Local Eats: Watt's Grocery - Durham, NC


I'd heard so many good things about Watt's from everyone who had ever eaten there, so I thought it was time for my Em and I to go have a nice night out.

I have a hard time composing my thoughts when I write about food because I don't think the English language has enough words for describing flavors/textures/temperatures/essence. I use the same adjectives over and over again in my writing and I just wish there were better words for what I'm trying to say. It all comes down to how wonderful our experience was at Watt's Grocery.

Arugula and Strawberry Salad
This really is such a sign in NC that summer is almost here. Strawberries, are one of the few fruit that we grow really well in NC and restaurants celebrate them as soon as they come in season. The combination with the slightly spicy arugula is so nice.

Country Ham Tart - with caramelized apples, shallots, arugula and house made crème fraiche
We didn't order this but our server thought we should give it a try so he brought it out for us anyways. I'm so glad he did. The local pork and the caramelized apple go so well together and you really wish you could have more after your last bite. Salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and then the creme fraiche to cool it down and smooth it over.

Winter Salad - Arugula, oven-roasted tomatoes, fried shallots, with dijon vinaigrette
I love the idea of this dish. Put the things on a salad that are in season in our region and make a beautiful salad out of it. The canned oven-roasted tomatoes go so well with the salad that we started doing it at home.

Clam Fritters - with seaside tartar sauce and cole slaw
Just the thought of these makes my mouth water. I pretended at the beginning of this meal that I wasn't going to get anything fried so I could splurge my cholesterol intake for the main course, but of course, we had to get clam fritters. What on EARTH was I thinking to even question not ordering these. Fried to flakey perfection, these huge fritters are good enough to make a meal out of them. And by the way, Watt's also gives you plenty to go around.

Tasso Seafood Stew - shrimp, mussels, clams, caramelized onion, roasted tomato, house-cured tasso, and white beans garnished with roasted garlic crostini
Emily's dish was very rich in flavor with tons of different seafood swimming around in the rich bean based broth. Unfortunately, I was so full I couldn't fully enjoy our main courses. Not that I didn't eat everything on my plate though.

Watts' Pork and Peas - Sea Island Peas, duck confit, grilled pork belly, wilted greens, and pickled beets

I wanted to give both of these pictures to you because the dish was really stacked high and it was so pretty to look at from above as well. You could say that this is probably the most unhealthy dish on the menu. Duck confit AND pork belly, both cooked to amazingly well (I like my confit to be crispier), and sitting in a nice rich broth as well. Again, I wish I wasn't so full when I approached this dish, seems like a waste of amazing food lost on a full stomach.

Chocolate Tart
Now you realize that we were totally full right, well of course we couldn't skip desert. We ordered one desert and got two. Oh my. About . . . to . . . burst . . . need . . . sweatpants . . . must . . . force . . . down . . . all . . . the . . . . . . . food.

Banana Pudding
You get the point. Too full, but nothing stops me. I preferred the banana pudding over the warm choco cake. But, then again I'm more of a fruit person than chocolate.

We're very fortunate in Durham to have so many fine restaurants at our disposal. In my opinion of all the spots I've eaten in the area, which is not enough by the way, Watt's Grocery is one of the best. They succeed in producing amazing food that sources from local farms. A beautiful thing indeed.

--Joe Kwon