True Blue Butcher and Table Offers a Feast for the Eyes and the Palate
Trying to find the perfect place for a “date night” dinner is a daunting task whether it’s a first date, a night out with your significant other, a special night away from the kids with your spouse or celebrating a milestone anniversary. There are so many options, that “paralysis by analysis” can easily creep in as you weigh what places have great food, great ambiance, great service, and which place will celebrate your special dinner in the manner it deserves.
Well, I just went through this process, so I can sympathize. Yes, although I do most of my eating by myself (and with my main squeeze smartphone) or with my kids, I actually went out for a real “grown up” dinner (and no it wasn’t to a taco truck.). As I pulled out the two remaining hairs left on my Charlie Brown head trying to weigh all the options (not too fancy, not too casual, not too this, not too that) I opted for True Blue Butcher and Table, and I’m so glad I did. It was absolutely perfect in every way.
Wilmington waited anxiously for True Blue’s arrival and since the minute the doors opened, True Blue has earned a well-deserved reputation as THE place to go to for the best meats in town. Cut by hand for you to cook at home or prepared by their talented chef to enjoy in their restaurant, what you’ll get from True Blue will fuel conversation for days after your meal.
It’s been said that we eat with our eyes first and True Blue certainly gives your peepers something to feast on. The venue itself is classy without being pretentious, and has an intimate vibe that makes you want to spend time there with your special someone. It’s a beautiful place but the artistry of the food will feed your eyes in a manner that will almost make you second guess whether or not you should eat the food or just look at it.
I wanted to get a “feel” for the menu and wanted to see how the chef approached food, so I ordered several starters to get things going. My eyes feasted on the beauty delivered to the table and my senses were kicked into high gear as a smooth and creamy cauliflower souffle’ introduced itself, a beef satay and fried brussel sprouts dish showed up to join the party and a vibrant and lively Burrata and heirloom tomato dish kicked things into high gear. Each dish was every bit as beautiful as it was delicious and made me wanting more, more more.
Having sampled so much deliciousness already, the transition from starters to main course options was done out of respect for what mastery the chef was preparing and was somewhat of a challenge, to be honest. I mean, yeah, I was already full, but heck no I wasn’t ready to stop!
After careful deliberation, I realized that anything on the menu was going to be amazing and opted for the smoked pork chop. What arrived at the table has got to be the sexiest dish I’ve ever seen in Wilmington. Yes, I said it. That dish was straight up sexy! I go to restaurants of ALL types and genres, and there are some serious food artists in the Port City, but the presentation of this dish was every bit as much art at it was culinary. I think I must’ve said “wow” no less than 17 times before my first bite and I’ve honestly looked back at the photos on my phone multiple times just to see it again.
Brined for 24 hours and smoked, then finished off in the oven, this pork chop was the reason taste buds were invented. Every zone of my tongue was working overtime as texture and flavor exploded. Served with carmelized sunchokes, a pistachio puree’ and salted blackberries, this dish was pure artistry. I literally stared at the plate in awe, wondering if this was an art gallery item or if I was really supposed to eat it. Once the outer edge of the first taste bud made contact with the pork I was holding on for the ride as the flavors exploded with each bite.
Anyone who knows food knows that True Blue Butcher and Table Wilmington is a great restaurant, but I’m here to tell you that it’s far beyond that. There’s definite passion on the plates at True Blue and they don’t just serve you a meal, they serve you an experience. Isn’t that why we all go to restaurants in the first place? The smallest details, the unbridled embrace of flavor and the ability to consistently serve masterful food are what True Blue is all about.
Days after the fact, I’m still on Cloud 9 after going to True Blue. If you have a special occasion coming up, or just want to go out with your special someone or friends for an exceptional culinary experience you’ve gotta stop in there. They’ll remind you why YOUR taste buds were invented!
Contributing blogger: Ed Walsh grew up in Las Vegas, the son of an accomplished chef. Traipsing all over the world to more than 35 countries during a 21 year Marine Corps career allowed Ed to sample and appreciate all types of food from grass hut family dining to Michelin star rated fine dining restaurants. “I know my way around a dinner plate and I just like what I like,” he says. Asked what his absolute favorite dish from all of his international travels was, Ed quickly says it was his Mom’s spaghetti. Ed is single, and loves long romantic walks to the taco truck. He also loves spending time with awesome food – almost as much as he enjoys spending time with his awesome kids.