Category Archives: Restaurants

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A Chef’s Table is Back! Meridian Restaurant w/ Mark Grohman

It’s been a loooooonnng 16 months since our last Chef’s Table. We had a great launch in 2020, but things went downhill fast after everything was shut down in March last year due to the pandemic. Staying open with takeout was one thing. Reopening to dine-in was another. From staffing issues to supply problems, we weren’t quite sure when we might be able to offer events again.

But one day, mr. foodie traveled for business in the beautiful city of Winston-Salem, stayed at the Brookstown Inn and walked over to his favorite, Meridian Restaurant, for dinner and cocktails and my Mark and Chef Mark resurrected the Chef’s Table.

Meridian Restaurant is located at 411 Marshall Street SW, in the beautiful Brookstown area of downtown Winston-Salem. To say Meridian is one of our top restaurants in the Triad is an understatement. From tapas to a delicious steak, excellent wine pairings and cocktails, Meridian has never disappointed. It’s modern, beautiful and elegant but unpretentious. You can have dinner in your jeans and still feel comfortable. And Chef Mark Grohman knows how to treat his guests.

Chef & owner of Meridan, Mark Grohman, always brings his best game.

Once the ticket sales for the Chef’s Table went live, it sold out in about six hours. In keeping with the spirit of distancing, we kept the event as close to 30 as we could. And on June 15, 36 happy faces greeted one another with hugs and excitement. This is meaningful because after 5 years of Chef’s Tables and it’s evolution over the years, many of our returning patrons have become friends with me and with each other! Each month, it’s like a reunion with veterans and newbies. It was so great to see everyone again. We are back!

Before I show you the courses, I’d like to invite you to take a listen to my podcast, “At The Table With Triadfoodies” on Triad Podcast Network on Apple and here on the web. I talked with Chef Mark about navigating the last 16 months, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, and what that was like as a business owner. What he had to say was really insightful from a business owner and employer’s perspective and I think you’d enjoy it.

Chef Mark wanted to simply give us a “Taste of Meridian,” five courses that represent the flavors of the restaurant. A little something different along with traditional fare we might be accustomed to seeing at this gleaming restaurant. Let’s take a look at the courses.

The menu

Course 1:
Tete de Porc with ruby port shallot marmalata & strong mustard

Course 2:
House made gnudi w/lemon cream & herbs 

Course 3
Seared yellow fin tuna with Shore Farms spring onion red pepper couscous & Gnomestead Hollow mushroom relish

Course 4
Steak au poivre garlic mashed potatoes fire roasted vegetables wild mushroom cognac sauce

Dessert course
Corsican style lemon cheesecake with caramel sauce

Beautiful Meridian Restaurant
Guests arriving and enjoying cocktails and fellowship

Stay tuned for a new Chef’s Table announcement, coming soon! You’re going to love it!

Restaurants We Love in Banner Elk

I often get asked for dining recommendations when people visit our hometown of Banner Elk, NC. For such a small little town, BE has quite the offerings. So much in fact that we often don’t feel the need to go outside the area to eat (but we still do, because duh). I am currently working on a post that is much more extensive of top spots to eat in the entire High Country, but for now, here’s a list of restaurants that rarely disappoint in Banner Elk, NC, where you can come relax and just BE. This list is in no particular order, but I did place the higher end restaurant on top. Also, don’t let the all over the place addresses fool you. All of these restaurants are in Banner Elk proper. There are some restaurants that are literally in the same complex and one address will say Linville and the other will say Sugar Mountain and don’t ask me why….we’re all just scratching our heads up here.

Artisanal Restaurant 1200 Dobbins Road, Banner Elk $$$$
Artisanal is one of a kind. The quality of the food, the service and the ambiance are simply extraordinary. You’ll enjoy a truly elevated chef curated experience with a menu that changes often. We have taken our children here (youngest is 12) and they’ll make a meal for them too if they’re picky (chicken tenders, buttered noodles). My older child loves the food here. All that to say, it’s best enjoyed as a date night or with adults. It’s business casual so be prepared to dress cute.

