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.
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.
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
Stay tuned for a new Chef’s Table announcement, coming soon! You’re going to love it!
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 $$$ Hyper local and focused on seasonal ingredients and craft cocktails, Reid’s is definitely a favorite of mine and go-to if you want to really see those ingredients in play and truly promoted. They make it all in-house. I recently enjoyed brunch at Reid’s for the first time last month and it was stellar (they are not serving brunch this summer). It’s absolutely not your run of the mill shrimp & grits or duck at Reid’s. Be prepared for some creativity. Open Tuesday-Saturday lunch/dinner.
The Painted Fish Cafe 2941 Tynecastle Hwy, Banner Elk $$ 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’s140 Azalea Circle, SE, Banner Elk $$ Not the cheapest place in town for a pizza or plate of pasta, but Sorrento’s in the Village downtown has been around a long time and the pizza is very good. You might enjoy bringing your pup and sitting out on the patio, where you can enjoy live music from the amphitheatre. We usually just get pizza here but if pasta is what you’re craving, you’ll find all the classics plus a very tasty lasagna.
Bodega’s488 Main Street West, Banner Elk $$ 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!