One of my favorite things about travel is all the new food and dishes I get to try. It’s funny how even within our own country there are different cuisines depending on which state you are in. This is definitely the case when visiting the South. I was anticipating a lot of fried foods, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover a vast amount of fresh dishes and seafood. During our visit to Wilmington, we not only had a ton of fun, but we ate extremely well! Here are just a few of the yummy places to eat in Wilmington and in Wrightsville Beach.
EAST Oceanfront Dining at Blockade Runner Resort. This was probably my favorite single entree on my entire trip back East! Executive Chef Jessica Cabo, from Hell’s Kitchen, did some phenomenal things with seasonal produce, and I still dream about the Avocado Tostada. I’ve even tried to recreate it, but it’s just not the same.
For one heck of a dining experience, visit PinPoint Restaurant. Keith and I had the pleasure of visiting with Chef Dean Neff, who treated us to the meal of our lives. Chef Dean Neff’s menu changes daily and features local seasonal offerings from Wilmington’s farmers, fishermen, oystermen, and crabbers as much as possible. He gave us a taste of course after course so I’ll just give you the rundown. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
We started our meal with Baked Oysters, which were a great introduction to oysters, for me. If you’re unsure if you’ll like oysters, this is the way to go. The light breading helps with any texture issues you might have.
I told Chef I would be bold and try raw oysters and I’m glad I did. He gave three different sauces to try them with and the citrus shaved ice was by far the way to go. The little bit of crunch plus citrus helped to balance the textures.
The Butterbean Hummus is another one of those dishes that I dream about. Never in my life had I imagined a hummus made from butterbeans but it’s by far my favorite hummus ever! Amazing!
Before getting to your entree, warm your belly with the Candy Roaster Squash Soup. Fantastic flavor with a nice crunch of pepitas.
For more of a sweet salad, you can’t go wrong with the Local Greens and Winesap Apple Salad. The smoked apple butter adds some yummy sweetness and paired with candied pecans – yum!
Chef Dean’s salad recommendation was the Brasstown Shoyu Marinated Steak Salad and this is fantastic for more of a savory salad, although do get bits of mango along with shaved cabbage, sweet peppers, radish and a soy-peanut vinaigrette. This salad would be an excellent entree.
It’s finally time to get to the entrees! The Grilled Carolina Heritage Pork Chop comes with sweet potato, seared greens, apple mostarda, boiled peanut jus, and crispy sage. It’s cooked to perfection!
I had my first taste of catfish at Pinpoint, and it was so delish! The Cornmeal Crusted NC Catfish pairs with leek & corn creamed grits, crisp okra (right up Keith’s alley), mushrooms, green tomato slaw, and preserved lemon brown butter. Talk about a true Southern dish!
You can’t leave without dessert and I got a little taste of each of the offerings. Between the Flourless Brownie Sundae, Key Lime Pie and whatever the seasonal tart is, you’re going to leave with a full and happy belly.
Now that you’ve seen much of the PinPoint Restaurant menu, it’s time to move onto some other Wilmington options. For a fun atmosphere, dine on the Riverwalk at Pilot House. For a true low country entree, go for the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with low country beurre blanc rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables.
Keith and I love a good brie so we shared the crab cake and the Almond Crusted Brie. It was enough to fill the both of us, and we couldn’t pass up the brie cheese rolled in crushed almonds, baked, topped with port wine and fig sauce with Granny Smith Apples and lavash crackers!
If you plan to head to the Thalian Hall Theatre for Performing Arts, you can make things easy by grabbing dinner right across the street at Cousins Italian Deli. They’re typically not open for dinner, but on theatre nights they open up with a prix fix menu. It’s a BYOB or wine type of meal and they work like a well-oiled machine. The food comes out fast which is really nice because they help get you to the theatre on time.
There are so many delicious dishes to be had in Wilmington so I hope I’ve given you a few good ideas for your next visit!