by Eric Ginsburg
It’s no surprise to anyone familiar with Spring House Chef Jim Grandinetti that Battledish Winston-Salem participants ranked his surf-and-turf meal as the best. Grandinetti placed second in the Fire in the Triad competition last year, and the lobster/crab/filet mignon dish was so well executed that Battledish participants looped back to gorge on it a second time.
It would be difficult to call the event — a walking tour of six food and six drink options at a variety of downtown Winston-Salem restaurants — anything but a success. Is there a better way to spend a balmy Saturday than slowly meandering from meal to drink to meal?
My friend and I worked our way backwards through the tour, a wise scheme to avoid crowds but by the end, the surf and turf had all been devoured. Still, we walked away more than satisfied.
Battledish involves voting on the best dishes based on several criteria, and my choices didn’t line up perfectly with popular opinion. The blood-orange margarita at Small Batch Beer Co. was more interesting and enjoyable than the Spring House margarita even though the drinks placed third and first respectively.
We tried every Battledish option except the surf and turf, agreeing that the braised North Carolina pork-belly dish at the Carolina Tap Room deserved the top honors for presentation, taste and side pairings. I didn’t even realize until much later that it was the craftsmanship of hot-dog cart operator Stuart Ford using a borrowed kitchen. Well done!
We also lauded second place winner, Artisan Restaurant, for its duck on lobster and leek bread pudding, a deliciously inventive plate. We agreed the “Head Trip” drink at Jeffrey Adams might be the first thing we’d return to try again. We enjoyed Foothills and laughed that Small Batch placed a carrot with its rabbit entrée. Still, the main endorsement belongs to Dishcrawl for the city’s first Battledish event.