Chef and the Farmer (Kinston, NC) - recent experiences?
We are thinking of a visit for an upcoming anniversary. It's a bit of a hike, so curious about recent experiences. Last posts were some time ago, hoping this place is still doing great things!
We made the 1.45 hour drive and had a wonderful meal!
The entrance is by the off street parking lot. Nice use of space, lots of old brick, contemporary touches. Nice lighting, kitchen visible from just about anywhere. Noise level was energetic, but conversation was easy to engage in.
We shared "Brown Sugar & Jalapeno Glazed Bacon Meatballs, mustard creamed greens". The meatballs were tender yet full of beef flavor. The sauce made you wish you could lick the plate. Settled for sopping it up with a nice assortment of bread! The greens were perfect, nice foil for the sweet/sour of the meatballs.
We had our entrees decided upon until a server walked by with a burger. My SO promptly decided the burger was the dish for the evening. This was a good choice, easily about the best burger I've tasted. Finished with blue cheese butter, caramelized onions served on a nice brioche bun. Burger came with an enormous mound of skinny, perfectly prepared fries. One of the two minor quibbles with the meal was the ketchup - tasted like regular grocery store ketchup. I'm not a ketchup fan and the fries were fantastic naked, but with every other part of the meal being house made or local artisan fare this seemed like an odd oversight.
The other entree was the "Pan Seared Chicken, grilled romaine, fennel/olive relish, tomato confit, smoked caesar". This was a generous portion of moist white meat. The grilled romaine upped the flavor combination. Nice presentation, well prepared, much more delicious than the description sounds.
Dessert was a skyscraper of a chocolate cake with caramel icing. Plenty for two, my SO had no problem polishing it off after my taste. (I'm more of a meal eater, not as big on dessert.) The last quibble of the meal was the caramel icing. The flavor and color were lovely, but there was a bit of sugar crunch - not the smooth, creaminess I anticipated. Not enough of a distraction to takeaway the pleasure of the dish!
A few alcoholic beverages, coffee and an additional side plus tip came in around $100.
You could get by for less if desired.
We really enjoyed the evening. The flavors and service were top notch. I got to say, even at $14 for the burger, it was well worth it. I suspect I'll hear it's siren call on a drive back from the beach this summer!
Big, bold flavors yet nicely balanced with the integrity of the ingredients shining through. Service was very good. Personal yet professional, helpful suggestions, enthusiastic about the food and the experience. I wish it was closer to home, but I'll have no quibbles about making the drive again.
Happy anniversary! I recall having a grilled romaine Caesar salad in Vancouver about 15 years ago at a spot that claimed it invented the dish. It started showing up in San Francisco a few years later, then disappeared. In the last year, I've seen it on a few menus . . . not that I'm complaining, I like the extra smokiness a lot and the dressing seems to meld better with the hot spots on the lettuce.
Chef & the Farmer
120 W Gordon St, Kinston, NC 28501
re: Melanie Wong
Thank you! Hard to believe how fast time goes by.
The smokiness really transforms the romaine into a whole new beast! I seldom order chicken out, but I'm glad I tried it! The fennel/olive relish was what really made the decision.
We're going to miss you on this board! You really covered a lot of territory in a brief time. It was fun getting so much feed back. Looking forward to trying your find in Fayetteville next time I pass through.