Tag Archives: Tasting

A Chef’s Table with Adam Barnett and The Katharine Brasserie

A version of this story can also be seen at YES! Weekly.

After 18 months in full-blown get-to-know-you mode, Chef Adam Barnett is feeling very much part of the culinary scene in Winston-Salem.

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Barnett, who was hired in July 2017 as Executive Chef at the relatively new The Katharine Brasserie and Bar, which was the location of the first Chef’s Table of 2019 on January 8th. The event sold out in less than eight hours and then Barnett agreed to add another 15 seats for a total of 45. Those additional seats sold out in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say, people are interested in what Barnett is doing. Many of the attendees of Chef’s Table, which was held on January 8, had never been to The Katharine and they were ready for what he was cooking up.

Named for Katharine B. Reynolds, The Katharine has been written about by me and others a number of times, from media events and regarding seasonal menu changes or new additions, so if you’re a regular reader of YES! Weekly or Triadfoodies, you know I’ve walked away impressed with the food and service more than once.  And just about every time I’ve dined at the brasserie, we’ve enjoyed some of the best wine pairings I’ve ever experienced.

I got to know Barnett a bit better when he was a guest of my podcast, “At The Table with Triadfoodies.” Barnett grew up as a regular kid in Columbus, Ohio and enjoyed summers with his mother’s family in Nova Scotia, which he attributes to his sense of wanderlust. After deciding that academia was not for him, he took a more “hands-on approach” in construction. And you know how winter is in the construction field. “I needed some winter hours and I started working in a restaurant,” he says. “I had one chef take some interest in me, then I got shuttled along to another restaurant and then I hit the road.” Barnett has had stints in Aspen, Colorado; Toronto, Ontario; Vermont, Big Sur, and Los Angeles, California; and most recently Washington D.C. “I spent eight years in the school of hard knocks, real world training and eventually landed in the advanced placement program at the New England Culinary Institute.”  Afterward, it was in California that he honed his skills in modern French techniques, which serves him well at the Katharine, a French-Inspired brasserie, but Barnett says they don’t want to be too dogmatic about it.

“I’ve worked with some very, very good classically French chefs and that’s always been the underpinning of what I do,” he says. “But like everything else, cuisine evolves. You sit back and take a look at who inspires you or you look at re-discoveries of ethnicities and I try to incorporate that into what we’re doing here.” While we may think of French cuisines as heavy with butter and cream and bread, Barnett feels that France’s influence in its former colonies in places like the Mediterranean allows him to offer a more relatable, global approach and the menu of the Chef’s Table was a reflection of that.

Course One
Apple Rutabaga Soup garnished with Parsley Oil.

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Course Two
Arugula and Shaved Fennel Salad, Parsnip Crisps Preserved Lemon Dressing

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Course Three

Seared Diver Scallops, served with a Ginger – Carrot Emulsion, Batonet Beets and Radish Sprouts.

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Course Four (Meat Course)

Grilled Painted Hills Flat Iron Steak, Caramelized King Trumpet Mushroom, Foie Gras and Madiera Sauce.

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 Cheese Course
Thomasville Tomme (from Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville GA), Campo d Montalban (a blended Cow, Goat, and Sheepsmilk Cheese from Spain), Honey-Walnut Spread, House-made Ginger-Apple Butter, Herb Salad

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Okay okay…so you’re wondering where is dessert…heh heh…funny story.  I actually really enjoyed the cheese course, after all it IS a French-themed restaurant. But there’s the story of a pastry chef and rice pudding gone awry. We’ll leave it at that. 

Barnett took some time to get to know the space and cultivate an air of good community with the culinary team itself. The Kimpton hired new management, a new sommelier and he says now The Katharine is better than it has ever been. “I feel so tremendously honored to work with this group, from our back of house to our management and our sommelier. They’re a big part of the engine. It’s never a one person show.”

