Best Dish in North Carolina

Hendersonville chef and restauranteur Scott Adams owns and operates Blackwater Grille (, which specializes in local Southern Highland cuisine. Scott and I go to school together on Tuesday nights (we’re both earning our Masters degree in Management & Leadership), and here’s the scoop on his “real life” when not in class:

Blackwater Grille is a contender in the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s 2008 “Best Dish in North Carolina” contest (,  which requires chefs to develop a  dish using local products. Western North Carolina has several finalists this time, so for those who don’t know NC extends further west than Winston-Salem, it’s an opportunity to come taste the region for yourself.

Blackwater Grille took second place last year in the Casual Dining category, and is the only independent restaurant to be named a finalist two years in a row. Way to go, Scott and crew!

Here’s the lowdown on Blackwater Grille’s entry for Best Dish (and yes, I asked for permission to describe it–didn’t want to spill the beans or upset the apple cart, or any other potentially damaging food-related cliches):

Scott’s presentation begins with a Blackberry Salad featuring a mix of local greens and herbs, applewood smoked bacon, goat cheese from Spinning Spider Creamery (, warm blackberry butter (have mercy!) and a balsamic vinaigrette.

The main dish is a confit of rabbit with heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms and ramps (more details on each of these later), served with a side of spinach dumplings and roasted garden vegetables.

Dessert = a Napoleon made from nut breads (apple butter-walnut and pecan) layered with blackberries and strawberries grown at a local farm and berry ice cream (also made at the farm), and topped with a traditional Southern delicacy known as chocolate gravy. Don’t know about chocolate gravy? Where have you been all your life? 

I think I put on a few pounds just describing Scott’s culinary version of heaven-on-a-plate…can you imagine what the real thing tastes/smells/looks like? Let’s get on over to Blackwater Grille and see what’s cooking!


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