Cape Fear Foodie: Autumn’s bounty
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As the days get shorter and the moon joins the sun earlier each day, it reminds us that fall is well and truly upon us.
And with that fading sun comes those summer conditions to provide a fruitful autumn harvest. Across this great country, farmers peg their livelihoods to the hope that the gift from above will provide them with what grows below. It’s a concept that we have depended on for as long as anyone can remember, but you don’t always have to toil in the soil to enjoy the bountiful yield on your dinner plate.
This point was never driven home to me more than when I dined at Rx Restaurant and Bar on Castle Street.
An old pharmacy turned restaurant, Rx has prided itself as a champion of farm-to-table dining for nearly a decade now.
The restaurant features foods from a variety of farmers throughout the Carolinas, and the names of those that work the fields are given a thoughtful tip of the cap in the menu…each dish denotes which farmer helped make it happen.
All of that is unique and refreshing, but it wouldn’t stand for much if the food wasn’t great…luckily for us it is.
The evening at Rx started off with a cocktail and a variety of appetizers. I went with “The Cure,” a vodka-based drink with homemade pickling brine, with cracked black pepper on top and a pickle garnish. It reminded me of those summer suppers, with a big bowl full of freshly cut onions and cucumbers floating in that sugary sweet vinegar brine…talk about a nostalgic return to your grandmother’s house. For pickle lovers it’s a must try, but Rx also boasts a massive list of specially curated wines and locally brewed beers to suit any taste.
To go with that delicious drink, a plate of Deviled Eggs topped with smoke mackerel did just fine. The fish is smoked so well you would think it was bacon, and it melds perfectly with the bite sized egg halves.
Next were the shishito peppers, each one a surprise of mild or heat. You never know until you try, unfortunately I didn’t pick a heater, but they were tasty nonetheless.
Of course dining in a month ending in “r” isn’t complete without some oysters. These little fellas packed a big punch, especially with the house made hot sauce and mignonette sauce. I would have been happy with the appetizers alone, but we didn’t stop there.
Next was a plate of cheesy polenta, sunny side up egg and pork belly. Wow, put together and it would have been a fantastic brunch dish…but it was just as magnificent in the evening (as any good breakfast-for-dinner fan would confess.)
Following several rounds of food, drinks, and laughs…the entrees made their way to center stage…and what a performance they had.
I opted for the the pork shoulder, with Hoppin John, and a medley of peppers, beans and corn. The pork was melt in your mouth good, think of the best pork roast you’ve ever had, and times it by 10. The dish was fantastic.
We also had the duck, complete with field peas, corn, sweet potatoes, radishes and greens. Served medium rare, the duck was perfectly tender and excellently prepared.
Not to be outdone by its landlubbing colleagues, the flounder was clearly freshly caught and treated to a nice bed of seasonal vegetables complete with tomatoes, okra, corn, eggplant and squash.
Given at face value, each dish didn’t seem that complex on the menu. But once on the plate, the artistry of the plating and the various locally sourced ingredients create provided a cornucopia of flavors. There is a reason why this is one of the favorite restaurants in the Port City, and the dishes we had offered plenty of evidence why.
So as the night comes earlier each day, go and enjoy a candlelit dinner at Rx…and sample all that the autumnal harvest has to offer. It’s just what the doctor ordered!
1) Treat yourself. Admittedly the food at Rx isn’t the cheapest in town, but you can be safe in the knowledge that the food will be top-class, and the money goes to helping local farmers instead of a national food service. So try whatever tickles your fancy, there will be no regrets.
2) Remember the food here is organic, meaning meats aren’t pumped with saltwater to look bigger than they should, and vegetables aren’t genetically modified to create a football-sized tomato. Don’t feel like you’re getting skimped on the food, instead think this is how God intended it to be.
IF YOU GO:
Rx Restaurant and Bar is located at 421 Castle St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at email@example.com and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!
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