Welcome to Local Dish Winston-Salem.

This blog is paired with a Facebook Group where people can post pictures and talk about food and beverages they have had at local W-S restaurants and bars. Pictures from the group will be added here so it can be used as a great resource for local places for everyone to enjoy.

You won't find the negative points here; we focus on the good, the great, and the best.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Progressive Dinner: Mozelles, Bernardin's, and West End Cafe

When you start a food blog about eating out, you want to make sure that you have enough material to keep people reading and you want to showcase as many local restaurants as possible. Our friends MB and EB suggested a "progressive dinner" where we have one course at three different restaurants. They are also friends that are not afraid to "share" dishes so everyone can try what is on the table. Brilliant.

For this progressive dinner, we chose three restaurants that are within 200 feet of one another, in the West End area of Fourth Street.

Appetizers: Mozelle's Southern Bistro
We called ahead for a 7:30 reservation because we knew that there would be a wait on a Friday night. Mozelle's is one of those restaurants where it is hard to choose between the many choices on the menu. We chose four very different appetizers that were all delicious.

Top Left: Spring Vegetable Risotto: sweet peas, yellow zucchini, asparagus, shaved parmesan
Top Right: Fried Okra (Fried pickles was on the menu but okra was a substitution)
Bottom Left: Grilled Shrimp with fried Green Tomato
Bottom right: Southern Spring Rolls with pulled bbq, greens, shitake mushrooms, napa cabbage and three sauces.

The appetizers were delicious. The risotto (which was served with the Organic Chicken that I had as an entree last week) was cooked perfectly, again. The fact that they cooked the risotto perfectly during two visits, shows that they know what they are doing. The fried okra was a great substitute for fried pickles. Nice cornmeal breading gave this appetizer a nice crunch. The Fried Green tomato was cooked similarly, but topped with grilled shrimp, a sweet chow chow and garnished with a spicy red pepper coulis for that little "kick." The Southern Spring Rolls are a favorite of mine. Crispy and filled with sweet, smokey, and savory.

Our server, Tamara, was attentive and friendly. She suggested some nice summer wines and was knowledgeable about the menu. We were able to order, enjoy our appetizers and a bottle of wine, and pay our bill in forty-five minutes.

Entrees: Bernardins at the Zevely House
Bernardins is a new addition to the West End area of Fourth Street, having recently moved into the historic Zevely House. Joe and I had never been to their other location, so we were looking forward to trying something new; our friends had been to their Jonestown location in the past. We made a reservation for 8:15, requesting a table on their beautiful patio. (We were very thankful for a night with low-humidity.)

On to the food...

MB is a vegetarian but her choices were not limited on the Bernardin's menu. She chose the Goat Cheese Ravioli  prepared with fresh goat cheese, winter vegetables, with a truffle preserved Meyer lemon cream. The goat cheese was fresh and creamy, so perfect for a ravioli. Each of the The combination of flavors of the sauteed spinach, goat cheese, lemon, and fresh vegetables is magnificent. The portion is perfect for a pasta in a cream sauce, especially if you still have dessert on the agenda.

EB is not a vegetarian, and chose the Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon served with horseradish gnocchi, wild mushroom, wilted watercress, goat cheese. This is a hearty meal with a generous filet mignon and the gnocchi. Topping the steak with fresh, herbed goat cheese is just genius. The flavors in the cream sauce is a nice addition to the gnocchi, but adds a nice flavor to the steak if the two should run into each other on the plate. (Aren't you glad that there are photos so you don't have to imagine the goodness?)

I enjoyed the Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast that was served on a bed of mashed potatoes and topped with diced prosciutto, asparagus, caramelized pearl onions and topped thyme natural jus. Thinly sliced chicken with a brie filling that compliments the dish, rather than overwhelm the flavor of the chicken. The mashed potatoes were creamy and were enhanced by the natural juice. This is a comfort food where the different flavors of the chicken, vegetables, prosciutto, and potatoes work nicely together.

Joe ordered the Wasabi Mustard Crusted Ahi Tuna that is served over a soba noodle cake, baby Bok Choy, shitake, tahini sweet chili sauce. This dish is not only aesthetically stunning , but the taste is absolutely unbelieveable. Cooked medium-rare, the tuna was tender with a burst of flavor from the wasabi mustard crust and tahini sweet chili sauce. The soba noodles were tasty on their own, but made the texture of the dish interesting and savory. Simply put, Bernardin's puts the "Ahhh" in Ahi Tuna.

As may be expected, the service was very good with a delightful server and a manager stopping by the table to see if everything was satisfactory.

After finishing our meals, we had about 15 minutes to relax and finish our bottle of wine. We used this time to let our meals settle and enjoy some great conversation. We also noticed that the table next to us was taking pictures of their food with their camera phones. Awesome.

Dessert: West End Cafe
At 9:45 we walked into West End Cafe; they close at 10:00pm. We quickly explained to our server that we were only there for dessert and coffee, but he didn't seem phased by the time at all. (Very nice!)

We  chose West End for our dessert course because they are all homemade and they change everyday. The chalkboard reveals our choices for the evening: Chocolate layer cake, Mandarin Orange Cake, and Peanut Butter Cake. We decide to try one of each (as community service so that you, the readers, are able to experience the delicious dishes at these local treasures) of the cakes offered.

Coffee and cake arrived and after the required photo shoot of each plate, a battle of Dessert Twister broke out.  Independently, all of the cakes were SO good. However "the battle" also created some delicious combinations of cake and frosting.

We each had a favorite but it was close. The cake for each was moist and flavorful, but it was the frosting that was look-to-the-heavens-for-thanks good. Amazingly, there was very little left on each plate when the battle ended.

And so it ended. Three great courses, three great restaurants, four VERY full bellies. We were thankful for the walk home, although it wasn't quite long enough. I highly recommend a progressive dinner.

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