I consider Southern Exposure (SE) to be a ‘destination restaurant’ – secondary to its location in a small NC town with nothing notable, except direct access to Highway 40…and they know it, cheerfully using the slogan, “Faison’s Wonderful Little Secret!” Therefore, you would expect a fine restaurant literally incorporating the “Southern” entity into its image would be welcoming? Hospitable? Perhaps the management and staff have forgotten this good ol’ reputation of the Carolinas.
I’ll get to the food—which was actually very good; however, these talents were totally eclipsed by the negativity of poor service. Lesson #1: Never audibly huff/sigh at waiting on a patron to decide on their entrée. Lesson #2: Never snatch the menu in response to waiting 30 seconds on said patron’s response. Lesson #3: It never hurts to smile at your table throughout their meal…I hear it helps earn tips. All in all, SE’s service was so dreadful, it was comical – we literally were laughing at the absurdities on exit.
This lasting impression is so unfortunate because the food was contrarily good. We began with Fried Green Tomatoes, topped with pimento cheese… win/win combination and the recipe evidently succeeded with a clean plate. Entrées ordered included the hefty Grilled Sterling Farms Pork Chop with oven-baked mac & cheese, and collards. Soul food from heaven – a huge, well-prepared chop, and probably the best mac I’ve ever eaten. The Grilled Petite Kobe Sirloin with Crab Cake looked like samples/nuggets in comparison to the pork – the usage of the word ‘petite’ was a huge exaggeration…I wish I had taken a photo of the ludicrousness. Lastly, the Grilled Sterling Farms Beef Filet Mignon with gorgonzola butter…excellent steak, a bit heavy on the butter, which rendered the occasional salty bite.
Overall, SE’s food is respectable; however, the staff and service just plain failed. Unless, I experience an intense life or death carb craving for some ridiculous mac&cheese – I won’t be returning on my dime – There’s too many soul food kitchens preparing equally excellent food but with the added skill of true southern warmth and hospitality.