimes you just cannot get enough thrills on your Williamsburg Halloween visit. Regardless of your heart stopping visit to Howl O Scream, the chills running up your spine from the Ghost Tour on Duke of Gloucester street, you want to push the envelope. Well now you can.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is renting haunted rooms to allow you to experience real fear firsthand. With dozens of buildings from the time period, venture in for an unforgettable night in verified haunted edifices of a long gone era.

Some of the hauntings that have been witnessed in these buildings include:

  • Patrons claim to have seen a women in period costume in a rocking chair
  • Some have seen the ghostly visage of a soldier
  • Some have seen a women bathing(creepy and inappropriate)
  • Some have found their furniture upside down or mis-placed
  • Some feel cold spots…everywhere
  • Some smell weird things like pipe tobacco
  • Some hear baby cries, others the speech of children
  • Many hear voices

This is not for the faint of heart but hats off to the people brave enough to do this. You will need nerves of steel.

And that is just the ones people talked about. I have heard, in other areas, where people staying in haunted hotels ran out in the middle of the night screaming. Something tells me many of those stories do not get written down.

haunted_williamsburgI also don’t know the refund policy but I would assume there isn’t one since a lot of people will check out when they feel a gust of cold air and goose pimples all down their spine.

Here are some links to some real ghost stories in Williamsburg where the ghosts are said to still haunt us

This link will take you to a listing of the scariest true hauntings in Williamsburg. The history surrounding the hauntings run the gamut from adulterous intrigue to ghost children causing mischief.

Haunted Ghost love affair

jealous ghost in Williamsburg

More Williamsburg Hauntings

You can also add Colonial Williamsburg’s Halloween Scare Celebration to your Halloween weekend as well. CWF is hosting Curse of The Sea Witch, a fictional, or historically fictional, haunting by some newly departed pirates who “head” back to exact their post mortem justice on Williamsburg, Virginia and the Colonial society that executed them.

The unleashing occurs because the sea witches steals Blackbeard’s head and use their magic to unleash the ghostly crew.

I think, or something like that. Check the link for more information

for haunted Williamsburg home article references click here

How To Pick Busch Garden’s Scariest Roller Coaster

September 12, 2016Read More

the_griffon_first_dropWhat is the biggest thrill coaster of Busch Gardens Williamsburg.?For many this is a subjective question but I present you criteria to help you determine it. I don’t know what makes a coaster “the best”…


I mean there is the official statistical stuff like

1.Number of Drops

2.Degree of drops



5.G force


There are also the Busch Gardens Thrill Seeker Categories. I see these as coaster rider personality types. These are:


  • Scream Seeker
  • Coaster Boaster
  • Ground Hound
  • Big Gripper
  • Rush Ranger
  • Junior Looper

These are great. But these are the personality classifications of roller coaster riders. But what about some additional categories to measure these fantastically descriptive thrill classes. I am not knocking this but I want to add a few more categories. Yes–it is true I am not much of an roller coaster thrill junkie but I do have an imagination. So here we go…


Williamsburg Busch Gardens “Special” Coaster Categories


Scare factor

This is really a before the ride category. When you look at the coaster or hear the screams of patrons does it send a chill down your spine. Are the passerby guests watching looking pasty with fear. Do the people in the waiting line look a little distressed.


Scream worthy

How loud are the screams. You know all those rides that take your picture during the ride followed by your picture as you lead the ride. Well let us add one more. How about a display that shows how loud the screams were on the ride when you were on it. Or how about a sensor that turns red next to the passenger who is really letting it rip. Then we could really see how scream worthy a coaster is.


First drop anticipation anxiety

This is critical to the fear fun factor of a coaster. How dramatic is that clunky awkward slow pull to the top of the first drop. What causes the most anxiety.


First drop shock

Who has the biggest impact on the first drop. You know that feeling when you look down and see nothing but air. That moment when you think maybe this wasn’t such a good idea but it is too late as you drop to your doom.


Post ride weariness

No mystery here. One time I got off a roller coaster and my hair was sticking straight up as a I stumbled off. Probably a pretty intense ride.


2nd drop intensity

What. Yes this should be a category. How many coasters are you on that have a rip roaring terror laden first drop just to be followed by a wimpier 2nd drop. The second drop cannot be as scary as the first but it still should be terrifying. I think the Griffon has this on the second terror drop. You don’t mess with the Griffon.


Bathing suit option (water park)

This one might seem odd but what is scarier than being dropped while in a bathing suit. You just seem more vulnerable. Now I know this category can only work for a waterpark but I have to include it.

Official Thrill Coaster Testing In Williamsburg

We should also have official tests each spring to compare. I don’t mean some little customer service survey on what you thought. I mean forensic scientific data of things like


  • Most sound produced
  • Longest screams
  • Volume of screams
  • Highest body temperature
  • Most off equilibrium post ride

Coaster testers would have biometric equipment hooked up to them from the minute they see the road to the minute they walk off. We would then know the real truth of which coaster is truly most awful scary one at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.


The Mighty Griffon

Vanish point (water park terror ride)

Temperature Is Another Key To Making The Best Steak in Williamsburg, Virginia

August 23, 2016Read More

When Williamsburg Virginia locals or visitors want a great steak they know to look for a restaurant that specializes in Steak. Naturally Fireside Chophouse is at the top of the list. Cooking a steak is as much a culinary art as any other type of food or preparation style. If done right, it can produce a heavenly steak. You know what I mean by heavenly steak, one where the grill marks are perfect, the aroma starts to tease you when the plate hits the table and the taste is juicy and flavorful.

