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Dinner in Greensboro


Malawry
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I'll probably be heading out for a nice dinner with my folks and my partner to celebrate a special occasion in late November. Last year we had dinner at Undercurrent because the chef is a graduate of my culinary school and the head of my school said he'd enjoyed a terrific meal there. Where should we go this year? And what should we order when we get there?

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I have not been there, but my Chef has had some good things to say about it. Bistro Sofia. They have a sample menu online.

www.bistrosofia.com

Serving Dinner Tuesday - Sunday

5-10 p.m.

616 Dolley Madison Rd.

Greensboro, NC 27410

phone 336-855-1313, fax: 336-851-0621

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Malawry,

I did my culinary internship at Bistro Sofia and it is indeed a very nice restaurant with great atmosphere. The website is www.bistrosofia.com and their menu is on line. Reservations are a must.

Also, 223 South Elm is quickly becoming one of N.C.'s most notable. The Chef de Cuisine, Jason Jones, was recently interviewed by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the best up and coming young chefs. Again, I would recommend reservations.

Bon Appetit!

"Never eat more than you can lift" -- Miss Piggy

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I knew you'd eventually see this thread and come to my rescue, Joler. :biggrin: We will be reserving no matter where we go.

One thing I've felt is lacking in a lot of the better Greensboro restaurants is ambience. Chairs especially seem to be inexpensive stackable metal-frame sorts in a lot of restaurants, which can detract from the experience. I don't expect plush wing-type overstuffed armchairs at every table but when I eat in an upscale restaurant I don't want my skin touching bare metal. It doesn't feel welcoming. Can anybody describe the dining rooms at South Elm and Bistro Sofia? (I did see pics of both dining rooms on the linked websites.) Also do these places have their own pastry chefs...does such an animal exist outside of Ganache Bakery in Greensboro?

I'll talk these over with the folks and see where we may end up. Thanks everybody for the suggestions!

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  • 3 weeks later...

We ended up at Bistro Sofia tonight, for a nice bistro-y dinner. I had the leek and gruyere tart with gooseberry sauce and a small salad, followed by grilled lamb loin with mushroom bread pudding and a sort of ratatouille. Knocked back a big glass of jammy grenache with the food. Everything I ordered was pretty well-executed...the tart was a big hit around the table, and the lamb was flavorful and came with a nice pommery mustard-finished sauce. I thought the bread pudding was a little lacking in mushroom flavor but otherwise tasty.

My husband ended up with some of the stranger dishes...a bowl of soup with rosemary, white beans, duck and bacon sounded promising but was garnished with...fried wonton strips? And then he had the "Asian" BBQ chicken, which came with a strange salad of watercress, black beans, mandarin oranges, fried chow mein noodles (I think that's what they were) and some kind of spicy vinaigrette. My dad enjoyed the cheese platter and a duck dish I didn't get to taste, while Mom had truffled frites and wild salmon on a bed of lentils with caramelized onions. We didn't get dessert.

By the way, I stopped by Stamey's BBQ for lunch for the first time in my life (!!!) today. Caught up with Chip Stamey, who grew up kitty-corner from my family in the Green Valley neighborhood of Greensboro. The bbq is all right, not as richly flavored or smoky as I'd hoped for nor as tender but good in a pinch. I really liked the chopped cole slaw with bbq sauce, which was sweet-tart and quite crisp. The hush puppies aren't too bad, they're extruded through a device that looks somewhat like a donut maker to form little 2" snakes. I told Chip I fried hush puppies for my culinary school final, which he got a kick out of. He told me to send my dad by more often.

Speaking of which, over dinner at Bistro Sofia, I told Dad that Chip said to come by more often, and Dad told me a story about how he tried to work with Chip's parents to get a BBQ chicken dinner going at Beth David Synagogue. This was probably sometime back in the late 1970s. They couldn't figure out how to do it without buying a brand new smoker to keep everything Kosher. I suggested that they could have dug a pit behind the synagogue but I guess nobody really considered that idea seriously enough.

It's stories like this that make me glad to be a Jewish kid from Greensboro. :biggrin:

Edited by Malawry (log)
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this is so cool- i was going to suggest stamey's. i loved that place growing up and libby hill seafood (a little further down battleground avenue) i haven't lived in g-boro since 1983- going to ham's was also a big deal when i was in high school. guess that you must have gone to grimsley seeing as you lived in green valley.

"Ham isn't heroin..." Morgan Spurlock from "Supersize Me"

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Almost all of the Lexington style barbecue can be traced back to the origins of Stameys. It's a bit too big these days, but when you're at the Greensboro Colliseum, it works well for me!

we would eat at ghassan's-a lebanese restaurnat out by the coliseum- pretty exotic stuff for g-boro in those days. i rememger going to see the circus and driving past the bread company that had the revolving bread slices on their sign- and the smiling blond girl-can't for the life of me remember the brand-oh well brain cell attrition i guess!

"Ham isn't heroin..." Morgan Spurlock from "Supersize Me"

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Yes, Mighty Quinn, I graduated from Grimsley in the early 1990s. The Stameys moved out of the neighborhood before we did in 1986, but now my folks live over in the Friendly Acres development near Brassfield...and the (retired) Stameys have settled into a house only a few blocks away. They're a genuinely nice family and I'm really sorry I didn't like their BBQ more. I hadn't seen Chip since the mid-80s but he looked exactly as I'd imagined he would. I will go back and try the chicken, which Dad described as transcendent.

