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LOCAL ELEGANCE

Josephine’s Kitchen makes memories with close to home ingredients

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Fall brings beautiful foliage, numerous holidays, friends and family, harvests and delicious food. Josephine’s Kitchen takes full advantage of the plentiful fall fare by making gourmet dishes using local goods and creating a venue for bonding.

Chef and co-owner Chris Blackburn uses nearby food producers including Faucette Farms, Guilford College Farm, Craven Farms, Little River Produce, Ashley Farms and Homeland Creamery to name a few, a very few. About 60 percent of the ingredients come from local fare.

“In the winter it’s a lot harder to do that, so we drop down to about 40 (percent),” Blackburn said. He also grows kale, Brussels sprouts, collards and lemon grass out back. The extent of his passion for food was apparent as he explained the processes that many of his suppliers go through, such as Jane Morgan Smith of Keep Your Fork Farm who grows truffles on her 10-acre, 500-tree property, which is apparently so impressive that Martha Stewart once visited.

Josephine’s Kitchen, formerly Josephine’s Bistro and Bar, is the product of that love, and it is a love fostered by the namesake of the restaurant, his grandmother, Josephine Blackburn.

“She was a southern belle — a super southern belle,” Blackburn said. “She kept me straight. She put me through culinary school.” Blackburn graduated from Guilford Tech 20 years ago, and Josephine’s opened a little over 15 years later. Her picture sits in the lounge; it’s a wedding picture from when she was just 21 years old.

Leading the staff is general manager Ryan Holden, who is the calm and warming presence you want to meet you at the door. The dining area, which seats 68 total, has an understated elegance that gives it a perfect ambiance for a date or a long conversation with close friends.

The furniture is made in High Point; the tables are made of repurposed 130-year-old chestnut barn wood. The most eye-catching art are the sculptures by local artist Lawrence Feir. Feir’s works are made from molds of women’s bodices with metal pieces such as silverware molded to their shape. One has a tiny hatch that opens up to a bird’s nest where the womb of the woman would be.

It’s the perfect setting to eat Chef Blackburn’s creations.

My personal favorites are house made mushroom ravioli, the spiced lamb and beef skewers, and the North Carolina Black Truffle Stuffed Ashley Farms Chicken.

The wild mushroom ravioli is made in-house with porcini and shiitake mushrooms, which are locally raised, with spinach pesto, smoked salt and white truffle oil in a house made crème fraiche and a Maker’s Mark chive sauce with it.

The spiced lamb and beef skewers are served with smoked rutabaga sauce, market spaghetti, squash fall ratatouille, herb jam and peppercorn yogurt. The meat melts in your mouth.

And the star of the show is the black truffle stuffed chicken. It’s Faucette Farms country ham and white bean puree with chicken stock, herbs, garlic and country ham for the salt. Underneath the skin they inject butter and black truffles. Yes, I said inject butter and truffles under the skin, and it’s incredible. Cherri sage pan sauce and crispy sweet potatoes top it off, and vegetables, including carrots, parsnips rutabaga, turnips and roasted shallots, are the base of the dish. I didn’t know I could love parsnips so much.

Josephine’s Kitchen will begin to serve lunch from 11 a.m.

to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in December, in addition to regular hours. Its menu will soon undergo a makeover, as will the interior; Blackburn will open a new restaurant, Blackburn’s, at 310 S. Elm across from Cheescakes by Alex in January (no official date yet). The current menu will undergo its regular seasonal change in December. When the new restaurant opens, some of the furniture will move to the new location and Josephine’s décor will turn to a more European feel. !

WANNA go?

To enjoy fall favorites visit Josephine’s Kitchen at 2417 Spring Garden St., Greensboro, N.C. 27403. Hours are Monday 5-9 p.m.; Tuesday– Saturday 5–10 p.m.; closed on Sundays. Make reservations by calling 336.285.6590 or visiting www.josephinesbistro.com.

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