Crispity Crunchy Catfish, Luxuriously Silky Collards & Unctuous Mound of Grits

Watching Chef Jay Pierce make his “crispity-crunchy” Catfish, “luxurious-silky” Collard Greens and “unctuous” Grits finished with butter, cream and cheese escalated my anticipation. Lunch the next day at Greensboro’s Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen affirmed that anticipation.

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Farm to Fork is at the core of Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s. It’s front and center inside and out at their Greensboro location. Outside year-round is an Honor System local “veggie cart”. And hung prominently in the dining room is a Farm to Fork board listing ingredients, including craft beers, and the local farm / brewery they’re from.

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Their philosophy:

“For the past few years we’ve been exploring new ways to bring the freshest, most flavorful foods to our guests while considering the triple bottom line of profit, environmental sensitivity and social responsibility. To these ends we’re purchasing some of our meats and seafoods differently. We’re also bringing more and more local produce and artisan-made cheeses. We hope that this Initiative will have long-lasting effects that extend through-out our community. Some of our partners are local farmers who handpick their produce on just a couple acres, and others are larger companies that supply some of the best restaurants in the country with top quality ingredients. We have long believed that the nearer the farm to the fork the better the flavor.” [Read More]

Lucky 32 has recently launched a beautiful Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen “Farm to Fork Blog”, now running a terrific “Locavores Delight” series. Written  by Molly McGinn and (impressive that he has the time) Chef Jay Pierce, and filled with tantalizing photographs.

My lunch date and I shared a creatively refreshing appetizer: Hickory Smoked Farm-Raised Sturgeon with vine-ripened tomatoes, pickled garlic scapes and basil pesto. What a treat! I hadn’t tasted pickled garlic scapes before and was entranced!

The mix of flavors here was fantastic. Almost savory . . . use your words, Laura . . . Think farm-fresh tomatoes. Add to that bite a soft-textured-hickory smoked Sturgeon. Mild, right? Now add a layer of basil pesto. The flavor is broadening . . . Finally, snap it up with the pickled garlic scapes. Poppin’ awesome!

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For her entree, my companion ordered a Roasted Chicken Salad ($11), made with goat cheese, walnuts, pear slices, spinach and chicken (of course). Fresh and nicely dressed,this was one of those salads that looks like you haven’t touched it after eating half.

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A Parmesan-Crusted Pork Cutlet, served with creamy grits topped with truffle butter and summer squash arrived looking like it came out of a southern Granny’s kitchen. The dish however, was all Chef Jay. Covered with Parmesan rather than corn meal, I felt I was experiencing Chef’s “crispity-crunchy” even though it wasn’t Catfish.   My only preference would be a slightly juicier cutlet. The summer squash was mildly seasoned and not overcooked. And the Grits? They were unctuous indeed. Creamy and slightly truffle-earthy.

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Dessert was simple and spectacularly delicious Peaches and Cream! Clean plate, er bowl, club here. Sublime housemade vanilla custard held fresh peach slices finished with a drizzle of cinnamon-scented sorghum syrup and garnished with mint leaves. Do not pass this up if you’re at Lucky 32. I mean it.

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Lucky 32′s interior is cozy, even though it’s an open space divided by short walls topped with textured, opaque glass and various seating levels. Attractive light fixtures reminiscent of flowers add quite a bit of interest.

Lucky 32

Lucky 32

Behind the wall to the left is an almost seductive bar – somewhat luscious, on the dark side, good for private conversations.

Lucky 32

Even though Lucky 32 says their “American Southern Cuisine rooted in the Piedmont, [is] served in an upscale environment”, they also say, “You’ll feel comfortable dressed casually, duded up for a business meeting, or decked out for a date.”

My three dishes were Lucky 32′s finalist menu for the Best Dish NC contest, served as a “Locavore’s Delight Tasting Menu June 20 – August 21 for $29. See more (professional?) photos and farm details here.

Epicurean Notes:

  • As of this writting, they’re open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
  • Service was exceptional.
  • Check out their “Special Happenings” – Cooking Classes, live music, Beer School and more.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
1421 Westover Ter
Greensboro, NC 27408
(336) 370-0707

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2 Responses to Crispity Crunchy Catfish, Luxuriously Silky Collards & Unctuous Mound of Grits

  1. Rocquie says:

    This all looks lovely and delicious. Unctuous grits–oooh la la! I’ll have to take a drive east to try this place.