Best Dish in NC announces winners

by | Sep 12, 2011

In May, the Best Dish in NC competition announced 26 finalists representing the best of local food in the state. Competition judges have been visiting those restaurants throughout the summer and they now have their winning results. Restaurants were judged in both fine and casual dining categories. This year, contest organizers also divided the restaurants by regions to further highlight the local ingredients prominent in specific parts of the state.

Below are the winners by category and region, along with a description of the dishes. Winners will be included in a two-page ad in the November edition of Our State magazine.

You can find more information about the finalists and see photos of the winning dishes at

Fine Dining Category – Eastern Piedmont/Coastal Region:

  • First place: Elliott’s on Linden – An appetizer of pork terrine with pickles and a BBQ mustard relish, followed by a N.C. coastal bouillabaisse. The main course featured a lamb duet and salad of asparagus and poached egg with ham hock redeye vinaigrette. Dessert was a sweet potato ravioli with honey, pecans, strawberry Pavlova and PBJ ice cream.
  • Second place: The 1895 Grille – Appetizer of bacon and eggs, braised pork belly, quail egg, chive pancake and citrus curry coulisse. A compressed melon salad with arugula, goat cheese, balsamic pearls and olive oil sorbet. The main course was a pan-seared striped bass with field-pea risotto, vegetables and truffle-scented lemon beurre blanc. Also, buttermilk panna-cotta honey and peaches flamebe
  • Third place: Marc’s on Market – “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:

  • First place: Yancey House – A garden salad with pesto dressing, fried okra, goat cheese medallion, tomatoes, grilled eggplant and roasted peppers. Roasted pork loin wrapped in bacon and stuffed with sausage, topped with peach mojo and blackberry-wine sauce. House-made ice cream with pecan pie filling swirls, served with phyllo-rolled baklava.
  • Second place: Mez – For lunch, sweet potato burrito with shredded pork, roasted corn and grape tomatoes with salsa verde, jalapenos, cilantro and slaw. For dinner, pan-seared catfish on grits, cilantro sweet potato chip salad and goat cheese garnish.
  • Third place: Kornerstone Bistro – Appetizer of chilled oysters on the half shell, squash blossoms stuffed with shrimp mousse seafood terrine, heirloom tomato vinaigrette hot, angel hair with clams and country ham topped with shaved “bottarga” of shad roe. A summer peach carpaccio with pecans, goat cheese, micro greens and honey dressing. Chicken ballotine stuffed with pork belly confit and wine reduction vegetable medley. Peanut and chocolate terrine with peanut butter pie, peanut punch and peanut brittle tuile.

Fine Dining Category – Western Piedmont/Mountain Region:

  • First place: Gallery Restaurant – Swiss and shaved ham, caraway sourdough bread and strawberries. Short ribs with blueberry and peach BBQ sauce, grits and fried goat cheese.
  • Second place: Mast Farm Inn – Cream of mushroom soup. Salad of tomatoes, Italian mozzarella salad, ciabatta bread and vinaigrette. Sea bass in pastry stuffed with carrots, leeks, shallots, celery, baby fennel, basil and mascarpone cheese, topped with tomato compote and vegetables. Strawberry rhubarb cobbler with caramel ice cream.
  • Third place (Tie): Crippens – Ox-tail terrine salad, wilted frisee, pickled radishes, berries, goat cheese and sorghum vinaigrette. Braised and grilled beef tongue and pork cheek, mustard greens, smoked fingerling potato salad and crab apple gastrique.
  • Third place (Tie): Knife & Fork – Appetizer of grilled prosciutto, wrapped rabbit liver with spiced pralines and arbol chile popcorn. Crispy pork shoulder with watercress, corn shoots and chevre.

Casual Dining Category – Western Piedmont/Mountain Region:

  • First place: Off the Square – Fried green tomatoes stacked with jumbo lump crab cake in a honey mustard and fig preserve reduction. Summer squash and sweet potato bisque topped with bacon and diced apples. Greens topped with seasonal fruit and goat cheese with plum vinaigrette and honey. Beef tenderloin with mushrooms, served with an heirloom tomato salad. Bread and butter pudding infused with fruit creme anglaise.
  • Second place: Kitchen Roselli – Summer market tomato granita accompanied with polenta cracker and garnished with fresh garden herbs. Italian-herbed, braised pork sliders served on focaccia, topped with rustic slaw and served with spaghetti frittata. Italian sponge cake lightly soaked with Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine sweet syrup, filled with pastry cream and served with macerated market peaches
  • Third place: Bistro 42 – Vietnamese-style meatballs with Asian-style slaw and Thai peanut sauce. Insalata caprese, heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, balsamic glaze and fresh basil. Paella with clams, shrimp, chicken, chorizo, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, onions, garlic, sugar snap peas and rice. Sweet-potato pancakes, butter pecan ice cream and berries.

Have you tried any of these restaurants? Leave us a comment to let us know your favorite.