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Executive chef Colin Bedford at The Fearrington House Restaurant captures the best of what’s local and seasonal for an ever-changing menu of fresh, innovative American dishes. This eatery has a few standouts you should try — here are the five best items to order:
1. Hot chocolate soufflé. This signature dessert was introduced by Edna Lewis back in 1983 when the queen of Southern cooking was a guest chef at the restaurant. It hasn’t left the menu since and arrives brimming over the edge of a ramekin, dusted in powdered sugar and oozing with warm melted chocolate.
2. Scallops. Bedford does a particularly fine job with seafood, sourcing from trusted, local fishermen — if the seared scallops are on the menu, don’t think twice about ordering this magnificently executed dish. Last time we enjoyed them, they came with a lime wedge alongside sea beans and black quinoa and tomatoes, though the version with celery root puree and black truffles was equally great, too.
3. Local vegetable-based dishes. With so many excellent farms nearby, take advantage of the bounty of the season. On a recent visit to the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant, we adored the chilled watermelon and cucumber gazpacho with a quenelle of savory sorbet, studded with yellow beans and local cured pork.
4. Wine pairings. Whether you go for the $75 full-on pairing with the tasting menu or are just looking for a single glass to accompany your whole meal, wine Director Max Kast will effortlessly guide you through the options available, which even include some local North Carolina wines.
5. Tasting menu. When you can’t make up your mind and want to order everything on the bill of fare — which basically happens as soon as you start reading the menu — give the tasting menu a go. It offers a selection of elegant dishes, including avocado mousse with crab and caviar, veal tournedos Rossini with foie gras, and a cheese course featuring nearby North Carolina creameries.
Menus change seasonally at The Fearrington House Restaurant, so it is difficult to pick the five best things to order. The one menu item that does not change and is a must for all first-time diners is the chocolate soufflé, as it has been on the menu for almost 30 years. The cheese course is also quite nice, as it features cheese from some of our local farms.