We normally don’t think of bread as being that important because too many restaurants give it to you as an afterthought. But these restaurants made the extra effort to make their bread the very best, and should be commended.
Girl Nosh goes to Kindred on Halloween! Not only were we adorable, but we were well fed. Kindred is the real deal, people. We decided to bump Kindred up on our list due to this article in Bon Appetit Magazine: Kindred, Davidson NC.
I had a large group of ladies able to attend on this night. So large that I had to call the manager and arrange a special table (I think there were 10 of us) since the place is a bit small and seating is limited. I thought it worth the extra trouble.
The place was PACKED. When we arrived, we did have to be patient and waited around for nearly 30 minutes for our table to be set up and ready for us. They were gracious about the delay, and allowed us to sit at separate tables until the party beside us was ready to leave, allowing us to push these two tables together so our whole party could be together.
This establishment serves small plates. Everything is a la carte, so the server recommended we each get 2 or 3 items, not including dessert. Some of us liked the small plate concept, and some of us did not. One of our party members thought that this concept should have been explained better, and felt that we were a bit condescended to when we didn’t quite know how to order.
We all agreed that people who post pictures of their food are the best people. As you can see from the photo at the right, we Googled dishes we wanted to try to see what they looked like. Wish I’d have Googled the crudo before I ordered.
When we finally sat down (after standing in the bar for a bit) the server brought us this most amazing Milk Bread. It reminded me of the rolls we used to get at school (when they were homemade) only better. Lighter, fluffier and sprinkled on top with chips of kosher salt. Served with a side of REAL whipped creamy butter…I’d go back just for that bread. All of us are STILL talking about that darn bread. Be warned, they don’t serve it at lunch, only dinner.
The Crispy Oysters were a favorite of the table. Lucky for me, Laurie thought they were too spicy and traded her oysters with my crudo. The oysters were perfectly fried in a light batter and they sat atop a puddle of dill aioli and Calabrian chili oil. I thought it was the perfect balance of heat and a nice cool down from the aioli. This dish is a hit! As good as the oysters were, I was just as charmed by the plate they served them on. I felt like I was at my grandmother’s house…my gourmet grandmother.
The biggest disappointment of the night was the Matsutake Mushroom Crudo. Shaved Asian pear slices, Matsutake Mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Not one bit of skill needed, unless you count the mandolin? The idea is that the ingredients paired work well, and the quality of the ingredients are allowed to shine. But the mushrooms tasted like dirt. And I NEVER met a mushroom I didn’t love. One person at our table loved it, but the rest of us…no.
Another nifty thing they offer is the Farmhouse Cheese Tray. They give you a selection of four and each cheese is $4. It is served with thin baguette slices. It was good, the cheese was great quality, but you know…it’s a hunk of cheese. Get something the chef makes.
The Apple Salad was pretty and tasty, too. Hazelnuts, sliced apples and Serrano ham all nestled on a bed of peppery arugula made for a fresh start to dinner.
See above? That’s called Pappardelle and it is the best thing you will ever put in your mouth. It is a perfectly seasoned hand-made pasta tossed with a guinea hen ragu. Guinea hen tastes suspiciously like chicken, but this is so good, I don’t care if they tricked me. You see those little shavings that look like mushrooms? Those are fried chestnuts, for crunch. They used a tiny mandolin, shaved little chestnuts and then deep-fried them, just to give you a little crunch with your pasta. All I could say was thank you. Amazing.
So, the other not-as-lucky folks at my table opted to try the Bucatini. I snuck a bite of Erika’s, just for the purpose of this review, of course, and while it was yummy, it wasn’t as good as mine 🙂 This bucatini was in a buttery sauce with bay scallops, miso, shishito peppers and black truffle. It was rich and spicy and it was yummy…just not AS yummy as the papardelle.
Anessa ordered the Pasture Raised Chicken. She also got that with a side of Creamed Mustard Greens with Bread Crumbs. The chicken was baked to perfection, very tender and juicy and it sat atop a pile of polenta, collards and guanciale. Guanciale is an Italian cured meat or salami product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. I know this because I just Googled it. So, the chicken was great. The mustard greens? Well….not so much. Anessa enjoyed them, but they were so bitter I had to spit them out. I’ll admit I’m not a “greens” lover, but this was too much.
