Tag Archives: Tasting

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.

Get your tickets to our next Chef’s Table!

Hi, foodies! I wanted to let you know we have another Chef’s Table coming up in a little over two weeks. Get your tickets ASAP as they will go fast. As of this posting, we have 7 tickets remaining.  We’re headed back to Winston-Salem this time to one of my new favorite restaurants, Trade Street Diner.  Here’s the Eventbrite listing. Get tickets here. 

We’re back and so ready to spring into a colorful and vibrant season of Chef’s Tables featuring the area’s most talented chefs. This month, we’re so excited to be headed back to Winston-Salem where Chef’s Freddy Lee and John Tharp and their team at Trade Street Diner will tantalize our tastebuds with multiple courses.

Roasted Pork & Crispy Head

You know Chef Lee as chef at the renowned Bernardin’s at the Zevely House in the West End as well as his partnership at Cowboy Braziilian Steakhouse and Bleu.  Chef Tharp’s restaurant, Towne Centre Diner, in Wallburg, has been called a hidden treasure. If you’ve been to either of these restaurants, then you know the talent these two chefs possess. They’ve partnered up to bring us yet another wonderful eatery in downtown Winston-Salem.

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Trade Street Diner blazed on the scene in 2017 and Freddy and John have wowed their guests with their creative take on diner-inspired ingredients with a creative twist. And seriously, that truffled salmon with mushrooms pictured above is the BEST salmon I’ve ever eaten. Read about our experience at Trade Street Diner in my review for YES! Weekly.  We can’t wait for your to try what Freddy, John and their culinary team have planned. What’s on the menu? Well, that’s half the fun. We let the chefs surprise us.! What’s never a surprise is how much each Chef’s Table guest is delighted with the food and atmosphere as we fellowship together.

Here’s how it works:

Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Tuesday, April 24 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 extremely limited.

We’ll see you on April 24!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @tradestreetdiner 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.

 

Bubbly and Brunch at Vin 205

Back in September when we enjoyed a wonderful Chef’s Table with Chef Oren Feuerberg at Vin 205 Farm to Table Bistro, owner Caleb Flint said he wanted to do it again, but this time to show off Chef’s skills at brunch.

Twist. My. Arm.

We decided to kick off the new year with a Bubbles and Brunch a couple of weeks back.  And man, was it delicious. But I expected it to be. The food at Vin 205 is superb and Caleb Flint really knows how to make his guests feel special. And our Chef’s Tables are just filled with foodies and fellowship and we just have the best time. You should join us for one soon!

You’re met at Vin205 with the Wine Merchants shop. I’m not sure what’s more difficult, trying to refrain yourself from being drawn in by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen because you came to do a little shopping, or not taking a seat immediately because you’re interested in the market. Hopefully you make time for both.

Caleb continues to add more and more to the wine market and now shoppers not only can find wines from boutique vineyards from our local region and all over the globe, but also a plentiful selection of Joyce Farms meats and regional cheeses, chocolates and gourmet items.

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Chef Oren Feuerberg and Owner Caleb Flint, Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Bistro

Vin205 is certainly gaining ground during the week with dinner featuring live music and wine events. But what Executive Chef Oren and Caleb are endeavoring to highlight is their Sunday brunch. The chef-driven menu changes often with special spins on traditional favorites. And Caleb brought in some of his favorite local purveyors to give them special recognition during our four courses. Batistini Farms, Camino Bakery and Magic Beans Coffee were all special guests at the table and on the palate.

Course 1

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Duo of Mini Quiche (Potato & Bacon; Spinach & Mushroom paired with Vin 205 House Salad tossed in Raspberry Vinaigrette with Batistini Farms Vanishing Grape Balsamic, goat cheese

I’d like to think I get out enough but I can’t think of a single quiche I’ve had that has potato AND bacon and to me that just seems like a delicious no-brainer. And I’ve also never had spinach WITH mushroom in a quiche. And of the tasty tasty two, the spinach and mushroom was my favorite. Batistini’s Vanishing Grape is a new favorite of ours and was recently featured in our holiday gift guide. See it here. It’s so worth the purchase as it adds incredible flavor to salads and cheeses. Tom Sephton, imports and bottles the balsamic and oils in Clemmons. “We have basic olive oil and flavored olive oils as well as aged balsamic. All of the oils we bottle are very, very fresh and the harvest date for all oils is right there on the bottle.”

Course 2

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Truffled Scrambled Eggs with Camino Brioche Toast

Here we are, days later, and I’m still thinking about those light and fluffy eggs that had been scrambled in truffle oil and topped with truffle shavings…and that bread which Chef and his team griddled so perfectly.

