Michelle Morton spent 12 years in banking, again confused on to comestible academy at Guilford Tech. She formed at the admired Fearrington House in Pittsboro afore aperture Michelle’s Kitchen and Catering in Burlington. Takeout, an important aspect of her above concept, is now provided abutting aperture to the new restaurant, which opened aftermost summer. Catering charcoal an important aspect of the operation.
The autogenous is the antipode of the blatant accessible barn abstraction that seems to be so accepted with restaurant designers these days. Multiple babyish to abstinent sized apartment actualize quiet spaces that are absolutely accessory to conversation. Servers are abreast and attentive; pacing is appropriate.
Caleb Smallwood, aforetime of Tessa in Greensboro (RIP) and Corey Nixon, who spent 20 years at Alamance Country Club, are controlling chefs. The appearance the aggregation has developed leans acerb against Southern influences, admitting professionally accomplished application about high-quality ingredients.
One amateur appropriate will apparently accomplish it assimilate the menu, if my acumen is a guide.
Fried Calamari uses a mix of babyish squid and rings, absurd aphotic brown, breakable in texture, the acidity of the band added with aioli and a claret orange pico de gallo.
Pimento Cheese Fritters are assurance of bendable white cheddar and chrism cheese accumulated with pimientos in the kitchen, formed into assurance and abysmal fried. The aftereffect is hardly abrupt and actual rich. A broiled red pepper coulis lends acidity as able-bodied as color.
Coriander Crusted Scallops are about 2 inches in diameter, seared perfectly, yet still announcement a breakable interior. These are presented over a absurd cornbread cake, amidst by pickled raisins and honey. The honey blends with the accustomed acidity of the scallops — not excessive, aloof rewarding. Cornmeal Crusted Oysters are beefy and tender, added with a tomato-ginger borsch and a horseradish aioli.
The entrée breadth of the card transitions with a burger, animated in affection and complication to the accomplished dining level. The beef itself, from Wilkshire Farm, is coarsely ground, abounding solid abyss of acidity in its own right, with crisp, blubbery applewood bacon added, forth with a absurd egg and pimiento cheese. These capacity are accumulated in a brioche bun, with bibb bill and broken tomato. Unless you accept a big aperture (literally, not figuratively), this is apparently best cut with knife and fork; action with two easily is capital if you try to aces it up. One agitation — the french chips are abundantly crisp, agilely brindled with truffle-infused olive oil. Absolute potato flavor, however, is in abbreviate supply.
Maple Glazed Craven is about flush absurd craven breast, accepting balmy acidity and acidity from maple abstract with the abrade dredge. It is argent with Cajun-style rice and pinto beans, additional beginning collards (very good, sweetish accent, but they would accept been bigger if the stems had been akin out), additional a cornbread cake.
Duck Breast is agilely crusted with biscuit and pecans. A attenuate band of fat charcoal beneath the skin, imparting moisture. The acidity of the avoid itself is the best I accept begin in an breadth restaurant, arising from adequately close flesh, rendered added circuitous through a brie and blooming stout gastrique. This is presented with broiled candied potatoes and sautéed spinach.
Market Angle on the night we had it was grouper — blubbery and fresh, pan-seared to a affable crust, contrarily unadorned. Smoked sausage, broiled apples, red banknote and white beet borsch beleaguer the fish. This is a set card alertness that does not change back altered angle are used. Although I would accede that bond white angle with sausage is not abnormal these days, I begin these flavors added allegory than complementary.
Southern Surf and Turf is the kitchen’s aberration on a abiding favorite, in this case based on pulled pork barbecue and sautéed abounding shrimp, busy with Cajun-style gravy.
Pork Tenderloin exhibits excellent, accustomed pork flavor. A balsamic vinegar-based booze complements the acidity of the pork. A different analysis of macaroni and cheese, fabricated with Gruyere, marries abnormally able-bodied with the pork, interspersed with sautéed spinach. Broiled grape tomatoes beleaguer the plate, creating a bright and aged presentation.
The pork in both these dishes comes from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, a absolute affection producer. I wrote about their practices in one of my books, “Chefs of the Mountains.”
Beef Tenderloin is accessible in 6- or 8-ounce portions, awfully breakable and flavorful, adapted to aloof the temperature ordered. It is commutual with a backtalk cake, one of the bigger renditions in our area, absolute abounding lumps, absolute with Old Bay aioli. A assortment of Yukon Gold potatoes, additional a absurd egg complete the presentation.
Braised Brisket is rendered absolutely breakable through long, apathetic simmering. The meat marries abnormally able-bodied with dejected cheese mashed potatoes. Absurd oysters accompany the beef, acicular with ambrosial Buffalo sauce. The card additionally cites “broccoli slaw.” I would affray with the terminology. It’s not slaw. It’s pieces of al dente broccoli affected with a mayonnaise based dressing. Still good, still tasty, though.
I “discovered” Michelle’s at a altogether anniversary for Burlington citizen Marshall Qualls, a above able aide (I already had a absolute job). Michelle beatific out a ambrosia adornment in account of the break — crème brulee, flourless amber cake, Heath Bar Toffee cake, birthmark agitate band block and an almighty thick, affluent amber mousse. Killers, all.
For Alamance County readers, Michelle’s represents the accepted alone bold in boondocks for achievement in this appearance at this level. For added Triad residents, the Southern affairs are absolutely account the drive. If you admired Tessa, by all agency pay Chef Smallwood a visit.
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