While we were in the Conover, North Carolina area, Ralph and Patricia Hatch of Sweet Tea B&B took us all around town to some of the best spots. On our first day they took us to the lovely Fresh Chef for dinner. If you want to see what our first day in Conover was like, check out this video…
We traveled to Conover during the dreaded pandemic, so they were at reduced capacity with masks required. With all of those strict state enforced guidelines, they were still filled (at their reduced capacity) with happy looking customers.
We had the option to sit outside, but with the North Carolina heat we opted for a booth inside.
We left our meal up to owner, Kelly, and he hooked us up from start to finish. To begin we had two starters and thank goodness we had some help on this dinner journey. Usually it’s just the two J’s eating all of the yummy food, so hallelujah for Patricia and Ralph!
Our first starter was the fresh guacamole and chips. It was fresh and delicious!
The second starter was the Fresh Chef duo dip. Usually it’s served with guac and pimento cheese, but since we already had the yummy guacamole, Kelly served us the pimento cheese and spinach artichoke dip.
Jenni would consider herself a spin dip connoisseur, and this one was special! Fresh Chef takes the classic spinach artichoke dip, makes it thicker with some cheese and adds jalapeños. It’s a great pairing to some perfectly salted corn chips.
Fresh Chef owner, Kelly, was stoke that we trusted him to pick our meals, and he knew exactly what he wanted to serve. For Joanie B. it was the shrimp and grits.
We know, doesn’t seem very original does it? A restaurant in the South serving shrimp and grits. Oooohhh.
But, y’all, Fresh Chef has turned this classic on its head.
There are typically two camps for shrimp and grits. First is Charleston, which is generally lighter in color and flavor. It’s very distinctly shrimp AND grits. Two separate entities on one plate.
Then you have New Orlean’s style, which is typically more flavorful, bold and darker in color. NOLA style also feels more like a marriage between the shrimp and grits versus just shrimp on top of grits.
Fresh Chef has taken both styles and brought them together for something entirely new. The grits are cheesy, and the sauce is bold and thick and married together. A very unique experience. While delicious, it’s also very rich and heavy.
The second entree was on the lighter side and Jenni B. devoured it.
Four buttery, perfectly looked scallops served with fresh veggies and a side of grits. These scallops were some of the juiciest, most perfect scallops we’ve ever had, and we live along the Gulf of Mexico! But here’s the thing about these little beauties… you can have the highest quality and freshest scallops to work with, but the way you cook them means everything.
Fresh Chef took these meaty scallops, seasoned them just enough to enhance their natural flavor, and seared them to utter perfection. They melted as soon as we put them in our mouths with that rich flavor. SO. GOOD.
Ralph and Patricia stuck with their usual (ribs for Ralph and grilled herb shrimp for Patricia), which we loved! We always say that you can tell how much the locals like a restaurant based on how they look at the menu.
If they stare longingly at the page it’s almost like that blank stare you get when you’ve opened the refrigerator for the fourth time looking for that afternoon snack. Everything’s okay but nothing’s great and you’re just not sure which mediocre dish you want to go with.
But, if they take the menu from the waiter with only a quick glance or never opening it at all then you know they found something that makes their tastebuds sing. Those are the kind of places we like to go to!
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