Greenville, NC is best described as a chain restaurant wasteland, as far it comes to food. I exhausted all my research options (yelp, urbanspoon, random googling, etc) and came up with very few options for possible good food in Greenville. Seriously folks, sometimes, it’s not that easy. I even drove around the streets just looking for places. One of my colleagues had suggested Plum Tree Bistro and I had also seen it on urbanspoon, so that’s where I headed. It’s unfortunately tucked on the backside of a random stripmall. It’s a shame really because it’s quite a fabulous place.
It’s an american bistro with a female head chef. Please don’t let the outside fool you. They have a tragic sign and even more tragic neon lettered signage as well, but don’t be dismayed. Go inside! They also cater and do parties. In fact, there was a holiday party going on in back when I was there. They have a variety of meat and fresh seafood dishes, salads and other starters, specials, and homemade desserts. The chef delivered my soup to me and also asked about everything else. They really care about the food and the experience here, and it shows.
I probably should have eaten a vegetable, like perhaps a salad, but since I’m a soup nut, I got a cup of the clam and corn chowder. It actually came out in a literal cup, a mug to be exact, which was odd. It was actually a bit difficult to maneuver. This soup was ok. It wasn’t bad, but not great either. It did have tons of clams and corn and a good helping of potatoes. But the flavor was just kind of blah. And the chowder was a bit on the watery side. Later on I found out that the salads are big deals here. The chef even makes her own dressing. So go for the salad here if you’re looking for an appetizer.
There were a ton of specials that night including rack of lamb (but I’m not too into lamb), sesame seed encrusted ahi tuna (but I’m not too into tuna), a grouper catch of the day with caper sauce (but I can’t stand capers), so I had to stick with the regular menu. I wanted the hurricane scallop dish but they were out of scallops so I got the hurricane shrimp. This was a more than generous serving of lobster stuffed ravioli with lobster cream sauce topped with grilled hurricane brushed shrimp. Man, I ate it all! The shrimp were perfectly grilled with a slightly sweet and zesty hurricane marinade. The ravioli were overly stuffed with the lobster mix and the cream sauce was nice and mild so that it did not overpower the lobster inside the ravioli. It really was surprisingly delicious.
My server asked one of the chefs if there would be scallops on wednesday. He said that more scallops would come in on wednesday. Then he asked me if I had wanted to order them on this night. I told him yes. Then he insisted that I get free dessert since I didn’t get the entree I wanted. How sweet is that? I had to pick the caramel creme brulee because not only do I love creme brulee, but that chef had just been out earlier telling another table about how he had just taken the creme brulees out of the oven 30 minutes ago. So I knew it would be super fresh.
Have I eaten at any other restaurant in Greenville? Well no, not yet. Then how do I know this is the best restaurant in Greenville? For one, 98% of other restaurants here are chains. There are literally only about a handful of restaurants that are not. I know this is the best restaurant in Greenville because of the food I ate, how the owners and chefs made me feel, how evident it was that they cared about their customers, and because this restaurant would still be good, even in a big city. Even in a city like Raleigh, with tons of competition. It would definitely be up there with the big guys. I could tell that the people that eat at Plum Tree are regulars. The staff seems to know everyone by name. And they must keep coming back because it’s good food, made by good people, and not corporations. If I lived around here, I would definitely be a regular!