Carolina coastal cuisine is elevated to new heights at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern, NC. Situated near the town center on a standalone dock with 270 degree Neuse River water views and a killer menu by Owner and Executive Chef Gerry Fong, Persimmons promises a delightful dining experience – and delivers.
With a recent triumph on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” Chef Gerry Fong’s celebrity is rising and his renown is escalating for the amazing food that emerges from his kitchen. He describes his fare as “food that much reflects his life: playful, precise, tasty and of the highest quality.”
Fun fact about Permissons: the restaurant got its name during the construction phase of the building when the river was dredged and a persimmon tree was discovered. The tree was then milled by Bill Nelson of Precision Molding, and the resulting host stand can be seen at the restaurant’s front entrance.
Now, in a tranquil water-colored setting dotted with art quilts, persimmon wood, and understated nautical elements, guests relax between courses and soak in the views, seated inside the restaurant or while enjoying a table at the water’s edge. An upstairs event space is a destination for celebrations, while the cozy bar offers quiet space to indulge in fine cocktails.
Supporting Local Cuisine
Using locally-grown and harvested produce, grains, seafood, meats, and cheeses, Fong is committed to supporting his restaurant’s regional farmers, fishermen, and artisanal food producers. “We buy over 80% of our food from local farmers within a 90-mile radius. We feel this really makes a difference in the product we bring to your table,” Fong says.
Our group’s dinner allowed us to sample ten different dishes for appetizers, salad, main course, and dessert. For starters, we enjoyed an outstanding tomato stack. Ripe heirloom tomatoes were layered with crisp, perfectly fried green tomatoes and a superb, incredibly smooth Goat Lady goat cheese (more on this delicacy in a later post). Drizzled in aged balsamic, topped with tender sprouts and surrounded by fresh blueberries, this was one of the favorite dishes of the evening.
We also sampled two appetizers from the sea – both perfectly cooked. The Carolina oysters were cornmeal dusted, incredibly tender and sweet, and accented by Napa cabbage, Asian slaw, chipotle aioli and applewood smoked bacon. The calamari was dusted in blackened, seasoned rice flour and served with a fresh Mandarin orange salsa. Even the house salad was tasty, with flash fried chick peas and housemade goat cheese ranch dressing.
For entrees, we each chose different proteins. One of the highlights was the pan seared Muscovy duck breast arranged over a Marcona almond and Mandarin orange quinoa salad, with complements of coconut and cauliflower timball and fig and current Indian chutney. The fresh-caught Mahi was served grilled over a bed of creamy sweet corn and seasoned spring greens in a savory, yet surprisingly light sauce. Amberjack was blackened and grilled, then accented by a flavorful reduction and accompanied by sautéed greens. The aged ribeye was served with a beautiful scalloped sweet potatoes and ginger Jamaican relish.
Even though we were pleasantly full, we couldn’t leave without trying the cooked-to-order desserts: Carolina peach cobbler with gently spiced ice cream, and a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich topped by a sinful brown sugar caramel.
Suffice it to say that Persimmons is a culinary destination you’ll want to visit. Make a reservation in advance, and plan to stay a good long while. You might not want to leave.
Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant
100 Pollock Street, New Bern, NC 28560
Note: The restaurant gladly accommodates food allergies and offers both gluten-free and vegetarian options.
Photography provided by Robert Dumon Photography.