Barnett says he’s enjoyed the community and has felt the embrace and he can’t imagine doing anything different.  He says, “I love the visible, tangible marker of a day well spent. And that’s one of the great things about working with food.  You get raw ingredients in, you apply technique, you hand it over to someone and you get to see the satisfaction. There’s a profound sense of enjoyment from that.”

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By the way, this wasn’t served at our Chef’s Table but if my favorite dish at The Katharine is this Beef Tartare. It’s divine.

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Wanna go? The Katharine Brasserie & Bar is located at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem. katharinebrasserie.com 

Don’t Miss Our Chef’s Table at The Painted Fish!

So many people asking when we’re going to do a Chef’s Table up here in the mountains!

Well now that summer and the leaves are behind us…we’re diving in! We hope this is the first of many.

We’re back for deliciousness on the Rock! We’re headed to beautiful Banner Elk to spread some holiday foodie cheer at the one and only The Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar, where we’ll let the renowned Chef Tom Jankovich surprise us with multiple courses. The cafe is typically closed on Monday nights, so Chef is opening it up to us for a private event.  This night of tastiness is sure to send you off into the final week before Christmas with a happy heart and belly.

 

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I’m telling you. I’ve had some major yummy meals at The Painted Fish. Like Tom’s special seafood cakes.  And the blueberry goat cheese pie!

 

 

The Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar is known for its unique twist on recognizable dishes with locally sourced ingredients. See why so many of us “mountain folk” travel across the hills and valleys to dine and enjoy Chef Tom’s cuisine in his upscale yet relaxed restaurant. He’s always there manning the kitchen and bringing colorful dishes to tempt your eyes and taste buds.  And the slopes are now snow covered, so you’ll enjoy a wonderful view at the foot of beautiful Sugar Mountain Ski Resort.

Are you knew to our Chef’s Table events? It’s like a wonderful supper club. Join us here at one of our preliminary mountain events…and see why our Chef’s Table events down the mountain have become so well regarded for the past two years.

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Here’s how it works:
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, December 17 at 6:30pm. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $45 INCLUDES your multi-course dinner as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service. We have the whole restaurant to ourselves, however seating will be limited. We’ll see you on December 17th!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @PaintedFishCafe and #triadfoodiesChefsTable on Facebook and Instagram. Please notify me at Kristi@triadfoodies.com if you have any food sensitivity or if the chef needs to be aware of any concerns.

Seating will be limited.  Get tickets here!

Join us at Roots Restaurant for our next Chef’s Table!

Innovative. Perfection. Worth the drive. Fabulous.
 
Those are just a few of the words that foodies fortunate enough to dine at Roots have said about this brand new restaurant located at Sanders Ridge Winery. Just a few months ago, Chefs Ben Hurst and Brent Andruzzi opened Roots to rave reviews. They both honed  many of their skills at River Birch Lodge and most recently, Brent at the incredibly popular Willow’s Bistro. We are so excited that we’ll be letting these chefs surprise us with multiple dishes on Friday (you read that right), August 3 at 7:00pm. Get tickets here! 
 
Roots and its home, Sander’s Ridge Winery, are located just a short drive from Winston-Salem in Yadkin County. It’s a true farm-to-table experience here. Enjoy the summer drive into the Yadkin Valley Wine Country, drive into organic farm and admire the rows of grapes in the vineyard before stepping into the stunning, yet cozy timber frame restaurant that is Roots. These young, talented chefs promise five courses of farm fresh ingredients. Brent and Ben are both known for their passion for quality ingredients, color, vibrancy and celebrating the bouty of the season.
 
We certainly hope that our visit at Roots Restaurant offers you an appreciation of our beautiful growing wine region and the absolutely wonderful produce and wine coming from Sanders Ridge’s Winery and organic farm.
 
Here’s how it works:
 
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Friday, August 3 at 7:00. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 INCLUDES your multi-course dinner as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. The winery will be open for tasting and wine purchases. Please take care of your server or wine attendant on any beverage service. Seating will be limited.
 
