One thing you can be sure of, when you gather your friends and fellow foodies for a meal at Graze Restaurant, you are sure to be well taken care of. The restaurant, located in the Marriott in Downtown Winston-Salem, is one of the few hotel restaurants that don’t come off like a restaurant in a hotel. By sourcing locally and seasonally, Chef de Cuisine Richard Miller plates up creative fare that celebrates the region and the purveyors within. When the Twin City Quarter hears about our monthly Chef’s Table and asks to be put on the calendar, you don’t say no. We knew we’d be in for a treat as we let the chef “surprise us.”
Chef Miller is getting kudos where they are deserved as well. He was first runner-up in the local Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series two years ago and came back to win the local title in 2015. It was a sweet victory for the entire Twin City Quarter team.
One of the things I love about Graze and the Twin City Quarter is how collaborative they are with local events. You’ll be sure to find Chef Miller at a food demo, as part of a culinary team at events like Farm to Fourth and the Triad Local First Community Table, but also when a helping hand is needed, such as the Skippy’s /Mike Rothman fundraiser. The same applies for more low-key events. You’ll always find management and other staff members either assisting or just being there to show their support.
On Oct. 12, Chef Miller and his team, including Sous Chef Michael Nasrallah, coursed out the meal with four beautiful and tasty plates that celebrated his newly released Fall menu. Let’s take a delicious look. And notice Miller’s attention to our local farms, which is evident 365 days a year.
Hot Manchester Farms Quail
Spiced Red Eye Gravy
Bread & Butter Green Tomato
Picked Fair Share Farms Golden Beets, FSF Baby Kale, FSF Micro Beet
The first course was inspired by Nashville Hot Chicken, something that’s been on the menu at Graze over the spring and summer and it was quite delicious. The quail version was a bit more delicate than a chicken breast and was a much more adaptable heat than Nashville hot, which burns real good. And corn bread to soak up the slightly sweet heat and acid of the pickles was a great choice.
Coast Plains Produce Sorrel
Fenne, Chive Oil, Anson Mills Benne Gremolata
As you can see, this is a riff on oyster stew, only the stew part was sooooo creamy. As in, luscious. If you order this at Graze, you will get a bigger bowl than we got and you will be happy. And I love benne, which made a delightful crunch with the creaminess.
Braised Heritage Farms Pork Cheek
Smoked Goat Lady Dairy Goat Cheese, Old Mill of Guilford Grits
Cheerwine Pan Gravy Reduction
Amaranth Micro Greens
Smoked Pumpkin Seed Dust, Butternut Squash Puree
NC Sweet Potato Chips
Homey and succulent on proper grits, as we like to say when they’re done perfectly. The majority of our diners that evening had never had pork cheek, which pretty much is one of the best parts of the pig, if you ask me. It’s quite tender and pulls apart much like shoulder but takes on the flavors of the braising liquid unlike any other cut. Give it a try this season.
Sutler’s Gin Chantilly Cream
This pretty little dessert is like pie and custard all in one. Sometimes you get a list of features in a dessert and it should be reminder to enjoy all those components together, as they are meant to elevate each other. The Sutler’s Gin chantilly was a herbaceous, slightly bitter contrast to the creamy pie filling and meringue with a touch of saltiness from the almonds. You got texture, contrast, sweet, butteriness, creaminess and lightness in nearly every bite. It was the perfect end to the evening.
Overall this meal played out like a full-blown wine dinner that most people would’ve paid $70 a person for, minus the wine pairings. That’s why our Chef’s Table dinners are so great. They let you get a great taste of what the restaurant is rolling out or what the chef is working on, at a very affordable price for most folks. I think our group walked away with a new appreciation of what Graze has to offer. It’s casual enough to just meet up with friends to watch some sports, after work drinks or smart enough for a business lunch.
You can pretty much find something for any picky eater in your family at Graze. The chicken tenders are a hit with my kiddos and they can enjoy them while watching some TV in the booths. And if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know how I feel about the Fried Okra (sometimes called Nachos) and the Graze Burger (it has fried chicken on it). And to alleviate your concerns about hoofing it downtown, complimentary valet parking for two hours is also included.
Graze also has special menus for Thanksgiving, Easter and Mother’s Day. Be sure to check them out if you want time out of the kitchen on these special days. Be prepared for a full onslaught of a chef-driven buffet with signature items but also the staples like turkey, prime rib and mashed potatoes.
Keep an eye out any day on the @triadfoodies Facebook page for an announcement about our November Chef’s Table.
Wanna go? Graze Restaurant is located inside the Marriott in Downtown Winston-Salem at 425 North Cherry Street. grazews.com