I checked another restaurant off my Restaurant “Bucket List” last night! This restaurant first made it to my list thanks to Big Guy…and I didn’t even take him to dinner with me. (But that’s just an excuse to go again.) And then it got a star by it’s name on my list when it was featured in Southern Living a month or so ago. Last night I went with two girlfriends to celebrate a birthday. And it totally lived up to the hype. If you want to go – make reservations up to two weeks in advance – the place is a hot spot right now.
Of course we started with a round of drinks. I typically go for a glass for bubbles when I first arrive at a restaurant but I had heard rumors that their cocktails were amazing. And amazing they were.
We all ordered a different drink and it was so fun to taste all the libations.
Flower of Pomona – vodka, lemon, basil, moscato d’asti, orange blossom water
Incredibly refreshing and the orange blossom water was the unexpected flavor that really made me love the drink. And obviously I love herbs in any drink.
Nilsson’s Cure – coconut infused rum, lime, coconut water, egg white
I love anything coconut-flavored and the birthday girl really enjoyed this cocktail. Super light but the flavor held on to your tongue thanks to the frothy egg white.
Sandhills Smach - bourbon, peach, lemon, mint
Oh, bourbon. I finally found a bourbon drink that didn’t make me want to run and find a bottle of water. While I would never order this drink, I can totally see why a bourbon-lover would be a fan of this cocktail.
Stanbury is a small plates restaurant (so don’t go with friends you don’t share well with) but we all started with our own salad.
Bibb Lettuce … radish, fine herbs, sherry vinaigrette
Such a fresh salad! I loved the light and bright the flavors of the vinaigrette. I have to be honest, I had a little salad-envy at first but ultimately, this lighter salad was all I really needed.
The other ladies ordered the Grilled Romaine … caesar dressing, nicoise olive, crouton, white anchovy and it was delicious. The dressing was incredible and had so much flavor.
For three ladies, we ordered five small plates per the advice from our server. (p.s. The service was fantastic!) The kitchen was really on top of things and sent the food out in shifts – we would have been so overwhelmed had all five arrived at the same time. With dinner, we all shared a bottle of red wine that was new to their wine list.
This bottle of red is a Cabernet Sauvignon Blend from the Bonny Doon Vineyard. I would highly recommend this wine – it was very food-friendly.
Crostini … grilled zucchini, basil, whipped ricotta, lemon, Boulted baguette
Carbs and cheese, you can’t really go wrong. I adore zucchini but this was unlike any zucchini I had ever tasted. And the whipped ricotta was smooth and perfectly balanced by the fresh herbs. One of my favorite bites of the night.
Green Beans… smoked blue fish, green goddess, tomato, crispy shallot
I was hesitant about this dish. I mean, who orders green beans at a restaurant? It just seems boring to me. But these were not boring. They were unlike any green beans I had ever had. Think green bean casserole at Thanksgiving but super fancied up. The flavor of the smoked blue fish was intense but perfect and I loved the crispy onion bits that were hiding in every bite.
Fried Oysters … cucumber, daikon, carrot, cilantro, sriracha mayo
Talk about a perfect flavor combination. And the textures were perfect – crunchy fried oysters with a tender, succulent inside paired with slightly wilted veggies and a smooth yet spicy sauce.
Roasted Marrow … parsley, shallot, caper, Boulted bread
You read that right, roasted bone marrow. I’m fairly certain the other two ladies questioned my decision to order this plate but I knew I was onto something. When you slather the bone marrow on the bread it’s basically the same as spreading on a butter – but it’s ten times better and more flavorful. The herb salad served on the side added a pop of freshness if the marrow was a little rich for your taste buds.
Grilled Sirloin … charred eggplant, roasted pepper, sheep feta, crispy shallot
This was probably the least memorable of all the dishes – but I’m fairly certain that is because it was plate number six and we were rather full at this point. The beef was cooked to perfection, however, and I really enjoyed tasting the sheep feta.
Now I have to give you some of the downfalls – the restaurant was warm. Like really warm. And stuffy. It has a garage door that opens making it open air. I would typically love this but it was in the 90s yesterday and it just didn’t make the temperature very comfortable – I really think it was cooler outside. And there were gnats. But I blame that on the open-air, warm atmosphere.
Back to the good stuff – I would go back tomorrow despite the two negatives. The food was fantastic, the service was perfect and the drinks were amazing.
You can make reservations up to 2 weeks in advance, and I highly recommend making reservations. Or getting there super early.
Stanbury is truly a place for coming together and sharing.