First off, I HIGHLY recommend having a car to get to this place. I took a bus and walked the remainder of the path at NIGHT (my aunt’s decision, not mine), and take my word: THE PATH IS MISSING SIDEWALKS!! A dangerous journey. We were literally walking along the shoulder of the street in darkness. Uneven pavement plus nearly running into branches that you can’t see until it’s almost too late plus chilly weather plus fast cars racing beside you plus being in an unfamiliar area – definitely NOT my idea of fun.

Anyway, we made it to the restaurant in one piece – whew! The place is classy and great for special occasions. I love that my aunt and I were seated at a table where we both had cushioned booth seating, rather than one person sitting on a hard chair and the other, on booth seating. We were given the option of 2 complimentary slices of bread – white or wheat. I decided to have one of each. They are thick slices, and you can request more bread if you desire.

I started off the night with a Risotto with NC White Shrimp, Justin’s Beef Pepperoni and English Peas finished with Grana Padana, $11. The menu changes every month, but a few of the menu options never get swapped out. I was told that this is one of those options because it is popular. According to Master Chef, grana padano (not sure why the menu spells it with an “a” at the end, could be a typo) is considered the King of all cheeses – the most popular cheese in Italy. The cheese melts in your mouth. And the risotto is wonderfully cooked, not too thick, not too watery. Unfortunately, all the ingredients are very similar in color, making it difficult to capture a great photo to share. I don’t care for the beef pepperoni, but it added a contrast in texture to the mushy risotto.

I proceeded with the Grilled Leg of Venison over Russian Kale, Roasted Fennel and Balsamic Red Onions finished with a Caramelized Cranberry Sauce, $26.50. Chewy and gamey, but love the color of the presentation. My recommendation? Use a smaller dish so the portion doesn’t look incredibly small. Paired this with a glass of Pali “Rivera” Pinot Noir (red wine), $9, which had a hint of sweetness and was not overpowering.

Finished off with a slice of Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Bourbon Pecans, $8. The pecans were very bland and too soft. The cheesecake tastes homemade. Not too sweet, but not impressive to me.

Overall, a great experience. There were hits and misses here and there.


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