Food & Drink

Sweeter Still at The Honey Pot

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@triadfoodies

We recently found ourselves kid-free for an evening, so like any grown-up we headed straight out to eat.

The Honey Pot, located in downtown Winston-Salem, sounds “kid-friendly” actually. Heck it might be, but there was no kid in sight and nothing much that looks like kid food on the menu, though I’m willing to bet they could accommodate if necessary. The vibe at The Honey Pot is great for dates or an intimate evening with friends. It’s some of the best ambiance in the Triad. Cocktails are superb as well.

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We reviewed The Honey Pot in the summer of 2015. It was delicious. But since then, chef star on-the-rise, Harrison Littell, has taken over the Southern brasserie. Littell is a Winston-Salem native who worked for a time in Vermont before returning to his hometown and Five Loaves Catering.

During his five-and-a-half months at The Honey Pot, Littell has added to the already impressive menu featuring farmers and foragers.

“Matt Pleasants set up a really good platform here and we’ve expanded that to using Outer Banks sea salt and a number of other items,” Littell said. “We celebrate the community as much as we can. Most of our proteins come from 45 miles or less and all are from North Carolina, South Carolina or Southern Virginia, with the exception occasionally of lobster. Our flours, corn meal and rye from up near Asheville.”

But sometimes creativity requires that you branch out. “Because of the type of restaurant we are, we do like to offer something exotic, but always paired with local ingredients,” Littell said.

All totaled, The Honey Pot is now up to using 48 local providers and you’ll find them all mapped out on the back side of the menu.

We’ll show you what we enjoyed, but please note that that menu will be changing out a few of its items in a matter of days.

“We like to go through a full menu change every season, with a hyper local focus in-between those menu changes to highlight those seasonal items,” Littell said.

In addition to a concise and seasonal menu, the wine program at The Honey Pot, headed by operating partner, Beau Tate, is one of the best in the area. The restaurant achieved the Two Glass Award by Wine Spectator and is the only restaurant in Winston-Salem with such an award. Tate is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and is sitting for the Advanced Sommelier Course in April. He and the well-educated team do an incredible job of finding a meaningful pairing for your meal. They went out of their way to find the right wine for us and the suggestions were delicious. By the way, half-price wine nights are on Wednesday and we recommend you take advantage.

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As you know, I’m a big proponent of letting a chef surprise us. We didn’t quite go that route but we did tell our excellent server to suggest to his heart’s content and we obliged those suggestions because each sounded so tempting with the suggested wine.

From the small plates….

NC Shrimp + Clams in Brodo
With cured pork, white wine, shallots, herbs, cream and crostini. This was a light and refreshing appetizer that made you think of a mussels dish, without the mussels. We wanted something that wasn’t too heavy and this was great. The reason we didn’t want anything too heavy was because our servers enthusiastically suggested a Snack….

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Foie Gras
From the “snack” section of the menu this beautifully seared foie gras was delicate and smoky with a crunchy brioche and a dollop of fig jam with just the right amount of sweetness. It was a great nosh to go back and forth between the brodo and this scrumptious snack.

Chef then sent out a salad to help us cleanse our palates and to show off the hyper-seasonal salad of the moment. It was gorgeous with a selection of pickled and fresh beets and radishes, sliced apples and micro greens that is on the upcoming menu.

For our entrees, I opted for the Lobster—butter poached with roasted potatoes, lobster mushrooms, preserved lemon, creme fraiche, house mustard. It was expertly prepared and I’m not sure if this was a healthy dish but I didn’t feel as guilty as one might eating something poached in butter.

The hubby went with the server’s other suggestion of the night and tried the NC Chicken. The Honey Pot changes up its famous fried chicken dish every so often. This season’s creation featured flavors from Korea with Ssam sauce, sticky rice and house pickled radishes (I think). It had crispy, it had heat. It was wonderful. It’s not the first time we’ve enjoyed the NC Chicken here. You can tell why it’s one of the most revered items on the menu. (Also the poutine).

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Chef Littell then sent out dessert. And wow. It was a Goat Lady Dairy Amaretto Cheesecake. It wasn’t all goat cheese, just enough to sing. On top, a ladleful of gorgeous cherries. This was the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. And I need it again very soon. If you see it on the menu, do not hesitate to order it. Simple and incredible.

Plans are in the works with more wine dinners and North Carolina craft brewers. Littell says, “We’re planning on more partnered dinners, and we’ll have one at the end of January with Wicked Weed brewing. We’ll also have more dinners with cocktails and expand into some exotic dinners, which we like to have a little fun with.”

Littell says they also plan on doing more collaboration with local chefs.

“The food scene in Winston-Salem has grown so much in the past three to five years and we want to do more with the local chefs who I feel are so vital in this food community. These folks are trying to do awesome stuff with local food.”

Littell says he’s found a good space to create and grow. “Coming three years ago from Vermont and getting immersed in the scene … I feel like we’ve got a really good team and platform. Small, niche clientele that allows us to push limits and we’re having good reception and really having fun doing it.”

Wanna go? The Honey Pot is located at 285 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem. Visit
honeypot-wsnc.com or call 336.893.9471 for more information.

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