Poor Billy’s


Seafood, sushi, steak and scrubs at personality-crisis level prices. 

Decor: confusing
Portions: large and in charge
Booze: lots ‘o wine and a couple kinda unique beers
Price: ludicrous 


Why is there a disco ball randomly hanging here? Better question: why isn't there a random disco ball hanging everywhere else?

Why is there a disco ball randomly hanging here? Better question: why isn’t there a random disco ball hanging everywhere else?

He said: Poor Billy’s is the most expensive place in town, though you’d never know it from the interior. Now don’t get me wrong, being the most expensive place in town isn’t a bad thing. I mean, somewhere’s gotta be. But you expect certain things from such places, and Poor Billy’s only delivers on a couple of them.

First of all, the decor is retarded. The space is extremely interesting and cool, but they somehow managed to fuck it up by trying to make the place more appealing to college kids. Fine dining should have spotless table cloths, decent light fixtures and some interesting art. Instead you’re greeted by unadorned tables, a ridiculous, cheap disco ball randomly hanging from the ceiling, tacky Hokie paraphernalia on the walls, and inexplicable feather boas surrounding the back bar. Also, part of the decor are the people patronizing an establishment, and paying $75 for a meal doesn’t usually come with a side of a tattered jeans scrub or a barely dressed whore.

(Although honestly, I’m not really complaining about the latter. Amiright?)

And yes, that is a pink feather boa wrapped around the serving window.

And yes, that is a pink feather boa wrapped around the serving window.

On the plus side, the drink menu is pretty decent. I’m no expert one rare wines, but the beer list has some tasty drafts that you won’t find anywhere else in town. As for nutrition in the form of solids, I think it stands to reason that the most expensive place in town should have the best food in town. And as far as I can tell, it does. I immensely enjoyed two golden brown leek/ricotta/lobster cakes with very garlicy sides of kale and baked potato. It was easily the best meal I’ve had thus far in Blacksburg.

But the price?

Poor Billy’s isn’t just the most expensive place in town, it’s the most expensive place in town by far. The cheapest thing on the menu that isn’t an app are $20 salads. I don’t know about you, but if I’m ordering $20 for a salad it’d better have at least a five dollar bill at the bottom of it. All of the other options are similarly overpriced. If even just half of their entrees (steaks aside) ranged in the $15 – $20 spectrum, I would probably be in there at least once a month. As it is, they’ll be lucky to get my business once per year as that’s about how long it takes for me to forget just how ridiculous it is.

Grade: B+

She Said: Holy-portion-size-Batman!

That’s what I said when our entrees showed up. But let me back up for a sec. Yes, Poor Billy’s is the most expensive joint in town, by A LOT. When you look at their menu of steak, seafood and sushi you go, “yeah, that looks great. I’m gonna put on my nice clothes and take a date/parents/visiting panda bear here.”


Holy heaping helping of salmon Batman!

Then you walk in the door.

The interior of Poor Billy’s is reminiscent of a spazzed out VT sorority girl’s back porch. It’s very Hokie, a little trashy, and sorta confusing. With the menu prices you expect something a little nicer, cleaner, and fewer red feather boas stapled to the walls. The minute sushi counter is right as you walk in. It has two different levels and is just plain WEIRD.

Back to the food.

I ordered a special which consisted of Salmon smothered in mushrooms, asparagus and mashed potatoes. The salmon was correctly cooked and the accompanying mushrooms were delicious. The mashed potatoes were great as was the asparagus, albeit verrrryyyyy garlicky. My food wasn’t overly unique but very well executed and that works for me.

However, it was f-ing huuuggeee. I would peg the salmon around 10 oz, more than half a bushel of asparagus and enough starch to effectively feed a hamster for the rest of its life. Great value for $25, but couldn’t they feed me a normal human-size meal and knock off a few bucks? I know we’re in the hills and this isn’t the epicurean center of the world, but DAMN. 2013-01-04_19-21-21_716

The booze list is very good. They have good beer on tap and interesting wines. Sadly, on our evening  there, they were out of every single white wine except for one. Boo. So to compensate they gave us more in our glasses. Yay.

Bottom line with PB is: good food, over-priced, but you’ll never leave hungry.

Grade: B+

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