We’ll see you on August 3!
 
**Please inform me as soon as possible of any food restrictions you may have. While the chefs promise to do their best, not all food concerns can be accommodated.
Foodies,
You know I’m from Yadkin County. And it wasn’t wine country when I grew up there. But it’s so beautiful and deserves your love. Just like this restaurant! Please share with your friends, bring them out for a lovely evening and support local food and wine!

Join us at our next Chef’s Table!

Hi, foodies….

I’d say get ready for some wonderful back to back posts about all things food…since my children are spending a few days at their grandmother’s but man…the weather has been so nice that I’ve just been enjoying these beautiful NC mountains and just allowing myself to be.

But I can’t be just chilling and eating and doing laundry so I’m going to get a few posts out …one of the most important is to let you know that we literally have only 11 tickets left to our next Chef’s Table. We’re back at Meridian Restaurant to let Chef Mark Grohman surprise us! I was asked over and over if we’re going back and I’m thrilled to make it happen.

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Here’s a link!  And the deets….

By popular request, the foodies AND YOU are headed back to one of the most fabulous restaurants in Winston-Salem. We’re so happy that Chef Mark Grohman is on board for yet another triadfoodies Chef’s Table at his amazing Meridian Restaurant.

Chef Mark’s passion for local ingredients is second to none. And his mantra is: “If I’m able to make it myself, I always will.” Meaning he makes his sausage, his pasta, his desserts…. His restaurant, while being upscale, is inviting and vibrant with a bird’s eye view of the culianary wonders taking place in the kitchen, plus a lovely view of the Brookstown area of Winston-Salem. Chef will be preparing multiple courses of surprises and flavor combinations that you will talk about for months. How do we know? Because we always talk about his dishes, ages later and 15 months after our first Chef’s Table with Mark, the chatter is still going strong. You’d have to see social media for proof!

Here’s how it works:

Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 INCLUDES your multi-course dinner as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service. Seating will be limited.

Food restrictions? Let me know ahead of time and I’ll pass it along to the chef.

We’ll see you on June 26!

 

A look back at our Chef’s Table at Trade Street Diner

You can find this article in my column in YES! Weekly here.

The little eatery might be called diner, but it’s a far cry from what you might envision. Trade Street Diner was the venue for the latest Chef’s Table. It’s always fun when the owner picks a “slow night” for the event. And then the place gets packed with us and walk-in patrons who then got into the fun a little as plates of surprise courses whirled by.

Trade Street Diner opened last fall in Sweet Potatoes former residence at 529 North Trade Street by two well-respected chefs and businessmen, John Tharp and Freddy Lee. Click here to see my review right after they opened. Lee has been in the restaurant industry for years and opened the beloved Bernardin’s with his brother in the 90’s and since then a second Bernardin’s location in Charlotte, Bleu Restaurant and Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse. Tharp was chef at Bleu for ten years after relocating from New York. After a number of years working together, they partnered up to buy Town Centre Diner in Wallburg and last year decided to go a little higher end when the space in the Arts District came along.  Tharp says both are diners, but the word diner is about all they share in common. “It’s a modern take on a diner. We give people a little more than what they expect. Town Centre is a family concept, breakfast, lunch and dinner. More homestyle choices and priced accordingly, with meat and two or three. Whereas, Trade Street is a little more eclectic and higher end but simplistic in its approach.” Tharp says they took the concept and inspiration from Poole’s Diner in Raleigh. “We felt like Winston-Salem needed something like that. Something very approachable with mid-range prices. You can came two or three times a week, have a glass of wine, have a salad or mac & cheese, or share an appetizer, hang with friends or have a nice date.” 

What the diners experienced at Trade Street Diner was something of a departure from the regular menu.  This fully showed how Chef John Tharp was intent on celebrating the flavors of the season but also demonstrated his creative side. Anyone who’s attended a Chef’s Table knows that there’s never a menu ahead of time (and often none at all, which is encouraged) and the guests are sort of at the chef’s whim. It does no good to “cheat” and check out the restaurant’s online menu. You may or may not see that item in front of you at the tasting. And so it was last week, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see these dishes in some form when you choose to visit this inviting diner.

