Triangle Restaurant Week is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants. Participating restaurants offer special three-course menu options and fixed pricing, a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to indulge in the area’s finest cuisine!
I have made it a personal goal to participate in Triangle Restaurant Week every year. As soon as the dates are rolled out, I immediately pencil it in my calendar and pray that I’m able to make it happen. If you remember, last June we went to Bida Manda during Restaurant Week (and it remains one of our favorite restaurants). This year we decided to make reservations at 18 Seaboard. Years ago I ate at 18 Seaboard with a friend and I’ve always wanted to go back with Big Guy. 18 Seaboard is owned by the same group that owns another one of our favorite restaurants, Cantina 18 (by the way, if you’ve never been and you live in the Raleigh area – go! – the best sangria ever).
As usual, Triangle Restaurant Week did not disappoint.
Chilled carrot soup with garden pea oil and radish salad
N.C. fresh lettuce with holly grove goat cheese, sugar snaps, blueberries and M&M Farms herb vinaigrette
Heritage Farms pork terrine with mustard, pickles and grilled bread
Big Guy started with the soup and I obviously had to try a spoonful. Great flavor and texture! You could really taste the pea oil. I started with the salad and there is absolutely nothing better than fresh, local lettuce. So crisp! The sugar snap peas were a welcome addition and goat cheese makes everything better.
12 hr braised pork cheek with sautéed spinach, Carolina Plantation hoppin john and Poblano cream
Spring Vegetable Lasagna with Johnson Farms squash, zucchini, peas, and house herbed ricotta
Pamlico Sound shrimp with duck fat grits, Johnston County asparagus and smoked bacon butter
It took us a while to decide which entrees to order – we both were eyeing the pork and the shrimp – but Big Guy ended up with the shrimp. The grits were surprisingly sweet, which I loved, but I think it threw Big Guy for a loop. I wish the shrimp would have had a little bit of a sear on them for some color. The pork cheek was amazing. Seriously one of the best parts of a pig (sorry, it’s true). I loved the combo of the rice, spinach and pork but when eaten alone, the rice was rather bland. Not to mention this was a huge portion.
Banana Pudding Sandwich w/ vanilla wafers
Hot Mug of Chocolate Cake w/ marshmallow fluff
Lemon crème brulee w/ coconut macaroon
My favorite part of this dinner – dessert! I am typically a chocolate girl so I surprised us both by not ordering the chocolate cake mug. But I am so glad I didn’t go my usual route. I’ve been on a lemon kick lately and I just can’t get enough. This might be one of my favorite desserts ever. I am obsessed with the lemon + coconut combo now and I really want to recreate this sweet treat. Big Guy ordered the banana pudding sandwich and while the banana pudding was a strong contender against any Grandmama’s puddin’ – the vanilla cookies just weren’t a favorite.
We left full – but not overly stuffed – and completely happy. While I can’t say that 18 Seaboard is my new favorite restaurant, we both really enjoyed dining on three courses at a restaurant we had never been to together.
And now I have to wait patiently until the next restaurant week rolls around…