CityView Magazine

May 2023

CityView Magazine - Fayetteville, NC

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Page 43 of 53

40 May 2023 GOOD EATS Fish tales STORY AND PHOTOS BY JANET GIBSON T here's something about seafood that makes us feel like we're at the beach even if it's 100-plus miles away. Add in the warm-weather season, and we are smitten. Here are some great inland catches for everything from Calabash-style shrimp to golden fried flounder — and more. Worth his salt James Beard Award. ose three words — considered the Oscars of the culinary world — roll off the tongue and impress foodies to no end. So, like many other curiosity seekers, we venture to Durham and check out Chef Ricky Moore's Saltbox Seafood Joint. Moore, who captured the 2022 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast, also owns this casual eatery, which he opened in 2012. A nostalgic vibe greets us in the form of a seafoam green and sky blue building and a towering sign that announces, "Fried & Joy." Inside, we check out the seasonal menu on two overhead chalkboards, place orders at the counter, and wait for our names to be called. Picnic tables beckon outside, but we opt for the cozy dining room with nautical touches — and the framed James Beard Award. We're tempted to try the lightly fried oysters, which a friend declared the best he's ever tasted. But the lure of the so-shell crab and shrimp plates catches our eyes. e so-shell crab isn't " jumbo," as anticipated, but delicious all the same. e single crustacean has the ideal blend of seasonings and just enough crunch. Best of all, it gets me over that weird thing I had about eating it whole, shells, legs and all. e shrimp are plump enough and perfect — a right-sized portion, for sure. Both dinner entrées come with wafer- thin fried potatoes and coleslaw, gloriously sans heavy mayo but with a light citrus-herb dressing. We also order a side of "hush- honeys" — fried cornmeal fritters that are glazed with honey — and collard greens as good as Grandma's, plus two sweet teas. e bill comes to $76.22, with tax and gratuity. As the story goes, Chef Ricky Moore grew up in New Bern, where fishing is a way of life. He joined the Army at 18 and was stationed in Hawaii. He worked as a cook while in the military and, aer seven years of service, went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America. en he began an impressive culinary career working in the kitchens of some of the world's most renowned restaurants. But he never forgot his roots. Heralded as "the face of North Carolina seafood," Moore is forever promoting the richness that lies within the waters just off his native state and has written a cookbook. He is an ambassador for freshness and sustainability. He also meets the true mark of a great Above, a fresh and beautully presented shrimp cocktail at Crab Du Jour; crab cakes are served with a perfect remoulade at Vinson's; and soft-shell crab is served with wafer-thin fried potatoes at Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham.

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