Never in my wildest imagination did I foresee coming to the middle of North Carolina and having one of the best meals, EVER. I mean seriously, I’m in Greenville, where chain restaurants rule the world! In my initial research of Greenville restaurants, I didn’t find out about Chef & The Farmer. While I was in Greenville and doing some additional research on urbanspoon, I found out about it. It was tricky though, as it is in the teeny town of Kinston, 30 miles from Greenville. But man, if I hadn’t discovered this place while I was here I would have been kicking myself in the ass, HARD. Chef & The Farmer is a world-class restaurant… literally in the middle of nowhere. Who’d have though? Certainly not this girl.
The executive chef and co-owner is a veteran of NYC restaurants, and you can tell. Folks, she learned her chops from Wylie Dufresne and Jean George Vongerichten. Now I don’t really know much about famous chefs of this world, but even I’ve heard of Wylie Dufresne and Jean George Vongerichten. They’re like seriously famous and world renowned. If she learned from them, then you know she knows her stuff. And damn, does she know it. The chef and the other co-owner transformed what used to be a mule stable into an amazing restaurant space. It’s even decorated with paintings by the other co-owner. It’s truly an inspirational spot.
I sat at the food bar, which is beautiful in and of itself, but which is even more amazing because it’s at the kitchen. And you get to watch the free show. I absolutely love watching the action. And there’s nothing better than literally watching your food being cooked. It’s an art form people, and every time I watch this stuff happen, it still boggles my mind. And I absolutely loved the wheat grass decorations.
Really, it was like a free dinner show. And man, is it warm! I’ve never seen so many big hunks of ribeye being cooked in my life. Just look at the size of those suckers! And I also heard them sawing more ribeyes. Yes, I said saw.
Oh the menu. Everything looked amazing. I was torn between many items. But I worked with the server and made some excellent choices. While I was eating, I was thinking about coming back the next night to try some other dishes. It almost happened. And well, it really should have. No matter how obvious it would have been that I was just there the night before.
Some complimentary bread. All of this bread is made in-house. The focaccia is baked with lavender and sprinkled with sea salt. The other bread is sourdough. The butter was dreamy and creamy. See those hunks of butter behind the wheat grass? I was that close to the ingredients!
I started with the carrot soup with citrus lump crab and crouton. Now I’m weird about carrots. I like raw carrots, I like carrot juice, but I dislike cooked carrots. During the discussion with the server, she told me it was made with cooked carrots and carrot juice. But she encouraged me to go for it. So I did. And I liked it! It definitely did have a somewhat cooked carrot taste, but I still liked it. And the crab? Amazing. And the crouton? Amazing as well!Everything about this worked. It was a perfect starter.
I was torn between ordering the fish or the scallops. The server agreed that it was a tough decision. But she said I should go with the scallops, and am I glad I did! There were three large fresh seared scallops. These just melted in my mouth! See the brown drizzle on the plate? That was bacon jus. Yeah, it was baconrrific! The orange drizzle was a pomegranate xyz. Also quite amazing. The veggies included thin strips of carrot and daikon and adorable half turnips, perfectly pan-fried. I just can’t even describe how perfectly everything went together. Everything just worked! And I savored every perfect bite.
Onto dessert! I’m usually a creme brulee nut, and they did have it on the menu. But I decided to go outside of the norm, and get this upside down apple cake. The server recommended it and said it’s definitely the most out there dessert on the menu. There was an apple cake, along with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. The ice cream is homemade! Garnished with a slice of dried apple and edible pulled sugar. Unbelievable! As was the entire meal and experience. It is really hard to believe that I had a meal of such caliber here, in the middle of nowhere. This is an amazing restaurant. It would be amazing in a big city, like NYC or San Francisco. Kinston, NC is one lucky small town!