LP on Main 171 Main Street, E, Banner Elk (Lousiana Purchase) $$$
One of our absolute favorites and most visited for a date night, LP is in a new space in downtown BE and is just beautiful. The food and service never disappoint. I love the BBQ shrimp, but I also enjoy trying new items from the menu. The salmon, the burgers, the meat loaf, the lobster poutine! There’s a variety of price points to suit your budget and now that it’s the high season, LP is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.

LP on Main

Reid’s Cafe & Catering 4004 NC 105 Suite #8, Sugar Mountain $$$
Hyper local and focused on seasonal ingredients and craft cocktails, Reid’s is definitely a favorite of mine and go-to if you want to really see those ingredients in play and truly promoted. They make it all in-house. I recently enjoyed brunch at Reid’s for the first time last month and it was stellar (they are not serving brunch this summer). It’s absolutely not your run of the mill shrimp & grits or duck at Reid’s. Be prepared for some creativity. Open Tuesday-Saturday lunch/dinner.

Reid’s

The Painted Fish Cafe 2941 Tynecastle Hwy, Banner Elk $$
Another frequently visited restaurant facing beautiful Sugar Mountain, The Fish, as it’s affectionately known is a wildly popular for Sunday brunch and for changing up his menu. Very family-friendly, reservations are always still recommended this time of year. We love Fried Chicken Wednesdays and Fried Catfish Thursdays and you can count on a chef’s special all the other nights as well. Open Wed-Sunday.

Stonewall’s Restaurant 344 Shawneehaw Ave, Banner Elk $$$
For a great steak, you’ll find it at Stonewall’s, which has been locally owned for decades. If the Cowboy ribeye is on the menu, we recommend as it is suitable for sharing. Don’t miss the deviled eggs or the wedge salad while you’re here.

Luna Thai & Sushi 3990 NC 105, Linville $$
BE’s brand new itty bitty baby Thai/Vietnamese/Asian Fusion restaurant just a few doors down from Reid’s (notice the address is totally different). Stir fry, pho, Tom Kha, Curry dishes with noodles or rice and sushi. It’s all just delicious and we haven’t had a bad meal there yet.

Banner Elk Cafe 324 Shawneehaw Ave, S. Hwy 184, Banner Elk $
You might call BE Cafe the most popular spot in town and I wouldn’t argue. It’s a very large restaurant, dog-friendly patio, and generally where most people go for a quick easy bite. They offer two huge menus (one is the Lodge menu) and you can find sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta, burgers and entrees. I personally go for the burgers and the trout here. Mr. foodie loves their salads for lunch. They have a dessert case and a coffee shop too. Full disclosure: It ain’t always rainbows and fairy tales here. I’ve had some moments where I walked out disappointed, but for the price point and the vibe, I keep going back and the fact that they have live music is a big plus.

Sorrento’s 140 Azalea Circle, SE, Banner Elk $$
Not the cheapest place in town for a pizza or plate of pasta, but Sorrento’s in the Village downtown has been around a long time and the pizza is very good. You might enjoy bringing your pup and sitting out on the patio, where you can enjoy live music from the amphitheatre. We usually just get pizza here but if pasta is what you’re craving, you’ll find all the classics plus a very tasty lasagna.

Bodega’s 488 Main Street West, Banner Elk $$
We even have Cuban food in BE! Go to Bodega’s for their beautiful al fresco dining experience and load up on all the little tacos and black beans and be sure to get a Cuban too.

The Ham Shoppe 32 High Country Square, Banner Elk $
This iconic shop is now located in the heart of BE. All of the sandwiches are prepared fresh and you can even order bulk meats (call ahead to check availability) for a longer stay. I love to grab a few sandwiches and take them for a picnic. Annnnnnnnd…..if you see an entire apple pie in the case for sale, I’m going to suggest you go ahead and buy it because it is amazing.

