It was my birthday and my husband surprised me with a lovely dinner with fellow foodie friends at one of the places we’ve been meaning to go to. Several opportunities have come and gone and we couldn’t make our plans to eat at this newly renowned restaurant. Many say it’s one of, if not THE best in Winston-Salem and I just had to know if Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar lived up to the hype.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten at Bibs or driven up 5th Street and not realized that I just passed Spring House. It’s HUGE. And gorgeous. But don’t let this Manor-turned-restaurant’s formal exterior fool you. Although it looks “uppity” enough for a formal event, it is welcoming inside and filled with small parlors and rooms perfect for dining with friends or an intimate date. The library bar is gorgeous. I wish I had a shot of it. With its dark ceiling and comfy seating, it is a very relaxing place for a cocktail before dinner. The artisan cocktails are delicious. I had the Gin Sling (made with Pomegranate juice) and Mr. Foodie had an Old Fashioned. Beautiful drinks. My friend, Sarah, had the Lava Lamp. It turns colors :)
On to dinner, the chef sent us out a birthday treat of Portabella Mushroom and Leek Quesadilla (as featured in Bon Appetit Magazine…Chef must’ve read my mind). It was so delicious. Perfectly grilled tortillas wrapped around those sweet leeks and tender mushrooms with just enough fresh corn salsa and cilantro and corn to brighten it up. There was a lot of texture and it was a very satisfying snack.
There were many beautiful choices on the menu for appetizers. The table ordered the Beer Cheese with broccoli florets, potato wedges and crostini for dipping; the slow cooked duck confit with a Cheerwine Habanero BBQ glaze
(satisfying enough for a one person meal….don’t tell them I said so) and the Mussels that were featured with a smoked wine cream sauce. the table voted that the duck was the big winner, but all were outstanding.
For some reason, my dining companions thought it would be fun to try multiple courses, so there were a few salads and soups that came our way. If you get there before the menu changes over and you can score the Smoked Turkey Chowder, then you have to get it! It is amazing. A little spicy and plenty rich and meaty. A dreamy soup for a cold day. The pics also show a Waldorf-inspired salad with apples, pecan brittle and Camembert as well as a light and tasty side salad with vinaigrette. Another couple shared a bowl of sweet potato soup, which was sweet and zesty and reminded me of the inside of sweet potato casserole.
On to the main courses. There were only two more remaining of the special Seafood Risotto remaining so I had our server hold it for me. It was a treasure of succulent shrimp, scallops and Monkfish (known as the poor man’s lobster, but it is awesome). I loved that this saffron infused risotto was more seafood than rice which works better for my diet (!). It was served with creme, diced asparagus and garnished with caviar. I know it sounds fancy. It was quite comforting actually and I didn’t feel one bit guilty. Guilt came later. And only a little bit then for the birthday girl.
Mr. Foodie and Foodie Andy opted for the Slow Cooked Pork Shank with Red Rice and a pickled peach and habanero confiture adorning it. It was also comforting and felt like soul food.
The Foodies Sarah and Heather enjoyed a delicious Truffled Gnocchi with smoked tomato and garlic and laden with gorgeous veggies like asparagus, mushrooms, spinach and eggplant. And Foodie Sean ordered a wonderful Smoked Turkey Carbonara with a garden ratatouille and topped with rosemary breadcrumbs.
Isn’t it all just beautiful?? If the pics are blurry, I do apologize. You never know what you will get with mobile phone pics.
Now for the guilt. I should’ve stopped eating. Right then. But nope! Everyone voted for dessert and all the couples shared and then shared some more by letting us all try. What fun! That’s why I love to go with other foodies. More pics, more tastes, more to love.
In order here:
Bread pudding: Yummy. A little chocolatey and I was told by Heather that it was the best bread pudding she’s ever had.
Pic is a little dark, but the crumb on top and the moist inside was nothing short of heaven.
Next, the “Babysitter Cake.” I’ve no idea why it’s called that. It’s Spring House’s signature Chocolate cake simply served along side a Hibiscus Cherry Infused Sweet Cream. Just so simple and very rich and perfect for the chocolate lover.
And last but absolutely not least, Mr.Foodie and I shared what I’ll just call my birthday cake. A Pineapple Upside Down Grits Cake. Grits! YUMMM-AMAZING. I love love love pineapple upside down cake. This had a caramel apple popcorn crumble and was served with pumpkin ice cream, which went perfectly with it. It wasn’t too sweet, just perfection.
And then finally the chef complemented us with a glass of birthday bubbly! How nice. We did not get to meet the owner, Chef Tim Grandinetti, but Chef de Cuisine, Joseph came out to greet our table and give us a bit of history about the place (it used to be the Bahnson House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places)and tantalize our tastebuds for a future trip back as they are about to change their menu as it does every few months. Chef Tim is a chef after my own heart as he uses seasonal ingredients fresh from the farm and market.
Spring House is certainly a place where you can have meetings, private parties and even fancier soirees like receptions and rehearsal dinners but you will feel very comfortable just in smart casual attire (even jeans) and they even have a kids menu with kid faves like peanut butter and apples and even Cheetos-crusted chicken fingers. I’ll bring my non-foodie kids here. Maybe they’ll be converted. It was truly a marvelous dinner with good friends and good times and so comfortable. A great place to go on a date or with friends and it’s not stuffy at all. A good atmosphere and quiet, but not so that you can’t laugh and muck it up with your dinner party. I have to go back for a Wednesday $20.12 tasting, which includes several courses, plus every night they offer a full tasting menu experience for around $44. And if you want to go CRAZY, try a Whole Animal Snout to Tail tasting. I don’t know how much that is, but IT is for FOODIES (that means YOU). I’d say Spring House, Kitchen and Bar should be one of the next places you take yourself.
Check out their menu for all of their history and happenings, including Downtown Winston-Salem’s The Big Eat on Tuesdays during early 2013.
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
450 N. Spring Street, Winston-Salem, NC