I LOVE the steak subs from Ghassan's, almost got one instead of going to Stamey's actually. Their chicken skewers I remember as being good but not sure I'd still like them as much...haven't had them in many many years.

My dad used to go to Ham's as a teen. He says there was another place called Campbell's where girls went to eat back then, and Ham's was where boys went. If a girl went to Ham's and she wasn't on a date with a boy she was considered to be a little...risque, maybe sluttish even. As a girl I eat at Ham's alone sometimes when I'm in town and nobody looks at me funny in this day and age. I go mostly for the chips (housemade chips are unusual around DC, but thanks to the Ham's legacy they're common in Greensboro). I only go to the original Ham's on Market Street near Westover Terrace. Ham's is all over NC now but they started off in lil ole Greensboro.

Now, if somebody knows stories of the old Boar and Castle, we can really talk Old Greensborough. By the time I was born I think only the sauce remained.

Libby Hill is another place I never went...though I actually enjoy fried seafood occasionally. Justin Conrad was one of the many Conrad kids who I went to school with; there's a picture of me dancing with him at my bat mitzvah party. I caught up with him at my 10-year reunion and he was about to open a new breakfast and lunch-only fast food place as a sort of experiment to see how it went over. This reminds me I meant to follow up and at least drive by (I think he said it was on Market near Spring Garden??) but I forgot all about it...and now I'm back in DC.

All this goes to show you that if you know where to look, there are some excellent cheap eats in Greensboro. Which is pretty cool.

Edited by Malawry (log)
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My husband ended up with some of the stranger dishes...a bowl of soup with rosemary, white beans, duck and bacon sounded promising but was garnished with...fried wonton strips? And then he had the "Asian" BBQ chicken, which came with a strange salad of watercress, black beans, mandarin oranges, fried chow mein noodles ...

Chef Beth Kizhnerman is noted for her creativity with "Fusing" of different cuisines. Sometimes the dish may have a South American accent, apparently she is currently experimenting with Asian flavors. Nevertheless, it is one of the things that makes Bistro Sofia such a great restaurant.

I know you were concerned about the atmosphere and I trust you weren't disappointed. I think it is one of the most romantic restaurants around. Set in a restored white-washed brick home, it has the distinct feeling of a french country home. When weather permits there is a beautiful patio in back adjacent to the garden where the chef cultivates the fresh herbs and vegetables that are used in her cooking.

I've always found the service to be superb at Bistro Sofia too - attentive, but not to the point of being obtrusive.

I am looking forward to this Thursday when my Book Club has the upstairs dining room reserved for our annual holiday meeting. It's really too bad you skipped dessert - the homemade ice creams and sorbets are fabulous. :wub: Again, the Chef often comes up with innovative flavors such as Earl Grey Tea with Apricots or Cinnamon Pecan Crunch.

"Never eat more than you can lift" -- Miss Piggy

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The ambiance really is nice at Bistro Sofia, especially when measured against most Greensboro restaurants. I liked the French-restaurants-around-the-world menus on the walls (Russian French bistro near the door was especially cool). The bar looked pretty cozy and like a nice place to enjoy steak frites and a glass of wine if you happen to be alone and want a nice dinner in Greensboro. My parents loved the restaurant that preceded Bistro Sofia, I think it was called Madison Park or something like that, and they used to celebrate anniversaries there...so I somewhat expected a classy interior in the newer restaurant. The gardens look cool from the outside...Dad's cheese plate had mint from the outside garden on it. I liked the Jewish star stained glass window looming out through the backyard; the Greensboro Jewish Federation office happens to be on the next street over.

Service was polite and inobtrusive.

I almost ordered the Ibarra chocolate cake with dulce de leche ice cream for dessert, but the entree was so large that I was stuffed by dessert time. I tried to lobby my mom into splitting it with me but she was too full too. The portions are pretty large, not obscenely large like Cheesecake Factory but certainly bordering in that direction. The dessert menu is pretty short but I don't know how it compares to other dessert menus in Greensboro. For DC the menu would be too short...even though the four selections looked okay, a place around DC with that few choices (one of them a cheese plate) would be a place that doesn't invest much in its pastry program. So perhaps I was unfair in not getting something to share from this menu...if there's anybody in Greensboro putting some effort into their desserts, I'd be the first to get behind it. I'm sorry I didn't know the desserts were good before showing up last week.

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You're right the dessert menu is short, but unlike most restaurants in town, everything is made from scratch. A lot of places buy pre-made desserts and then all the work is put into plate presentation, but at Bistro they make everything, which is nice, but it is a small kitchen so there's only so much you can do.

The old restaurant was called "Madisons". I never ate there but I understand it was very good but prohibitively expensive.

Incidentally, the Chef and her husband are Jewish and very involved in the Jewish community here in town.

It sounds like you had a nice dinner so I'm glad for that. Next time you'll have to give 223 a try. It is in the restaurant downtown that used to be called "The Elms". I waited tables there when I was just a child (haha). The food is completely different from Bistro Sofia - more like something you'd find in Charleston - nouveau Southern Cuisine. But it is another beautiful restaurant in an old building with tin ceilings and a copper bar.

"Never eat more than you can lift" -- Miss Piggy

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My parents know the chef and her husband personally through the Jewish community and were enthusiastic about taking me and my partner there partly because of this. I almost hit 223 for lunch on Friday but ended up at Stamey's...I didn't have enough time for a schmancier lunch, unfortunately. (Yes, I was considering Stamey's, Ghassan's, and 223 as my lunch choices. What does this say about me?)

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  • 6 months later...
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