Chef & the Farmer – Kinston, NC

16 May

The character cup runneth over at Chef & the Farmer (C&F). I just can’t decide what is most extraordinary…the location? the history? or the food? They really hit it on all cylinders to bring you a truly unique culinary experience. Synopsis: NYC trained, NC local chef gets hitched, comes home, and brings the man and the swank with her. En route, you may doubt Kinston has the capacity to host such a place; however, C&F nestles quite contently in its small town package. Do not be deceived. Upon entrance, you will witness a neo-southern eatery fit for Manhattan. Let’s face it: exposed brick & abstracts will never lose their cool, and C&F smartly intermingles southern facets (i.e. twigs of cotton, doilies) with this modern décor.

I’ve had the privilege to dine at C&F twice; most significantly I chose to spend my birthday dinner here with family. Service was exceptional, ranging from the bubbly college-aged girl to the dry witted lady – both dedicatedly knowing the fine details of the menu. FYI: First-timer seating recommendation – the kitchen is exposed via a large glass window; there is a flat of elevated seating with one table positioned against the window for prime peeping into the kitchen … this is the foodie penthouse of seats- sit here!

The Food (latest visit): Traditional southern concepts with sophisticated, modern twists. Starters we have sampled include: the Butterbean Hummus – this was a cool alternative to the chickpea & all the salads are ridiculously tasty. Their pimento cheese & sausage dip is a local, as well as national favorite, with Chicago Sun Times acclaim.
The entrées included their Chicken & Dumplings, more of a plated entrée vs. a stew and was garnished with the most dainty, edible flowers (perfect dish for my mother). Triggerfish? atop a collard greens puree, this was described to be a white fish of lobster, not flaky consistency. It delivered good flavor and the promised texture; however, I doubt we’ll get this again – nor will we have the opportunity, considering the menu is constantly changing. Lastly, the Pork chop with root vegetable cake – the well-prepared chop was fit for sharing and the root vegetable cake was so inventive! (thinly sliced and layered veg’s made this baked mass of deliciousness) We finished with donuts with a lemon glaze. This was mediocre, but there were definitely better dessert options…what were we thinking?

All in all, C&F is a ‘sensory overload’ experience. Audibly: the hustle & bustle makes you excited to be there; visually: the food is beautiful; and flavor: it all tastes delicious. The commute is well worth the gas – so give Kinston a visit.

{Afterthought: when I first considered writing this review, I snooped on the internet and found C&F’s twitter page…I saw a comment from Poole’s Diner’s chef stating she’s interested in a visit… I’m confused how the James Beard folks haven’t acknowledged C&F…yet Poole’s get this enormous praise. just sayin’}
Chef & The Farmer on Urbanspoon

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