Dessert…aaaahhhh. We were pretty full, but we took one for the team and ordered dessert. We actually ordered dessert with our meal, since we were informed they might run out. No sense taking chances like that. First up is the Cookies with Cinnamon Ice Cream. The cookies were thick and chewy and the ice cream was perfectly creamy with just a warm hint of cinnamon. So perfect.
But the most perfect dessert was the Roasted Apple Galette. Sugar sprinkled flaky pie dough enfolds sweet yet tart apples, on a puddle of milk jam (tasted like caramel to me) and topped with buttermilk ice cream. That weed on top? Sugared thyme. I might have sucked on a leaf or two.
The Pumpkin Pot de Creme was a most requested dessert that night. They ran out! It was a smooth, spiced pumpkin custard (like a super smooth pumpkin pie filling, elevated) topped with Chantilly cream and hazelnuts. It was perfect, light and refined.
This was one of my favorite restaurants that the Girl Nosh group has been to. We had a few snags, but the experience was so unique and so personal, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it.
Flatiron is a steak place in Davidson, NC that we decided to try over the summer. Such high hopes, because I love the town of Davidson. Ultimately, this place just didn’t deliver. While there were some high points to our meal, mostly our experience ranged from not great to not really memorable.
We tried the Calamari Fries for an appetizer. Ours came with a side dish of marinara sauce. The calamari was tender, but the large mouthful of tender, almost flabby planks of squid actually put me off. I prefer the rings, fried a little crispier. I would definitely not get these again.
One of the better dishes was the Wedge Salad. Hard to mess those up, but this one was exceptional with bacon, diced tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, red onion and topped with a yummy Buttermilk Ranch dressing. Also, they served it a bit chopped and not in the traditional wedge shape, so it was much easier to cut. Loved it!
Another pretty awesome dish is the Goat Cheese Bake. They plop some goat cheese in a dish of marinara, bake it and serve with toast. Simple and utterly delicious.
The Chicken Fettuccine Pasta dish was very good. The chicken was tender, the sauce was flavorful. The grilled bread atop was a nice touch.
The Filet Mignon was also a good dish. It was cooked well, but the sauce was a little tangy. I loved the brussels sprouts with the charred edges and the potato puree was creamy and seasoned well.
The Seared Scallops were just fine. They did have a nice sear, but were not seasoned as well as we’d like. The sweet potato risotto that they were atop was delicious. The grilled asparagus were nicely cooked. The dish was fine, but not particularly memorable.
For dessert, they had quite a few offerings. The Raspberry Cheesecake was probably the best thing our table sampled. It was just sweet enough and very creamy. The Creme Brulee is always a winner, and rarely have I had a bad one, this one was no disappointment. The one dessert we sampled that was just inedible were the Hot Now Donuts. They were like sugar coated bricks. They are served in a paper bag, which is the best thing about them. Maybe they were off that night, but I found them heavy and tough. Never again.
The restaurant isn’t horrible. There are simply better choices around. A quick look around the menu shows me that they are trying to make some changes, so if I give it another try I will be sure and report my findings 🙂
Some of the folks on Urbanspoon don’t care for Il Bosco, but we went and it was yummy! I can’t remember if I had a Groupon (most likely) or if I’d just always wanted to go, but we went. And we didn’t have a reservation. Not cool.
One of the things reported by another diner was that the staff acted as if they were doing you a favor by seating you without a reservation. I must admit I had the same situation, but as it was simply my perception and not an overt rudeness, I didn’t let it spoil my evening. I will admit that the restaurant was virtually empty and they seemed to struggle to find a place for us. It was kind of weird, actually. No matter, the waiter made up for it with his kindness.
We got a couple of salads to start and they were fancy and delicious. I tried to get pics of all of it, but the dim lighting and my crummy cell phone let me down :(.
My hubby says he will know a good Italian restaurant by their simple marinara. So, that’s what he ordered for his entree’. I think he’s just cheap, but he insists he’s a purist. He pronounced it delicious in its simplicity and flavorfulness. I got the Chicken Marsala and it was good…enough. The problem is that it was a huge plate of chicken and nothing else to go with it. I’m used to having a side of spaghetti marinara, you know, something to break up the monotony. It’s not that they cheat you, they give you tons of chicken, but I’d rather have the half and half.
If you choose to go, make a reservation. And get something a little more adventurous than we did.