“This, this, this and this. That and that, plus some of this, and maybe this and most certainly that and that,” is probably how the collective Wilmington foodie mind is thinking this Restaurant Week.
Running through March 28, Encore magazine’s Restaurant Week is the time to sample some of the Port City’s best dishes at unbelievably low prices.
So what are the must-haves among the many?
For sure, Mixto chef Trinity’s Hunt’s crispy barbecue pork spare ribs, bone-clinging but tender and just spicy enough.
Hunt also impresses with his knack for layering textures and flavors, which is bound to shine in his “crisp fried” Banks Channel flounder with roasted red pepper stone-ground polenta, organic spinach and spicy roasted poblano vinaigrette, all dusted with queso fresco.
Mixto offers three courses for $25, as does The Eat Spot, where some of Wilmington‘s best refried black beans land with house-smoked pulled pork, pico de gallo, jalapenos and sour cream on white corn tortilla chips for nachos.
The Eat Spot chef Jason Godwin also features his signature SBLT & Grits: grilled shrimp on a toasted Kaiser bun along with applewood bacon, lettuce and roasted tomato dressing. The sandwich is served with cheddar cheese “grits.” The cooked grits are cooled, cut into sticks and deep-fried to resemble French fries.
On his $35, three-course Restaurant Week special, Godwin offers pan-seared duck breast over a ragout of mushrooms, caramelized onions & spinach with mustard-herb sauce.
End with Godwin’s sweet potato bread pudding, light and fluffy thanks to it’s biscuity base.
Spinaci con prosciutto at Caffe Phoenix.
Caffe Phoenix’s bread pudding is featured on its $15, three-course lunch menu, as is the restaurant’s famous spinaci con prosciutto pasta dish.
Chef Carson Jewell is back in the Phoenix kitchen, good news especially for flounder lovers. He pairs the buttermilk-battered, fried fish with hoppin’ john to which Jewell adds braised collards.
I always think of Caprice Bistro as the Restaurant Week big dog. Its $25, three-course menu is mind-boggling in its authentic bistro array and abundance. What’s more surprising is that French chef Thierry Moity and his wife, Patricia, offer a $25, three-course, prix fixe menu every night at Caprice Bistro, so no worries if you miss Restaurant Week.
Chef’s food is among Wilmington’s most reliable, but especially noteworthy are pork cheeks; Waterzooi, a seafood stew in herb cream sauce, and housemade macarons.
Crab and lobster cakes have been on Aubriana’s menu since the restaurant opened in fall 2008. The enduring dish is among offerings on the shop’s $30, three-course list. The pan-seared cake made with jumbo lump crab meat and cold water lobster comes with sweet chili aioli and pineapple curry cream sauce.
Get chef Alex Succop’s double-chocolate peanut butter pie, and you’ll have enough to enjoy and enough to take home. The tall, fluffy peanut butter and cream cheese filling is set between an Oreo cookie crust and bittersweet chocolate ganache. This is not the dense, knock-your-worst-enemy-over-the-head-with-it peanut butter pie found at too many restaurants.
Another super Restaurant Week deal is The Fortunate Glass’ $28, three-course, small plates spread, each course paired with wine.
Chef Karel Blaas knows soup, and one of the courses is butternut squash soup matched with Talbott Kali Hart chardonnay from Monterey, California. The wine bar’s popular truffled mushroom pizza, heady with the aroma of truffle oil, joins Caldora montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Abruzzi, Italy
Speaking of butternut squash, it shows up for Restaurant Week in Thai Spice’s butternut squash Panang curry, the squash mingled with fresh basil, broccoli, carrots, zucchini and the diner’s choice of meat.
And sit down for this Restaurant Week special: Thai Spice’s four-course lunch costs just $15 per person.