I have been a long time lurker on the boards, and have finally decided to speak up! I have so appreciated all of the food reccomendation threads for Wilmington NC I have read on here. Without them, I never would have discovered Brasserie du Soleil, Catch, and Deluxe. I am on the eternal quest to find amazing dining experiences in this town, and do agree that there are alot of very good places to choose from...however, few have completely blown me away from start to finish with all aspects of the experience. Tonight I was blown away! I couldn't find any mention of the restaurant yet on here, maybe I missed it, I thought I would weigh in. Overall, I was unable to find very much press anywhere on the internet for it...
Buoy 32, on Causeway Drive, on Wrightsville Beach was a tremendous experience. The chef is young, but in the few minutes he spent talking with us at the end of the meal, we gathered he was incredibly passionate about food. And it showed.
The cuisine was local and extremely fresh, but each dish was innovative and bursting with flavor. Started with a lump crab cake appetizer that had no filler - just lovely fresh delicate crab, seasoning, and a beautiful sauce. It was broiled to perfection. We had salads - mine a iceburg wedge topped with the most incredible blue cheese dressing with large fresh chunks of gorgonzola throughout, garnished with thinly sliced red onion. The entrees were stars! Mine a Grouper served in a spicy tomato, white wine sauce over a perfectly creamy mushroom risotto. My husband had the sashimi grade tuna with Wasabi mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked asparagus. Dessert was on the house for my birthday, and was delivered personally by the chef. A sweet, but very creamy Strawberry Shortcake cheesecake mix.
Prices were reasonable for what it was (appetizers around $9, salads around $6, entrees around $23) and service was the best I have had in Wilmington. Our server was knowledgeable, passionate about food and wine (brought me a tasting of both the pinot noir and zinfandel I was contemplating getting in order to help me chose) and in general understood the balance of when to come over and when to let us be and enjoy the food and conversation. Courses were well paced.
Ambiance was the only thing lacking a bit - but I appreciated that this is a new establishment under a young chef who is probably trying to get the restaurant up and running before replacing the drop cieling and poor lighting. We sat in a cozy booth in the corner, and the 20 or so tables were about half full at 9pm on a Saturday night. Music selection was great though, and overall energy was wonderful and welcoming.
Chef Eric also mentioned they enjoy going off menu and trying new dishes every tuesday night - to call ahead and he will put some tastings together for your party if you are interested in experimenting and playing with new dishes!
I highly recommend it!! Has anyone else been?
Disclaimer: I'm realizing as I am reading this that I might sound like a plant or an employee!! I just believe firmly in supporting local establishments that use local ingredients, and I love to spread the word on a place that holds food in such high regard and isn't just reeling out he same old stuff...