On my bucket list has been Noble’s Grille. I’m a fan of Jimmy Noble. He’s a big reason Mr. foodie and I started patronizing LOCAL restaurants that serve LOCAL and regional ingredients. When you eat at one of his restaurants, you know where just about everything is coming from. The service is usually stellar and well, the food—amazing. Jimmy has since moved a lot of his business to Charlotte, but the Winston-Salem location remains. And leading the kitchen is the super-talented and recent Got To Be NC Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad Champion, Chef John Bobby. See his Fire in the Triad YouTube video here.
Some of you may know that I did all the tweeting and Facebooking for Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad battle nights. Those pictures of delicious courses? All me! It was a total blast. Of course being able to taste each and every course was fabulous. In the preliminaries, Chef Bobby had a decisive win and I pretty much said I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it all. He just has a way with food. Last week and for the next 3 weeks, Chef Bobby is showcasing all his winning courses from Fire in the Triad. Last week featured Battle Hilltop Farms Ostrich. And I wasn’t about to miss it.
We got right to it and ordered the seasonal featured salad with local blackberries and blueberries and chevre. It was beautiful. The berries were sweet, succulent and were a great complement to the earthy greens.
We ordered a Charcuterie plate to go along with it. We let the Chef make the selections for it. He chose for us the Speck, Lamb Sopressatta and Lonzino for meats and two cheeses, one was a gruyere and the other? I’ve no idea. But it was kind of like a Brie. And wonderful. The speck was my favorite. And it was accompanied with pickled veggies and an eye-popping, house-made black mustard (which wasn’t black…the seeds are black). You need just a smidge. It also had a sweet and light tomato jam.
Like I said, my reason for coming this particular week was because Chef Bobby was featuring his high-scoring, MIND BLOWING Ostrich from his winning first battle. Here’s the Battle Ostrich Menu.
I came for the second course. I ordered it before I ordered my wine. They kept the order “on hold” for me, lest they run out. This ostrich is incredible, but what made it shine in the battle and this evening was the toasted farro with ostrich sausage. I mean, I’m obsessed with this combination of flavors. The peppery filet, the creamy farro with those chunks of ground sausage, pomegranate gastrique with REAL pom seeds. Heaven on a plate. One of my favorites of the competition. If you haven’t had ostrich, you must try it. It’s very lean, very healthy. Hilltop’s Paul Wagoner feeds his ostrich the spent grains from Foothills Brewery. They serve Ostrich Burgers from birds fed from their own grain. It’s a beautiful circle of sustainability.
Isn’t it gorgeous??
Mr. foodie decided to get 2 more small plates instead of one entree. They were pretty big for something called “small.” He ordered the PEI Mussels and the Pork Belly. It was some of the best pork belly we’ve every tried. And the mussels and their broth were delicious.
You see those pork cracklins? I ordered a box of them. Yes, I did.
In between “courses” I peered inside the open kitchen to get a few pictures of Chef Bobby “chef-ing.”
If you’ll check out the menu above, you’ll notice dessert was a devil’s food cake that is served with strawberries. Chef Bobby’s wife, Lucia, was his pastry chef at Fire. She works at the Ritz Carton in Charlotte. He’s replicating the desserts she made (which scored HUGE points because they were AMAZING) on his own because he IS his pastry chef at Noble’s. Ostrich for dessert? You bet! Thinly sliced and cocoa dusted. I was too full to order it, but if you were brave it would’ve looked like this. (Photo courtesy of Competition Dining).
It’s not every day that you get to eat at the restaurant of a Champion Chef. But you can, anytime! They are sure proud of him at Noble’s Grille. They have the best representation of his
win on display in the foyer. The Red Chef’s Jacket! There aren’t many of these floating around NC.
I’m guessing that this week features Battle Chocolate. Next week will feature Cheese & Honey and in two weeks, the Championship battle: Bacon & Butt. And you will want to try them. AND save room for dessert for goodness sake!
Chef Bobby and the winners of Fire on the Rock, Fire in the Triangle, Fire on the Dock and Fire in the City (Charlotte) will battle it out for the title of BEST CHEF in NC in November. Best of luck, Chef John Bobby. We know you will do the Triad proud.