BE. Scooped 144 Azalea Circle, SE Banner Elk $
After you visit the Village or hit Sorrento’s be sure to stop by BE Scooped for a fresh waffle cone filled with ice cream. It’s a sweet little ice cream shop with plenty of flavors and the service is excellent.

Dunn’s Deli 134 Main Street West, Banner Elk $
Another iconic sandwich shop in the heart of downtown BE, grab a warm or cold sandwich to go or BBQ. We love Dunn’s BLT’s and pastrami sandwiches. You can dine in or out.

So there you have it. I promise it’s not all of the restaurants in BE, but these are our tried and trues. Let me know if you try any of these restaurants and what you think. And if I’ve left anyone out that you think deserves attention, please comment below. Also, I’d be remiss to not tell you to give the Wilderness Alpine Roller Coaster a try for a fun family thrill. Come see us!

Mozzarella Fellas Menu is now 100% Plant-Based

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Photo: Lindley Battle Photography

That’s right…Mozzarella Fellas, the popular pizza/Italian restaurant with a heavy emphasis on vegetarian and vegan specialties has gone off the meat and dairy. Straight from pandemic to plant-based.

It might seem odd when your name has Mozzarella in it.

The Fella, Brian Ricciardi, has been vegan and gluten-free for years all the while making homemade mozzarella on the regular and piling sandwiches and salads high with Italian meats. And when Mozzarella Fellas was founded several years ago, there were several vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, from the mushroom “calamari” to Jack Fruit BBQ pizza and beyond burgers of late.  Little by little, Brian was making his way to completely plant-based. Last week, he made it official. He says the prospect was terrifying and he “wonders if he’s crazy.” Trust us when we say the vegan dishes at Mozzarella Fellas are every bit as good as any of the former meat and dairy based products.  And plenty of people are excited about it. Click here for the menu! 

Brian assured me last week that he still has mozzarella and pizza and all the great things, only now they’re plant-based. The mozzarella is dairy-free, the parmesan is from almond milk. Ceviche features hearts of palm and no seafood, nachos have jackfruit, which trust me, tastes exactly like pulled pork. Beyond meat is also strongly featured throughout.

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Photo: Lindley Battle Photography

Now that restaurants are phasing in, Mozzarella Fellas continues with its takeout and delivery menu and reservations are strongly recommended for dinner.

Mozzarella Fellas is located 336 Summit Square Blvd, Winston-Salem

 

 

 

 

Your Heart’s Desire For Valentine’s Day

A version of this blog post ran as an article in the Food & Drink section of YES! Weekly. Read this and my other food articles here. 

Taking your sweetie out for the most revered or dare I say, dreaded day of the year gets some extended love this year as Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday. So you know that means most restaurants are offering multiple days of multiple courses of all things date worthy. I’ve done some research and compiled a list of some notable spots to suit your fancy. 

Providence Restaurant, 5790 University Parkway, Winston-Salem

What’s not to love about Providence Restaurant and its mission of changing lives with Second Harvest and its Providence Culinary Training program.

Tuna Tartare, Roasted Beet Salad, a choice of a beef filet, pork osso bucco or snapper for your entree and a choice of dessert. At $80 per couple, it’s one of the best deals in town and a fine looking menu. You can view the menu and make your reservations at providencews.org/valentinesday

Vin 205 Wine Bar, 205 South Stratford Road, Winston-Salem

One of the hidden gems in Winston-Salem, Vin 205 will offer a three-course prefix menu all week leading up to a sold out Chef’s Table on Sunday, Feb. 16th. And don’t just consider the Valentine’s Day meal, Vin205 also offers Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10am-3pm. 336-765-8175

Spring House, Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar, 450 North Spring Street, Winston-Salem

For one of the sexiest spots in town, enjoy lighter fare in Spring House’s Library Bar. Pop in a couple of days earlier for their White Tiger Noodle Shop on Wednesdays this winter or enjoy the main house for a truly elegant experience with approachable food to match. A St. Valentine’s Day Love at First Bite and an early winter menu was just released. Call Spring House for info and to reserve for any of the above. 336-293-4797 springhousenc.com

Di Lisio’s Italian Restauarant, 301 Brookstown Avenue, Winston-Salem

That’s Amore! Italian is always a favorite for Valentine’s Day and DiLisio’s is one of the best spots to consider. You and your sweetheart are invited to a four course wine dinner especially curated by Tony and Maria DiLisio. This is a reservation only event and DiLisio’s will have two seatings available, 5:30 and 8:30. Price $75 per person. You must call to reserve your seat. 336-546-7202.

