Grand Cru Food & Wine (Wilmington, NC)
We were hosted by David, the executive chef of Grand Cru Food & Wine, in Wilmington on February 3, 2018. Both David and Russell, the long time manager, were very welcoming and gracious hosts. Grand Cru has been around since July 2016 and has found a sweet spot as a wine bar with amazing cured meats, global cheeses, small plates, desserts and drinks.
They feature live music on the weekends which ranges from someone playing the baby grand piano near the entrance to guitarists bringing life to the party. Jazz is the steady bassline when live music is not present. Tuesday’s have a free wine tasting from 5 to 7pm and Wednesday’s offers half price on select bottles of wine. They attract a very eclectic and sophisticated crowd who is ready to enjoy a great time of sharing plates and tasting their favorite wines. As the restaurant looked to find their identity between a bar and a restaurant the perfect compromise was finally reached. Russell describes it as a “restaurant with a wine problem”. That is a very true statement as all their dishes are prepared to perfection with the finest ingredients. The seafood all comes from within 50 miles offshore and is always fresh. All of their other ingredients are sourced as locally as they can possibly be found.
The seafood charcuterie was the perfect way to start the meal. This was a non-menu special that was being offered for a second night to see if it should be added as a future menu item. Feasts and Spirits unanimously agrees it belongs! This featured poached lobster tail with truffle butter, smoked norwegian salmon, octopus carpaccio, scallops ceviche, crab stuffed mushroom and housemade smoked horseradish pimento cheese. We paired this with Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Hubert. The recommendation was spot on.
Next came the deviled eggs which were drizzled in a white truffle oil and topped with black caviar. The combination was truly delicious and opened our eyes to a whole new experience we never knew was possible. This was followed with the pork bellied sliders and their mac and cheese. The sliders had a thinly sliced pork belly which was made into something incredible by adding an apricot jalapeno chutney with arugula. The mac and cheese was the best I’ve ever had and had chopped chorizo and poblano which was cooked in a chardonnay cream sauce and covered in smoked provolone. This was served in a sizzling cast iron skillet for a very personal touch. To say this is highly recommended is an understatement.
All of this was topped off with the bacon wrapped filet mignon served on potatoes galette and asparagus and topped with black truffle butter. This was amazing and cooked to perfection. The knife sliced through the filet like butter and was the favorite food of the evening.
Dessert followed with a bananas foster made out of pecan bread pudding, vanilla bourbon sugar, dark rum, caramel, butter and ice cream. Perfect combination. Also served for dessert was a raspberry limoncello which is a personal favorite of my husband’s and I. This was made even more special by a person Happy Birthday etched in raspberry sauce for my husband’s special day.
Over the course of the evening we also tried the Pear-fecta. This was recommended as the favorite drink of the bar and we can see why. It consisted of Grey Goose La Poire, house spiced simple syrup, cranberry and fresh lemon juice topped with bubbles . This is a perfectly balanced cocktail (hence the name) and trademarked by Russell who has designed all the drink recipes for Grand Cru. All of their draft beer are NC craft beers and we tried the Acerbic Ecstasy IPA from Broomtail which is a local brewery in Wilmington.