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Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Sitting on the beautiful deck of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant overlooking the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina, eating a superb early dinner tastefully and creatively presented, and drinking vodka martinis and then a glass of wine is a perfect way to spend a late afternoon slipping into evening.  Trust me.  I’ve been there.

This New Bern waterfront restaurant is locally owned and is in every way worth a visit.  I’ll share with you the way we spent our time on the outdoor deck, but first I want to share a piece from Persimmons’ own website, a site I visited before our trip as I was compiling places we should add to our must-see list.  This excerpt explains some of Persimmons’ unique appeal.

“The most-asked question…”what is the origin of our name?”  When our building was originally constructed, we dredged the adjacent marina…one of the logs that was found was a persimmon tree.  We took the persimmon log down the street to Bill Nelson of Precision Molding, who milled the wood, which was used to create what is now our host stand found at the entrance…Persimmon trees…are one of the only fruits native to Eastern North Carolina.  The Roman name for persimmon means “fruit of the Gods.”

Intriguing?  For me, it set a positive tone.  This restaurant made the list.

The day of our visit was hot, as most late spring North Carolina days are, and Rob and I were ready for some liquid refreshment and, at least, some accompaniment.  We’d walked along the beautiful waterfront admiring the boats, the gorgeous homes across the street from the riverfront, and the magnificent river.  It seemed the perfect time for Persimmons.

It was late afternoon, so we initially had the deck almost to ourselves. We could sit back, admire the view, and have a cocktail as we perused a beautiful and too tempting menu.  The truth is we planned on cold oysters to accompany our martinis, but the offerings of Southern-inspired, locally sourced American cuisine, were so tantalizing, we decided on an early dinner.  Even the menu at Persimmons is lovely.  This is a restaurant where details are important.

From the Locally Inspired Beginnings, I chose the Fried Green Tomatoes and Pimento Cheese Beggar’s Purse (Arugula, Crisp Country Ham, Roasted Tomato and Shallot Vinaigrette)

I’ve found that in each restaurant in which I order Fried Green Tomatoes, I am served a different variation.  I love that.  These, at Persimmons, were extraordinarily different and absolutely delicious.  The presentation was lovely, and they were melt-in-your mouth spectacular.  The tomatoes were topped with a flaky, light, crisp “purse” surrounded by the complimentary colors and textures of the rest of the dish. This was true artistry on a plate and every bite was a delight.  Am I coming across as loving this?  Wow!

Rob has been anxious to try Shrimp and Grits, so he ordered the Carolina Shrimp and Local Stone Ground Geeche Grits (cave-aged white cheddar, Tomato Butter, GF).  How beautiful does this look?  And it tasted just as lovely.  Presentation is important, of course, but the taste buds make the final judgment, and Rob’s taste buds gave this dish a resounding TEN.

Oh, how we lingered.  This would have been enough, for as you see, these were hearty portions as well, but we had ordered dinner.

Rob chose the Grilled Ahi Tuna (Smoked Potatoes, Fresh Cherries, Petite Herb Salad, Black Garlic Vinaigrette, Horseradish Créme Fraiche, GF).  Artistically presented and prepared exactly as he likes the tuna.  My taste proclaimed it amazing. The tuna was done to perfection.  He loved it, and that’s the important thing. Delightful and satisfying.

I chose the Mountain Trout (Sugar Beet Risotto, Tomato, Marcona Almond, French Beans, Brown Butter Lemon Reduction GF) How tantalizing does this look?  Trust me.  It was that wonderful!  The fish was flaky, perfectly seasoned, and not dry.  The vegetables were fresh, crisp and seasoned nicely, allowing the vegetable flavor to dominate.

Isn’t the menu made more attractive by adding the details of each dish.  While I don’t look for it, I also noted that dishes were labeled GF—gluten free—as well.  The customer should not need to ask.

We ate slowly, enjoying the ambiance, the wine, the food, and, of course, the sterling company.  What is also lovely is that there is no pretense in any of this.  Persimmons is simply spectacular, and it doesn’t have to do more than be exactly as it is—natural, caring, professional.  A perfect early evening for us.  I highly recommend a stop there.

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