The McNinch House Restaurant , one of the standing high-quality food experiences, takes local fresh produce and changes up their menu seasonally, as well as for special occasions. Chef Matthew Shepard is a creative chef who is inspired by finding great products, that he incorporates into the menu. You also get the added bonus of the wine steward, Wes, as his wine knowledge is vast. (If you ask Wes for anything specific, he can change up the wine tasting to better support your palate.)
Some fun information about the McNinch House: This is one of the nationally historical homes, as the land was originally bought in 1891 for $3,000, then the house was built for $38,000, (which makes the McNinch House older than the Biltmore!)
In 1978, Ellen Davis, the current owner purchased the house. She spent 10 years refurbishing, including leaving the main floor as a restaurant, the basement as a wine cellar, and the upstairs is Ellen’s living area. (She no longer works in the kitchen, but she does still live in the house! Super cool!) She opened a Christmas shop in 1988, and then in 1989, turned it into a restaurant. See more about the history of the house here: mcninchhouserestaurant.com/about-us/
The house also has many options for set up, so each time you go it may be a little different. The walls slide in and out to make private rooms, as well as the tables and setting being changed based on the reservations for that night.
While you’re dining, you may spot one of the 10 fire places, but you’ll definitely see all of the original woodwork, windows, and chandeliers.
Although the McNinch House is already known as a ‘special occasion’ restaurant, you can always take it up one notch and eat in the ‘kitchen’, at their Chef’s Table. Here, Chef Matthew Shepard will not only create a special menu for you (usually around 7 courses, although flexible), but come out and explain each course to your table.
Ready to head this way? Reservations!
(Although this food was provided at no cost to me, the opinions in this article are all my own.)
Fall Menu 2018:
When planning your trip to this inspiring restaurant, there are a variety of menus and pricing, depending on how many courses you want to enjoy. Which Tasting Menu to Choose.
Kale Salad – This salad had a variety of unique ingredients, but still with a fall twist. The purple kale is topped with diced apples, candied nuts, roasted acorn squash, sliced Chinese jade birth radishes, feta, and Matthew’s Grandma’s buttermilk dressing.
(note: this place setting was beautiful!)
Pan Seared Scallop – These perfectly seared scallops and served over a carrot puree and pickled fennel salad to balance it out. (Fun fact: this carrot puree is natural, but yet has a naturally smokey flavor!)
Rosemary & Dijon Crusted Rack of New Zealand Lamb – This is a restaurant stable, so it will be found year round, with some changes in sauces and sides. (This is actually one of Ellen’s original recipes.)
Filet Mignon – No joke: best filet ever. It’s sous-vide’d and slow cooked to the perfect temperature, then seared before serving. It makes it so tender, that it would be hard not to order when you go.
The Catch – This fish may change, as the restaurant only uses the freshest ingredients, but the steel-head trout was crispy and perfectly seasoned.
14 oz. Double-Boned (North Carolina) Pork Chop – The presentation is such a fun part of ordering this dish, plus there is so much delicious meat. The best part though is definitely the horseradish spaetzle though!
Cider Braised Bison Short Ribs – Chef Matthew originally made a dish similar to this in the NCRLA Chef Showdown, which I where I first heard Chef’s food. These short ribs are so tnder, and then served with a great pairing of carrots and apple slaw.
Spiced Cheesecake – the hibiscus gel added some fun to this semi-traditional dish. Paired with a brown sugar ice cream, it makes for a perfect fall dessert.
Chocolate Creme Brulee – Such a fun dish topped with McNinch’s local garden flowers! The creme brulee topping adds a little bit of texture to this rich dish. Paired with nutella powder and homemade bourbon ice cream is a perfect ending to a dinner.
Added bonus? They have a beautiful patio that’s a great respite from within the big city!
Below are some of the delicious wines that we tried: