Cave 1912 with Triangle Foodie Adventures

11:35 AM

There's a lot to love about Raleigh, and it's emerging independent restaurant scene is definitely at the top of the list.  Cave 1912 is a cozy wine bar and restaurant in the Five Points area, open for a little less than a year with chef Michael Pryor at the helm.  I got a chance to check this place out last week for a tasting menu hosted  by Triangle Foodie Adventures -- a local branch of the popular online meet-up group that hosts monthly events at local restaurants.  It's a great idea; a 6 course menu with wine for $45 a person that lets you try out new places and meet new people with group-style seating. It would be a great way to meet up with a friend or two for a girl's night, or with a group of friends for a double date.

The venue itself is awesome -- lots of great wine, modern styling, and a cozy, intimate feel.  They are playing old movies behind the bar instead of your typical sports fare, which as a TCM addict I can get down with.  via
Let's talk about the tasting menu for the event because that's truly how you should view the Triangle Foodie Adventure meet-up.  The portions are small but thoughtful; it's about experiencing the food more than gorging yourself.  You're probably not going to have leftovers unless you just had gastric bypass surgery or you overate at lunch.  But if you're like me, you'd never order 6 courses at a typical night out, so the small samplings provide you with a way to try a little of everything.  That's why this event might be better for a girl's night though than a date night.  If my husband had been with me, I would have been harassed to stop at McDonald's on the way home because he definitely wouldn't have been full.

Starter: Your choice of beer or wine (I recommend the Aquilo pinot noir whole-heartedly!) and samples of head cheese. Which by the way I tried before I knew it was head cheese, and yes, the texture is as peculiar as you think it will be.

Course 1: Nickelpoint Vienna lager bread with farm butter
Ok I had 3 slices of bread so it was good.  The best part was the fresh butter topped with coarse ground salt, an irresistible combo that made me want to run out to Whole Foods to get some salt for my butter ASAP.

Course 2: Beet Salad
A great winter salad with the interesting addition of small bits of deviled egg.  Would definitely recommend.

Course 3: NC Black Bass
The fish was cooked impeccably and doused in a healthy portion of "Johnson County Country Ham Broth." My eyes saw fish, but my mouth tasted ham.  It was like some sort of culinary mental puzzle. I would file this under "interesting" because I'm a simple girl that just so happens to like how fish tastes, but I can appreciate a chef thinking outside the box.  Not my favorite, but I respect what was happening there.

Course 4: Lamb Roulade
One word: fantastic.  I would come back for this dish alone.  Tender and decadent, the few slivers of meat we got were pure heaven.

Course 5: Dark Chocolate Bar
This was kind of like a foodie version of a Snickers bar.  My only complaint was that it was sooo rich.  I could have done with a much more generous entree portion and a smaller bite-size version of the chocolate bar.

Course 6: Peppermint Panna Cotta
Beautifully presented, this was another mental foodie challenge for me.  Peppermint paired with blood orange is a combo that's both refreshing and disruptive to the taste buds.  But I'm a person that really hates drinking orange juice after brushing my teeth, and there was just that little hint of similarity that left me feeling a little more uncomfortable than purely palate-cleansed.

In sum, I would definitely go back for a full meal at Cave 1912 and would eagerly order the lamb if it was on the menu.  The place has a great vibe and a chef who is innovative and experimental.  What's not to love with a combo like that?

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