Emily Masters, of Camino Bakery, told the group that the brioche is one of the most popular offerings at Camino. “It’s baked fresh every day, like all our other baked goods. It’s fluffy, buttery with flour from King Arthur Flour, milled in Graham, and milk from Homeland Creamery in Julian.” 

Course 3

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Brown Butter Poached Shrimp & Pimento Cheese Grits

A twist on a traditional brunch favorite and charmingly served in a glass jar. The grits were cheesy perfection.  Our guest, Chris Roth, then praised the chef as the best shrimp and grits he’d ever had.

Course 4

House made Raspberry & Blueberry Muffins with Coffee Service by Magic Beans Coffee

The muffins were lightly sweet and fluffy with whole berries throughout and a great little sweet ending to our brunch. Our “dessert” was paired with Magic Beans air-roasted coffee served two ways. The first tasting was with Magic Beans Essence, a concentrated coffee extract that is added to hot water or other liquids. The second tasting was Wine Merchants and Vin 205’s exclusive Magic Beans blend in the French press. Owners Neal and Mary Pruett served each guest . Neal Pruett told us, “Air roasted coffee is so smooth. One of our mottos is that you can ‘drink ours black’.”

Caleb told the group, “Folks who know me know I’m a rather enthusiastic coffee drinker and we just love how unique and special Magic Beans is.” Not only does Wine Merchants serve the blend, but the beans are sold in bulk as well as the Essence.

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Mary and Neal Pruett, Magic Beans LLC

Though guests at Chef’s Table are usually responsible for purchasing their own beverages, which makes it unlike a wine dinner, what we love about Caleb Flint is that he takes advantage of owning a wine shop and offers everyone a taste of what the shop has to offer. Each of the 27 guests were allowed to share bottles of bubbly rose on the tables. And each setting was made even more charming by the varying coffee mugs at each place. Those attention to details is what keeps me coming back to Vin 205 and what will bring us back there again, possibly in the summer, for another Chef’s Table to let Chef Oren surprise us, yet again.

Wanna go? Vin 205 is located at 205 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem. Open for dinner Tuesday  through Thursday 4-9:30pm; Friday Lunch and Dinner 11:30am to 9:30pm, Saturday Brunch 10am-3pm; Saturday Dinner 5-9:30pm, Sunday Brunch 10:00-3:00. Wine Merchants is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 10am-3pm. vin205.com

PS: Foodies, our next Chef’s Table at B. Christopher’s sold out in 24 hours. We are so thrilled you are supporting our local chefs. We’ll announce a new Chef’s Table soon!  Where would you like to see us?

Our next Chef’s Table: B. Christopher’s Steakhouse on Feb. 19

I had to update this before it went out on its scheduled post. Less than ten tickets left!

We’re so thrilled that our February Chef’s Table features Chris Russell, a chef that has been an inspiration to so many, not to mention so incredibly talented. This venue has definitely been on our “must haves.”  Click here to get your ticket! 

B. Christopher’s Steakhouse has been a hit in Downtown Greensboro since moving from Burlington a few years ago. Such a gain! We love the cozy feel of his restaurant and oh my, the steak is perfection. In additon to being a successful chef and restauranteur, Chef been a mentor to other chefs who now have successful restaurants themselves, like our beloved Chef Kristina Fuller of Crafted.

Let’s let Chef Chris surprise us with multiple courses.  He’s excited about seeing you! Please join us on Monday, February 19.

Here’s how it works:
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, February 19. Please note our start time of 7:00 (a bit earlier than our last dinner). 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 is limited.

We’ll see you on February 19!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @BChristophers 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.

Announcing our next Triadfoodies Chef’s Table at Sophie’s Cork & Ale

Foodies, we are so excited to announce that our next Triadfoodies Chef’s Table is in sweet uptown Lexington at Sophie’s Cork & Ale where we’ll let Chef John Wilson surprise us with  multiple courses. It’s all happening on Monday, November 13.

Have you been to Lexington lately? The food scene there is really on the grow.

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One needs only to look at Chef John’s food photos to know that he loves to work with color, texture and local goodness.  We’re so excited to showcase his talents with multiple tastings at Sophie’s.  His wine dinners always look amazing.

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Sophie’s Cork & Ale is a wine bar that offers small plates, sandwiches and entrees. It’s completely charming and inviting. We know you’ll love it as much as we do.

Here’s how it works: Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, November 13. .A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 INCLUDES your multi-course meal including dessert 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.

Come a little early to enjoy drinks or do a little shopping at Sophie’s.

We’ll see you on November 13!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @sophiescorkandale 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.