I've tended to find that even mid-week, there can be a wait for a table during the busiest dinner hours -- a sign of how well locals have taken to Amy Tornquist's restaurant at the edge of Watts-Hillandale.
One of the things that keeps visitors coming back is the refresh of the menu, a quarterly event that brings new ideas and tastes from the kitchen to the tables.
And Watts Grocery has launched its winter menu -- though with it comes the news that the late-night hours and menu have ceased.
Tornquist told BCR that the restaurant will still be serving dinner until 10pm every night, but that at least for now, the post-10pm late night menu and hours would be on hiatus.
"I didn't think we truly knocked it out of the park late night," Tornquist told BCR in an email, citing the lack of a "consistent crowd" and demand as also factoring in to the change.
"I wasn't convinced that we would get enough response, even if it was totally amazing all the time," she noted, adding that the return didn't seem worth it for the imposition the late-night hours put on the restaurant's limited staff.
With that caveat, the winter menu looks pretty good. Among the new additions:
- At lunch, an "Old South Fish & Chips" with buttermilk and cornmeal catfish; a yellowfin tuna sandwich; Jeremy's Philadelphia steak sandwich; and Zuke's country pate on a buttered baguette, plus a grilled portabello sandwich.
- Dinner appetizers additions include an avocado and pink grapefruit salad; fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade; a "raw, pickled, and smoked plate" with deviled ham, deviled eggs, and house charcuterie; and a winter cheese plate.
- Dinner entree adds include molasses barbecued pork ribs; roast poulet "rouge de Piedmont" with Lee Brothers’ pimento cheese potato gratin and pecan pan sauce; and red wine braised lamb shanks over Sea Island pea ragout. Pimento cheese potato gratin and chipotle mashed sweet potatoes are among the new side options.
- Brunch stays fairly consistent, with a weekly farmer's scramble (eggs with potatoes, vegetables and house-cured meat) and Lilybet's toasted pimento cheese sandwich the big additions.
- Not to be left out: dessert! "Old School" banana pudding, warm spiced apples with ice cream, flourless chocolate cake with espresso ice cream and a caramel layer cake are just some of the seasonal options.
(Hat tip to the blog "Eating in Raleigh" for the news.)