Friday, September 28, 2007

Watts Grocery: Dessert

I fixed dinner for a friend tonight: pasta w/ broccoli rabe and Italian sausage and a tomato salad (sliced heirlooms drizzled w/ olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper). Then for dessert we decided to try the newly opened Watts Grocery on Broad Street.

The place is adorable. The colors are invitingly soft blues and greens with some beige, but my fav are the light fixtures -- I love the red hanging lamps! It is modern without being sterile or cold. You can go casual or you can dress up. I tend to dress up because where else am I going to wear silk Prada heels that I got on sale if not out to dinner? Tonight I was wearing jeans however.

The bar is atop a display case of family photos and memorabilia from an old Durham family. While sipping your drink, you can look at an invitation to the January 1941, Inaugural of FDR. My grandfather liked to say that was the last time he voted Democrat. Fortunately the rest of the family didn't follow his lead! Anyway, it is a bit of local flavor, so to speak, without being tacky or kitsch.

I had a chocolate pudding layer cake which was basically chocolate cake with a wonderful, homemade chocolate pudding oozing from between the layers. It was dark, rich chocolate that emphasized the chocolatey flavor by not being overly sweet. A dollop of fresh whipped cream was on the side.

My friend had the apple and blackberry crostata. The tart apples and sweet berries nicely complemented one another. The crust was flaky, buttery, and not at all heavy. It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I perused the other menus while I was there. They serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The prices are in the $8 range. Lunch is served during the week and the prices are also in the $8 range. Dinner is a bit pricier. The entrees looked very tasty. They are in the $16 range. The steak was $19. My favorite description on the menu was for a salad of butternut squash, spiced pecans, and Stilton in a balsamic vinaigrette. That sounds good to me!

Winter squash and balsamic are a wonderful marriage. One time I made a roasted acorn squash salad with toasted hazelnuts and a balsamic reduction only to find out later that my hapless date loathed squash. He ate every bite that night though. Hahaha!

I cannot wait to try Watts Grocery again.


Anonymous said...

We ate dinner there tonight for our 15th anniversary after learning they'd opened through this blog. I had the butternut squash salad and I think it lived up to expectations set forth here. Nicely sized crumbles of cheese, as there were in the succotash cakes that I had, which were subtle and balanced. See their website for the list of ingredients, and they were as promised. Fresh, local, subtle, masterful. I tempted fate and the limits of my own appetite by getting the Krispy Kreme bread pudding (another local delicacy put to a new context). Brown sugar glaze in a small ramekin put it out of this world. I keep wearing out "delicate" and "subtle," but darn it, they are apt here as well.

My mate had the fig compote and ham as a starter--not too salty, nice blend of sweetness of ham and the complexity of the figs. For the entree: rockfish muddle with hushpuppies in a bacon broth. Ate every drop.

For dessert: coconut panna cotta with apricot sauce.

I'll be back as soon as I can.

Oh--coffee from Joe Van Gogh's (a neighboring biz) and Languedoc Chateau du Luc wine were also hits, well priced.

Service was well timed and not fussy, we were seated promptly, and I saw no evidence of first weekend jitters. A hit.

durhamfood said...

We've been twice already, and I'll be back for lunch this week. Definitely on my Durham A list.

Review at

Kelly said...

Oh I cannot wait to go back! Thx for the info, friends!