A question we often get, is how do you know if you have a great steak. I mean you may be at williamsburg_steak_restaurant_locationhome without the tools and techniques of a professional steakhouse. As I mentioned in a previous post, the cut of meat is the start. If you are not dealing with quality beef, it is a steep uphill climb to steakhouse quality.

After cut, a key thing to consider in making a great steak is to make sure it gets seared at high temperature. This just means using a high temperature to crisp the outside of the steak and lock in the juices. Heat is the wall that guards those juices and flavor. If these run off the incredible aromas and flavors go with it.

It is the first step. While there are differences on the best steak seasoning, the best wine pairing, I doubt you will see to many steak houses where the master chef does not say to sear the steak at high temperature.


How Hot Is “High Temperature”top_steak_in_williamsburg,_virginia


Attention Do not try this at home


You know that visceral image we all have of a grill flaming up or the fireball effect when someone opens up the grill top. Well the temperature of the commercial ovens makes that look like a match flicker. Unless you are going to purchase one of these for thousands of dollars, the incredible level of heat you need to sear a steak is out of reach. And it would be dangerous to try without proper training or the right equipment. Plus on a humorous note, where would you put it. It would take up your whole kitchen.

Some of these ovens reach in excess of 1800 degrees. Man that is hot. You do not want to attempt to get to that temperature without steakhouse equipment and resources like we have here in our Williamsburg location.


But Use These Techniques


When you see steak or steakhouse recipes, whether here in Williamsburg, or abroad, they are going to start with searing. The key is to use the temperatures associated with searing to lock in those natural steak juices. If the juices run out, all the aging and seasoning in the world won’t save it from becoming a dry tasteless hunk of meat. Because restaurant searing is not practical for the home user, many use the pan as their choice to do a less intense version of this. Another option is the sear burner.

The Sear Burner

Some grills have a sear burner which will allow you to sear the meat at high temperature. I have seen some use it directly on the grates this way. I have seen others use a pan on the burner.

Searing Steak In Action

Speaking of heat, I pulled a clip of TV Chef Gordon Ramsey searing a steak in the pan. It is a good starting point. If you disagree…you can argue with him, I’m not.


And don’t forgot our last key article about how to get the right cut of beef to enjoy the best steak

You can visit the article here

The Ultimate Williamsburg Steakhouse

June 3, 2016Read More

 family_steakhouse_williamsburgYour on vacation in Williamsburg and your looking for that incredible steakhouse to top off your day of non stop sights and sounds. After traveling through six countries at Busch Gardens or interacting with the living history at Colonial Williamsburg its time for a visit to a top notch steakhouse.

Making That Ultimate Steak in Williamsburg

As a top notch steakhouse (and purveyor of incredible prime rib) I have heard of many formulas to grill the juiciest, most delicious cut of meat possible. While I cannot ever give away the Fireside Steakhouse’s formula for an incredible piece of steak, I can show you some of the techniques of gourmet steakhouses.


Steakhouse Basics

Any great steakhouse, whether in Williamsburg Virginia, or in the greater United States, will tell you the basics of a great steak is the quality and cut of meat. Starting with best cut of the best beef is the foundation for that steak you cannot wait to bite into.  On top of that, the cut of beef, or specific portions of that meat, will give you the best steak in terms of taste.


The Best Beef

This steak needs no words. Sizzling and juicy with perfect grill marks, come visit us at Fireside Chophouse for the ultimate steak or prime rib. Come visit us in Williamsburg and make sure you eat light that day, your going to need the space.

Prime Time

The USDA has a grading system. The top 2% of all beef gets the label of prime. This is the most expensive and the most sought after.


Fat Marbling

Fat Marbling is generally not a good thing…except when it comes to steak. In this case its the standard by which all other wanna be steaks hope to attain. Great steaks that are considered prime have a generous amount of fat speckled through the meat. Without this, the flavor will be lacking.

Dry Aged

The heavily marbled beef must be dry aged for a number of days. The flavor and aroma that you know as a “great steak” depends on this process. If done properly, time is your friend with dry aged steak. It helps the steak become more tender.

The Best Cuts of Beef

Now take that dry aged marbled steak and get ready to pull out the best, most flavorful part. This is not to say that other parts cuts of beef are not good, these are just the best. The cuts of beef that fit this bill are:steak_in colonial_williamsburg

  • Filet Mignon
  • T Bone
  • Ribeye
  • Porterhouse
  • Tenderloin
  • Prime Rib

This is just step one

There is a lot more than just selecting the best grade and cut of beef. A great steak must be seasoned and cooked properly to ensure that it is mouth watering. Luckily Fireside Chophouse has that covered. We carry the best cuts of meat and are just waiting for you to come visit.

Check out our menu and come enjoy an incredible steak for yourself!! Says: Since 1975, The Fireside has been serving excellent beef!

March 27, 2016Read More

Since 1975, the Fireside has been serving excellent beef to locals in a setting that is a throwback to the real steakhouses of the past. The restaurant, decorated in dark colors, has well-dressed waiters who open heavy


Readers recommend: Virginia: Fireside Chophouse Bar & Grill

March 27, 2016Read More

The Fireside Chophouse Bar & Grill is a longtime Williamsburg, VA steakhouse offering American staples, amid dark woods and white tablecloths