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Tim Parrish, marketing specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
(919) 707-3137

Best Dish in NC Competition winners announced

RALEIGH — The Best Dish in North Carolina judges have criss-crossed the state this summer tasting food at competing restaurants and they now have their winning results. Judges divided the competition into Eastern Piedmont/Coastal and Western Piedmont/Mountain regions to recognize the food diversity within the state.

“Our state has so much to offer when it comes to food grown, processed and prepared right here,” said Tim Parrish, food service marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “That regional emphasis also stepped up the competitiveness among our chefs. Chefs, by nature, are very competitive, and many were eager to claim the bragging rights for their part of the state.”

Following are the winners by region along with comments from the judges:

Fine Dining Category — Eastern Piedmont/Coastal Region:
1st Place - Elliott’s on Linden, Pinehurst
Judge’s comment: “Best meal I’ve had in NC in years.”
Appetizer: Pork terrine, pickles, BBQ mustard relish
Soup: N.C. coastal bouillabaisse
Salad: Asparagus, poached egg with ham hock redeye vinaigrette
Entree: Lamb duet
Dessert: Sweet potato ravioli, honey, pecans, strawberry Pavlova, PBJ ice cream

2nd Place -The 1895 Grille, Pinehurst
Judge’s comment: “One of the best meals overall.”
Appetizer: Bacon and eggs, braised pork belly, quail egg, chive pancake and citrus curry coulisse
Salad: Compressed melon salad, arugula, goat cheese, balsamic pearls and olive oil sorbet
Entree: Pan-seared striped bass field pea risotto with vegetables, truffle-scented lemon beurre blanc
Dessert: Buttermilk panna-cotta honey, peaches flamebe

3rd Place - Marc’s on Market, Wilmington
Judge’s comment: “An original creation that honors N.C. tradition.”
Entree: "Chicken Fried" lamb, smashed lima beans, crispy sweet potatoes and collard greens, and ham and lamb pan gravy

Casual Dining Category — Eastern Piedmont/Coastal Region:

1st place - Yancey House, Yanceyville
Judge’s comment:
“History of conceptualizations created a strong entry.”
Salad: Garden salad with pesto dressing, fried okra, goat cheese medallion, tomatoes, grilled eggplant, roasted peppers
Entree: Roasted pork loin wrapped in bacon and stuffed with sausage, topped with peach mojo and blackberry-wine sauce
Dessert: House-made ice cream with pecan pie filling swirls, served with phyllo-rolled baklava

2nd Place - Mez, Durham
Judge’s comment: “Better quality and more creative than usual in this genre.”
Lunch Entree: Sweet potato burrito with shredded pork, roasted corn and grape tomatoes with salsa verde, jalapenos, cilantro and slaw
Dinner Entree: Pan-seared catfish on grits, cilantro sweet potato chip salad and goat cheese garnish

3rd Place - Kornerstone Bistro, Wilmington
Judge’s comment: “One of the best in promoting the Best Dish brand on premises.”
Appetizer: Chilled oyster on the half shell, squash blossom stuffed with shrimp mousse seafood terrine, heirloom tomato vinaigrette hot, angel hair with clams and country ham topped with shaved “bottarga” of shad roe
Salad: Summer peach carpaccio with pecans, goat cheese, micro greens and honey dressing
Entree: Chicken ballotine stuffed with pork belly confit and wine reduction vegetable medley
Dessert: Peanut and chocolate terrine with peanut butter pie peanut punch and peanut brittle tuile

Fine Dining Category — Western Piedmont/Mountain Region:
1st Place - Gallery Restaurant, Charlotte
Judge’s comment: “The food makes you stop and pay attention to every bite.”
Appetizer: Swiss and shaved ham, caraway sourdough bread and strawberries
Entree: Short ribs with blueberry and peach BBQ sauce, grits and fried goat cheese

2nd Place - Mast Farm Inn, Valle Crucis
Judge’s comment: “Salad was the star along with excellent Best Dish Promotion.”
Soup: Cream of mushroom soup
Salad: Tomatoes, Italian mozzarella salad, ciabatta bread and vinaigrette
Entree: Sea bass in pastry stuffed with carrots, leeks, shallots, celery, baby fennel, basil and mascarpone cheese, topped with tomato compote and vegetables
Dessert: Strawberry rhubarb cobbler with caramel ice cream

3rd Place* (*Tie) - Crippens, Blowing Rock
Judge’s comment: “Nose-to-tail use of proteins...impressive decision.”
Appetizer: Ox-tail terrine salad, wilted frisee, pickled radishes, berries, goat cheese and sorghum vinaigrette
Entree: Braised and grilled beef tongue and pork cheek, mustard greens, smoked fingerling potato salad and crab apple gastrique.

3rd Place* (*Tie) - Knife & Fork, Spruce Pine
Judge’s comment: “Love what they are doing all the way around.”
Appetizer: Grilled prosciutto wrapped rabbit liver with spiced pralines and arbol chile popcorn
Entree: Crispy pork shoulder with watercress, corn shoots and chevre

Casual Dining Category — Western Piedmont/Mountain Region:
1st Place - Off the Square, Albemarle
Judge’s comment: “Impressive use of local from varied sources…all courses outstanding!”
Appetizer: Fried green tomatoes stacked jumbo lump crab cake in a honey mustard fig preserve reduction
Soup: Summer squash and sweet potato bisque topped with bacon and diced apples
Salad: Greens topped with seasonal fruit and goat cheese with plum vinaigrette and honey
Entree: Beef tenderloin with mushrooms with heirloom tomato salad
Dessert: Bread and butter pudding infused with fruit creme anglaise

2nd Place - Kitchen Roselli, East Bend
Judge’s comment: “Deeply flavored and delicious…excellent best dish promotion.”
Appetizer: Summer market tomato granita accompanied with polenta cracker and garnished with fresh garden herbs
Entree: Italian-herbed, braised pork sliders served on focaccia topped rustic slaw and served with spaghetti frittata
Dessert: Italian sponge cake lightly soaked with Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine sweet syrup filled with pastry cream and served with macerated market peaches

3rd Place - Bistro 42, Asheboro
Judge’s comment: “A fun mixture of cuisines.”
Appetizer: Vietnamese-style meatballs with Asian-style slaw and Thai peanut sauce
Salad: Insalata caprese, heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, balsamic glaze and fresh basil
Entree: Paella with clams, shrimp, chicken, chorizo, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, onions, garlic, sugar snap peas and rice
Dessert: Sweet potato pancakes, butter pecan ice cream and berries

The Best Dish in NC competition is an annual statewide contest that recognizes restaurants and chefs for using North Carolina agricultural products in their menus. The competition also promotes the culinary advantages of “buying local” for the consumer. Restaurants may enter a single-course entrée or any combination of courses to include with the entrée such as appetizer, soup, salad or dessert.

To be eligible to compete, each dish entered must contain a primary ingredient from a North Carolina producer or farm. Almost 80 percent of the scoring comes from the overall use of N.C. products, creativity of the dish along with taste and originality. The depth of the “buy local” connection and overall appeal and value of the entries rounded out the judge’s scoring parameters.

Competition finalists were required to feature the dishes in their restaurant for at least a four-week period anytime between May1 and Sept. 30. For more information, visit




NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3005; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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