Undercurrent, 327 Battleground Ave, Greensboro

Always a go-to for a special occasion, once again Undercurrent Restaurant is offering special prix fixe four-course menu on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15. Price is $140 per couple and includes a bottle of wine. Visit undercurrent.com to view the menu and for reservations. 

Gia, Drink, Eat, Listen, New Garden Road, Greensboro

We’ve always thought Gia as a great place for a cozy date night. Chef Anders Benton says he is adding an aged steak for two, a shareable scallop dish, and heart shape dessert to their existing menu Feb. 14-16. Reservations always recommended. 336-907-7536

 

Sophie’s Cork & Ale, 23 West 2nd Avenue, Lexington

Getting a jump on things, Chef John Wilson is offering a 5-course (yes, five) wine dinner on Monday, Feb. 10 at 6pm. Cost is $80 per person. Call for reservations. 336-300-7338

Your Dinner Awaits

Literally. Perhaps you’d rather go a different route this year and let a personal chef come to you. Chef Angelica Dantzler offers a personalized experience in your own home and takes care of all the clean-up and customers say your kitchen will look better than before they arrived. Your Dinner Awaits. Find Angelica at Your Dinner Awaits on Facebook for information and to contact. 

Chef Dion Sprenkle is also offering a Valentine’s Day special with his Table ‘0 on February 14 from 6:30-9:30. Cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, multiple course dinner with wine pairings. Space is very limited so please call for your reservation, 336-343-9314.

Roselli’s To Go & Dessertery, 2190 Boone Trail Road, North Wtilkesboro

John Roselli will have your favorite Italian dishes or even pizza ready for you to take home but what he’s really loving this year is his heart-shaped Red Velvet Cheesecake. We suggest you call ahead for your order 336-818-4343.

Stay for awhile….

Butcher & Bull, 425 N. Cherry Street, Winston-Salem

The restaurant is featuring a Valentine’s Day menu in addition to their regular menu Thursday, Feb.13-Saturday, Feb.15. And if you want to make it a little mini-getaway, the restaurant, along with the Downtown Marriott, are offering a deluxe room package.  It includes:

-Deluxe Room

-Bottle Champagne & Chocolate Covered Strawberries upon arrival

-$100 Food & Beverage credit for Dinner in Butcher & Bull

-Breakfast for 2 the following morning 

$229 plus tax

(The package is available Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15)

You can reserve the room at Winston-Salem Marriott 336-725-3500. Dinner bookings can be made at Butcher & Bull 336-722-5232.

Have a sweet time with your sweetie, foodies! And comment below so our friends might learn where you love to go on Valentine’s Day. 

Sir Winston Restaurant & Wine Loft

It’s time you all tried Sir Winston!

Years passed as many walked by wondering what is going to become of the The Pepper Building, a 1928 art-deco landmark ,when several years ago, it was announced that the building had been sold and would become a boutique hotel and restaurant.

Indigo Hotels, owned by IHG, like to spring up in areas that provide their guests with a more local experience. As you walk into the hotel, you’re at once in the Sir Winston Restaurant & Wine Loft and immediately are immersed in a local experience. From the walls adorned by local artists, to Sunnyside Millwork’s handcrafted banquettes, tables, chairs, in fact all of the new woodwork in the restaurant, the focus on those local details are quite obvious.  The restaurant was at one time in the basement of the Pepper Building and the new Sir Winston is a nod to its predecessor of the 1960s and its inspirational namesake, Sir Winston Churchill. People who have eaten at Sir Winston in the 60’s, will see familiar quotes as well as light fixtures found in the sub-basement that have now been repurposed in the bar and dining room. The attention to detail is impeccable.

