Sunday, March 16, 2008


As my readers can guess from reading this blog, going to a restaurant for the first time is one of the most exciting things that I do, particularly if I have some reason to suspect that it will be good. Friday night, I went to Piedmont for the first time. Two of the owners are originally from Federal, so I didn't actually need the recommendations I'd gathered to know it would be great.

It's a comparatively small restaurant and the tables are spaced fairly far apart, which makes conversation practical. They do have tables upstairs, so do request the lower floor when making reservations if that's a concern.

We started out by sharing the cheese plate, which came with delicious nut-filled bread served with French le lingot, made with goat's milk and topped with honeycomb. It also had Spanish mahon, made from raw cow's milk and topped with dried cherries. The North Carolinian hickory grove cheese came with pecans. I believe the mahon was my favorite and had the sharpest flavor, but the le lingot was also awesome.

I didn't taste this North Carolina striped bass that one of my friends was patient enough to let me photograph, but I got the impression that it was as good as it looks. The green beans and yukon gold puree with marsala jus looked particularly good to me.

I had a hard time deciding what to order, because they had roast duck and an enticing entree of butternut squash risotto with apples, goat cheese and pecans. It would have been my second meal of goat cheese for the day and that was hard to pass up, but instead, I picked black pepper tagliatelle pasta with parsnips, roasted garlic, kale and parmesan. I think the parmesan was what sold it for me, but I also knew I liked all of the other ingredients. Kale is a wonderful leafy green vegetable if it isn't ruined with too much vinegar. Whole cloves of roasted garlic covered with parmesan are heavenly. It's always nice having a hard time deciding due to a plethora of fine choices rather than contemplating which undesirable side one can live with most easily.

For dessert, I got one one of my friends to split two desserts with me, because I couldn't decide on that either. We shared the orange creme fraiche panna cotta with short bread cookies. It was a smooth and creamy custard with subtle orange flavor.

I also wanted to try the granita, because I made it several months ago. I was delighted that it tasted exactly the same. Considering what a pain it was to make, I appreciated that this cup of frozen lemon goodness was worth every penny of $5 to get the coarse-icy texture. It also reminded me that I need to try making lemon sorbet soon.

At the other end of the table, my Hippest Friend got the zabaglione with amaretti cookies. Our waitress brought out extra cookies, fresh and hot out of the oven. I have mixed feelings about almond flavoring and don't like marizpan, but the amaretti cookies were stunningly good.


  1. hi leonore. i ate there when i visited in november. i loved it! had a great cocktail (a manhattan maybe), appetizer, main and dessert. all yum! and piedmonte being my favorite area in all of italy - i had high expectations. glad you liked it. hope you are doing well! -sara (from swivel)

  2. That panna cotta is excellent, one of the best I've had.

  3. @swoodie It's great to hear from you, Sara! I definitely enjoyed it and hope to go back soon.

    @durhamfood I believe this was my first panna cotta, because I didn't have a chance to try it at Watts Grocery before they took it off the menu. I look forward to many more. :)

  4. This is a great place for brunch as well! I went on a Sunday and they had a folkish type band playing which I enjoyed listening to.