Sunday, May 6, 2012


Clemmons is to Winston-Salem, as Huntersville is to Charlotte. They’ve both gotten much more heavily-populated in recent years, have their fair share of good restaurants, and they’re not as far “out there” as people seem to think. When I read about Forsyth County restaurants participating in “Grapes and Small Plates,” I decided now was the time to try Cimarron, a restaurant I’d heard of for years, on the Winston-Salem and Clemmons border. “Grapes and Small Plates” features a wine paired with small dishes, so you can sample various items on the menu for little cost. This event took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in April, and to my knowledge, this is its first year. Though Cimarron is pretty isolated and unassuming, it’s well worth the trip for delicious steak and playful dishes.

The atmosphere is relaxed, and regulars fill the bar area. Everything from filets to burgers fill the menu – there’s something for everyone. I strayed a bit from the “Grapes” portion of the event, because a Riesling was featured. As you avid readers know by now, I am not a white wine fan. Instead, I opted for a Michael David Petite Petit. Dinner rolls were served with both whipped butter AND a deliciously salty herbed oil.  
Cimarron’s small plate entrée option was seafood themed: Shrimp and Grits, Lobster Macaroni & Cheese and Horseradish Encrusted Salmon were presented in perfect little individual-sized portions.
Clockwise from the "cauldron": Mac & Cheese, Shrimp & Grits, Salmon.
A fried grit cake was topped with baby shrimp, mushrooms and a spicy gravy which produced a smoky bacon flavor. I was most excited to try the Lobster Mac & Cheese – two of my favorite foods should have made for a killer combination. Unfortunately, it was essentially mac & cheese with lobster flavor; I didn’t find one bite of lobster meat. The crunchy topping was fine, but I felt played. I was so looking forward to some lobs. Not being a huge salmon person, I was hesitant about this dish. Thankfully, I didn’t get the usual, potent fishy flavor, but I was left searching for the kick from the horseradish. Instead, I picked up on a salty flavor, almost parmesan cheese-like, and the fish was topped with caramelized onions and served over mashed potatoes. It was my favorite of the three plates, though I was expecting the opposite.

On the regular menu, the steaks are absolutely the way to go. A 6-ounce bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon comes with a starter salad, choice of potato and vegetable of the day. For $18, this is a steal. The perfectly cooked medium rare Filet was enhanced from the salty bacon, the Sweet Potato came with a yummy cinnamon butter and Grilled Asparagus was cooked al dente, not limp.

We had fantastic service, with frequent and timely check backs, and the manager came over to ask our feedback about the “Grapes and Small Plates” menu. This is always a nice touch – both professional and courteous. I will most definitely return for another steak, and pleasant company.

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