This past weekend I went down to North Carolina to visit the parents and for two days, my dad and I were in Raleigh. This was my first time ever being in Raleigh and I did not get to see much of the city, but I did eat at a great restaurant called Relish Café & Bar. Relish is a cute “new Southern” style restaurant that features comfort food. The extra bonus about Relish is that they also have a cute gourmet retail market. I’m not a honey person, but they had so many unique flavors of honey, I was really tempted to try some.
Relish has two menus: a main menu and then a test kitchen menu. Items on the test kitchen menu are things they are testing out before adding to the main menu or scrapping them altogether. I ordered fried green tomatoes from the main menu/ because any time I am in the South and at a place that sells them, I must order. And these fried green tomatoes did not disappoint. My dad’s friends who suggested Relish in the first place ordered off the Test Kitchen menu. First Tip: Order off the test kitchen menu.
The boiled peanut hummus is AMAZING. It’s topped with pepper jelly. This was my first time having peppered jelly, but I am hooked and will be purchasing a jar very soon.
I’ve never had avocado fries either, but dipped in jalapeno ranch: TASTY.
Another favorite off the test kitchen menu – the Buffalo Chicken Mac. Imagine a small hot skillet coming to you bubbling over with ooey, gooey yummy cheese. Take a forkful of this mac and cheese and get hit with a powerful punch of spice. If you aren’t a fan of spicy food, don’t order this. But good news, they have seven other skillet mac & cheeses to try. But if you love buffalo sauce and spicy mixed with cheddar and blue cheese, ORDER IT. You will NOT be disappointed.
For dinner I ordered the shrimp and grits. I have to say I was a little disappointed and didn’t even finish my meal. Although the dish says it comes with cheddar cheese grits, I did not taste any cheese. Maybe the chef forgot. The only thing that saved my dish was the ample amount of shrimp and real bacon bits. Once I realized my grits didn’t have cheese, I promptly ate out all the shrimp and bacon. Bacon saves the day every time.
I did not order any dessert. Shocking because they had fresh doughnuts that are made-to-order and banana pudding a jar. I totally missed those two items on the menu.
Why you should go? The test kitchen menu offers unique, savory options. Multiple skillet mac & cheese options. And the cute market store.
Watch out for…snotty waitresses. Our waitress did not seem to be in the best of moods. She seemed a little irritated when we asked questions about menu items and brought down the whole experience a little bit.
Despite the waitress and non-cheesy, cheese grits, I would TOTALLY go back to relish again. I love any place that offers a twist to a traditional cuisine and I didn’t get to try the fried black eyed peas or dessert.
Go! You won’t be disappointed.