I mean it’s just lovely. Go upstairs in the loft and enjoy the view. I first enjoyed Sir Winston right after it opened on a date night with my 10-year-old.  Chef sent out a few things for us to try, a boiled egg appetizer, a flat bread with lamb meatballs. My seared scallop dish with pickled local melon was outstanding.  I knew David would kill it at at a Chef’s Table.

I spoke with him for my podcast, “At the Table with Triadfoodies” which you can hear here. 

David was hired to design the menu and lead the kitchen of the new Sir Winston, which opened in the spring. Swing, was born in Winston-Salem, grew up in Wilmington, gained his culinary skills in New York City and worked his way back to the City of Arts and Innovation several years ago. He says to build the menu, he had to go all the way back to the late 60’s. “I was given the original Sir Winston menu. I took some ideas from that, but I had to assure management that I would not implement that pricing structure,” David joked.

For context, prime rib back in the day was $2.25.  Sir Winston endeavors to take you back in time enough to appreciate classic details and flavors but bring you back to today’s modern techniques and flair and Swing’s influence of southern cuisine.

Chef took the popular items like seafood and prime rib and put his own spin on it. “Shrimp cocktail was very popular, so I came up with Sutler’s gin pickled-shrimp, which is on our small plates menu as well as on our NC trout dish.” David says they didn’t want to be a steakhouse but did want red meat options on the menu. “To play off the prime rib, all of our signature steaks come off the rib loin, which we break down in-house, including my personal favorite, the cap steak which is featured in the Bulldog’s cut.” He says this steak made the menu after he got his hands on Sir Winston Churchill’s personal cook’s cookbook. Between researching original menus and Churchill’s indulgences, writing and re-writing menus, Swing says he spent at least two months preparing for this gig.

Chef Swing introduced a few new ideas to the guests that will be featured on the upcoming fall menu, but the tasting courses were a great balance of the tastes of summer and a nod to the spiciness of fall.

Course One

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossom, Apricot Mango Chutney

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I love the delicate texture of a stuffed squash blossom that’s been flash fried and it seems like they were made for pimento cheese. This appetizer tasted like summer in the South.

Course Two
Texas Pete Dust Cinnamon Maple Smoked Pork Rind Encrusted Chicken Lollipop

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This beautiful chicken drummie was a conversation starter at most tables. The sauce was rich and robust and the pork rind crust added another crispy dimension. I could see this dish on a menu anywhere and it would be a fun lunch item. And Swing must think so too. “I’m playing with smoking Cornish hens and preparing them the say way, with bacon jam and the pork rind crust.”

Course Three
Seared Scallop, Pork Belly, Beet Purée. Pickled Watermelon

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Our very own version of surf and turf. I’ve enjoyed scallops, which are currently on the menu at Sir Winston, and the culinary team prepares them to perfection.

Course Four
Seared NC Grouper, Black Truffle Risotto, Raspberry Mole, Blood Orange Purée

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Sea dwellers…twice in one night? What a lovely treat. 

Course Five
Cheerwine Braised Boneless Short Rib, Chipotle Grits, Gremolata

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This course was the most comforting of the night. And Swing says there is a variation currently on the menu.

Course Six
Orange Ginger Cake, Wasabi Mousse

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Beautifully presented, the orange and ginger on this petite little cake were definitely reminiscent of the coming season. The mousse on top was definitely adventurous to say the least.

Sir Winston is a hotel restaurant but Swing says he appreciates the company’s approach to embracing the local story. “It does have this corporate backing, but the fact that it’s a chef-driven restaurant and that they said to me, ‘alright chef, here’s very little direction and the ball is in your court,’ was something that I’d been looking for a long time.”

 Sir Winston Restaurant & Wine Loft is located at 104 W. 4th Street, Winston-Salem.

sirwinstonrestaurant.com.