Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Acme

The geographical line that divides Carrboro and Chapel Hill is a little blurred.  Both towns are saturated with hipsters, notable restaurants and local shops, and are terrific spots to spend an afternoon (and an evening.) Acme is located on Carrboro’s main drag, right near Carr Mill Mall and Weaver Street Market –favorite hangouts upon my days on the Hill. Acme has a strong reputation for partnering with the Carrboro Farmer’s Market to provide local, fresh food, and people flock to try their classic Southern dishes with a modern twist.

The cocktail list is seasonal (sometimes it even changes with the month) but to my delight, the Watermelon Mojito was calling my name. ‘Twas a refreshing way to enjoy my favorite fruit. Slices of potato bread and freshly whipped butter provide elevated flavors, as opposed to chewy white bread with gold foil-wrapped butter nuggets.

The menu offers a variety of small plates, a nice way to sample a few dishes. Fried Green Tomato Napoleon presents layers of fresh, local tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, surrounded by a perfectly tangy balsamic reduction, sweet grilled corn and blistered cherry tomatoes that pop in your mouth. A few whole garlic cloves graced the plate with their presence, as well  – great for your heart, not so great for a date.

Forever Roasted Pig is the Southern cuisine experience in a bowl. Smoked pork shoulder and a deeply flavorful barbeque sauce sits atop a serving of mushroom macaroni and cheese. I’m sure Paula Deen is kicking herself for not creating this dish.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops are luscious, plump and perfectly cooked. Being a scallop fanatic, I always appreciate it when the scallops aren’t rubbery.


I never thought I’d say this, but the green beans served with Grilled Mahi Mahi made the dish. They were outstanding, obviously local and can thank the country ham for infusing them with some salty goodness. A chunk of basil butter beautifully melted down over the fish, and a corner piece of cornbread soaked up all of that country ham broth.
  
I have forgotten how delicious real, fresh whipped cream is. Maybe it’s because I can eat as much Fat Free Cool Whip as I want without feeling guilty in the slightest, but Acme’s fresh whipped cream totally blossomed on my tongue.  Moist Almond White Chocolate Bread Pudding sits in a sour cherry sauce, topped with the velvety whipped cream. The sourness of the cherries balances the sweetness of the dish nicely, though I was left searching for the almond and white chocolate flavors, since those are two of my favorites.

If you find yourself in Carrboro/Chapel Hill – first of all, lucky you. Secondly, take your parents or your date to Acme. You will be blown away by the elegant Southern flavors that are so familiar, yet so new.

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