Last Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy a delicious brunch at Piedmont, a Southern American restaurant located right next to the Durham Farmers’ Market on Foster Street in downtown Durham. Piedmont has been part of the local foodie scene for a number of years now but has undergone some exciting updates this past year. Back in May 2013, Chef-Partner Ben Adams joined forces with General Manager Crawford Leavoy and together they have reinvented the restaurant with changes to menu offerings and updates to the restaurant’s interior. More recently they added a brunch service that can now be enjoyed every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 2:30pm.
As their name suggests, the restaurant features ingredients sourced from the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Now more than ever the menu focuses on local farm-grown ingredients to be used in classic comfort food dishes that have been reimagined by the inventive spirit of Chef Ben Adams to create a modern farm-to-table dining experience. The revamped modern / industrial interior of the restaurant has a friendly warm vibe with walls adorned with recycled wood wall hangings set against an acid stained concrete floor.
To start off our brunch my wife and I shared a slice of the farmers’ market quiche and a glass of fresh squeezed orange-tangerine juice. A generous slice of light and fluffy egg mixed with cheese, local lettuces (in this case dino kale), mushrooms, and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The exact ingredients may evolve throughout the season based on current seasonal ingredients sourced at the local Durham Farmers’ Market. The flaky crust had a wonderful sweetness to it that really complimented the dish.
Next we had the sweet potato bread which makes for a fun and unexpected appetizer. The freshly baked bread is soft and warm with a delicate crust. I enjoyed nibbling on this semi-sweet bread while enjoying my fresh cup of Larry’s Beans Coffee and taking in the surroundings of the restaurant.
We also enjoyed the Coddled egg served with wild mushrooms, bacon, celery root purée and truffle oil. I’ve never had anything quite like this before. I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms but even I could not deny this dish was incredible. The combination of flavors did not overwhelm and instead were the perfect compliment to each other. I made sure I had a little bit of each ingredient with each bite and the result was delightful.
I am usually less adventurous than my wife when it comes to brunch so I also ordered my old standby – French Toast. Yet even the French at Piedmont introduces you to a wonderful new way of enjoying this classic dish. It is made with fresh brioche from Durham’s own Loaf Bakery and comes topped with cinnamon-pear compote, candied pecans, and a side of real bourbon-maple syrup. I would have never thought of enjoying cinnamon-pear with my French toast but I loved it and the bourbon-maple syrup was a nice twist on the usual pairing.
For our final dish we shared the smoked beef brisket. It comes topped with caramelized onions and is plated on top of an ample serving of cheese grits made with Chapel Hill Creamery‘s aged calvander, along with two poached eggs and natural jus. I don’t eat grits often, but they really worked with this dish making for an incredible combination with the brisket and poached eggs. We were both full and happy after finishing this dish. Definitely one of the highlights among an already incredible menu.
Of course no brunch is complete without at least one drink. The offerings from the bar at Piedmont are inspired by General Manager Crawford Leavoy who hails from New Orleans. Among the many brunch cocktails offered the two that caught my fancy were the brandy-spiked milk punch, and a spicy house-made bloody mary served with multiple garnishes of lime, celery, olive, pepper, and a boiled shrimp! For those seeking non-alcoholic refreshment they also offer locally roasted Larry’s Beans coffee, housemade lemonade and fresh-pressed orange-tangerine or tomato-rosemary juices.
As we lingered at our table after finishing our meal I couldn’t resist enjoying one last cup of coffee. I was already a big fan of Larry’s Beans but somehow the coffee tasted even better following the great food we just had. I surveyed the room and noticed the dining area was starting to grow quite full as the morning wore on. A sure sign that word about this great brunch has already started to spread. Brunch is probably one of my favorite meals and I’m excited to have found a new place with such exciting menu items made from locally sourced products. I will be back!
Brunch is now served at Piedmont every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 2:30pm. You can easily walk over to the restaurant after a trip to the nearby farmers’ market on Saturdays or visit on Sundays to enjoy live jazz music. Appetizers range from $6 to $11; entrees from $8 to $16. Cocktails range from $8 to $12; fresh juices, $5. To view the full menu or book a reservation, visit Piedmont Restaurant online.
401 Foster Street
Durham, NC 27701 (map)