Amuse Bouche

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We love getting a little palate teaser before the rest of the courses rolled out. This Asian inspired  had a nice little kick of wasabi oil, enough that our table mate, Melissa, felt the need to alert us. But the wasabi walloped us a bit in the very best way.

Course 1

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Ceviche

A selection of fresh fish sautéed scallops. It was a beauty. Fresh seafood lovers, this dish is for you.

Course 2

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House-made goat cheese ravioli with pea puree and tomato fondue

This light little ravioli was a true hit at my table. Tharp is a big believer in making his own pasta and though it’s not on the menu very often at the diner, the flavors of spring in this little dish made us wish we could go back for some more. Plus the look of it just said “spring.”

Course 3

Course 3

Seared Scallops with Crispy Potatoes

The course is pretty self-explanatory with seared scallops and potatoes with a bit of mushrooms. The creamy sauce was a perfect consistency and added a lovely richness and coziness to the seafood component. 

Course 4

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Filet with Red Pepper Sauce and Parsnip Puree

The filet lets you catch a glimpse of the steak you might order at Trade Street on any given night. The red pepper sauce was bright and flavorful and added a bright pop of color.

Dessert Course

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Triple Berry Cake with Dark Chocolate Mousse

If the mousse is ever on the menu at Trade Street Diner, we suggest you order it. It’s perfectly creamy and rich and this dessert paired ever so perfectly with the diner’s freshly brewed coffee.

Tharp has been in the restaurant industry since he was 14 years old, working his way up from bussing tables and ultimately went to culinary school at Johnston & Wales.  “I’ve never wanted to do anything else, “ he says. After working in Charleston, Tharp decided to broaden his view of restaurants and moved to New York, where he was a sous chef at Tribeca Grill. “It really opened my mind because every plate had to be correct. There’s no room for error, which is typical of New York.” Tharp says laid the groundwork for his focus today. “We have to make sure it’s the best at all times. We try for every dish to be as perfect as it can be.”

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The menu at Trade Street Diner is set up to change often. Tharp says, “We want the menu to be special enough that the customer keeps coming back. It’s great concept to live by because it keeps me and it keeps the kitchen pushing to be better.” He adds, “We want to elevate the common food like a hushpuppy, and that reinforces what we’re really trying to do here. We want our guest to think, ‘Wow, what’s coming next because this is exceeding our expectations.’”

After speaking with Tharp, it’s clear this chef has some very interesting ideas for the dining scene in Winston-Salem. He’s also has goals to travel more to add breadth to his culinary skills.  I really truly wish I could tell you some of his ideas but we need to keep it mum. Just follow along for the fun ride here at this foodie channel. 

“Some chefs are fortunate to travel to Asia and Europe to learn about spices and concepts and that’s something I’d like to do in the next five years or so, to travel often and learn about cultures and the food and put my own interpretation on it. Food is food the world around typically it’s all been thought of. So new flavor combinations or ways to invoke a memory are what makes a restaurant different.”

May marks the two-year anniversary of Chef’s Table. What started out as small group of local food lovers gathering together for an evening of surprise plates has continued with larger gatherings, new friendships and sell-out foodie events where we get to learn more about that chef and be surprised by what he or she is working on. Cheers to supporting our area chefs and restaurants and the local goodness they embrace. And we JUST announced our next Chef’s Table..as we head back to Meridian Restaurant, where we visited March 2017. So many people wanted to go back, how could we say no?  Get tix here! 

To hear my podcast featuring Chef John Tharp, listen to “At the Table with Triadfoodies” on the Triad Podcast Network. triadpodcast.com

Wanna go? Trade Street Diner is located at 529 North Trade Street, Winston-Salem. tradestreetdinerws.com  Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday, Brunch and dinner on Sunday.