It’s time to dive right in, folks. Richard has a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Rosé Cuvée (don’t judge) chilling and awaiting celebration in the fridge, if I can finish this post. Considering it’s 28 degrees and icy outside, there isn’t much else going on tonight.

This is the first year that I have had the luxury of participating in Triangle Restaurant Week, and let me tell you — IT’S AMAZING.

TRW runs from January 21st thru January 27th. With 79 participating restaurants, there is literally something for everyone. Each eatery features a prix fixe 3-course menu at either $10, $20, or $30 per person. All beverages are extra, unfortunately. Oops, did I say that?

On Monday night, Richard and I went to 18 Seaboard in downtown Raleigh for dinner (7pm reservations). We got to Seaboard Station a tad early, so we ventured into the pet supply shop next door. The place is called Phydeaux. Adorable already, right? They specialize in unique, gourmet, and high-quality pet products (food, treats, beds, toys, kitty litter, accessories, etc). We bought a handful of swanky cat food cans for the kitties. Look at us, such good parents… even bringing our babies treats when WE go out to dinner.

Phydeaux

When we walked into 18 Seaboard, our table was nearly ready, so we only waited for a few minutes. The wait even gave us a chance to stare longingly at the impressive (and beautifully lighted) wine collection.

Once seated, we reviewed the TRW menu and made our choices. I ordered a bottle of Ken Forrester Renegade Shiraz/Grenache 2006 — divine. Warm and spicy on the tongue, with minimal lingering tannins and a low acidity, leading to a buttery and velvety finish. An incredibly smooth and clean wine.

We received a basket of housemade warm foccacia bread bursting with rosemary flavor — crusty on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth fluffy and soft in the middle. The bread was served with a small dish of butter.

18seaboard
photo courtesy Triangle Restaurant Week

FIRST COURSE

My choice — Barham Farms cucumber and sweet pepper salad with Elodie Farms goat cheese and M&M Farms herb vinaigrette
The tangy sweetness of the peppers and herb vinaigrette paired with the goat cheese (that had a delicious, almost baked? crust on the outside) was amazing. I would never think to put goat cheese with peppers or atop a salad as light and refreshing as this!

Richard’s choice — Snead’s Ferry She Crab soup with Troy and Son’s whisky reduction
Richard’s soup was creamy and decadent. Imagine a rich cream of mushroom soup with hints of herbs (thyme, perhaps?) and topped with bits of lump crab meat.

SECOND COURSE

My choice — Wood-fired Pamlico Shrimp with Carolina blue crab Charleston Gold Hoppin’ John
The flavor of my wood-fired shrimp was lovely. The skewer holes were evident, and I could really taste the smokiness of the flames. They were succulent, tender, and cooked to perfection. The shrimp were served over a bed of rice and beans, with a bit of cooked kale. As delicious as the shrimp were, the rest of the dish was lacking something. The rice was bland and the beans could have been a bit softer. The kale was a delightful addition, but still could have used a bit more salt in the cooking process.

Richard’s choice — Pan-Seared Darlington Cow pea cake with pickled hakuri turnips and Burch farms collard greens and creole sauce
Let me begin by expressing my newfound appreciation for peas. Richard’s pan-seared “pea cake” was crusty and crunchy on the exterior (and ever so often, we bit into a nice, crispy pocket of bread crumbs tucked away in the center). The creole sauce (reduction, maybe?) was a delicious and vibrant magenta mix of tomatoes and pickled turnips. Definitely a favorite dish.

DESSERT

Richard’s choice — Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramelized apples and whiskey whipped cream
Of course, Richard nearly peed himself when I informed him that 18 Seaboard was serving sticky toffee pudding — incredible. Spot-on texture, interesting and creative plating, and topped with a little sprig of mint for color.

My choice — Hot Mug of Chocolate Cake with house made marshmallow fluff
My mug of chocolate cake was decadent from beginning to end. The fact that it was served in a mug made it quirky and fun to eat. The housemade marshmallow fluff was toasted right on the spoon, so I ate mine plain, rather than mixing it in. The cake was smothered in a rich chocolate sauce that seeped to the bottom cake, so even the last bite was warm and chocolatey!

We really enjoyed a wonderful evening at 18 Seaboard. Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable and answered all of my curious questions about the food. With 18 Seaboard being a rather upscale restaurant, I half-expected the food to be incredible and the portions to be small, leaving me wanting more! We were pleasantly surprised to receive such hearty portions (and don’t forget the complimentary foccacia!), from starters to desserts.

Thank you, 18 Seaboard. We’ll be back.

For those of you in the area, go there. You won’t be disappointed.

18 Seaboard is located at
18 Seaboard Ave #100
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 861-4318
www.18seaboard.com
Reservations? Visit www.opentable.com

Cheers!

photo (11)

By the way, this bubbly is awful.