Where: Watts Grocery, 1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC, 27705
GF Menu: No.
What I ate: Cup of Catfish Gumbo + Dinner Special of Pan-Seared Flounder on Grits + “Listen to your Elders” Cocktail
How to order it: The menu may change based on what is in season and locally-grown. Ask your server to help you identify Gluten-Free menu options. My very helpful server checked with the kitchen to ensure that the gumbo broth did not contain any gluten and that the flounder was not breaded.
What it looks like:
This picture doesn’t do it justice! The beautiful goodies in this gumbo are waiting in the middle of the bowl just under the surface. Delicate chunks of catfish hobnob with andouille sausage, red kidney beans, celery, green pepper, red pepper, onions, and an exquisite blend of seasonings. I could eat this warming (but not fiery) bowl of goodness throughout the year.
A pan-seared fillet of fresh NC flounder luxuriated on a collection of sauteed carrots and pea shoots. I had never tasted pea shoots before, so they were a delightfully surprising addition.
Underneath the fish was a hearty portion of yellow corn grits blended with creamed corn, which gave the dish a delicate, natural sweetness.
The crowning glory was – are you ready for this? – a large pat of bacon and shiitake mushroom butter. Say it with me: “mmmmmmmm.”
Last, but not least, the signature cocktail was called “Listen to Your Elders.” It contained a unique blend of elderflower syrup and Hendrick’s Gin, topped with prosecco, which is a light and sparkling Italian wine. This Gluten-Free beverage was not too sweet, and the taste was satisfyingly clean. Click HERE to see a helpful article from Celiac.com on Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages.
Green Note: This is a farm-to-table establishment. The Watts website explains:
Amy Tornquist has built a reputation for seasonal cooking with local ingredients and is recognized for her commitment to sustainable agriculture.
Featuring her favorite local foods by the forkful – many raised, caught, smoked, pickled, or cured within a two-hour radius – Amy weaves them into her cooking and the result is an updated, distinctive take on North Carolina cuisine.
As the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says, “Goodness grows in North Carolina!”