115 Main Street
• Warsaw, Virginia
Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner
One recipe for a great, low-country feast is good
friends, a quaint Northern Neck town, and a talented chef who was once a
licensed riverboat captain.
“My passion is food, cooking, and Southern cuisine,”
says Carol Mead Smith, the creative talent behind Relish. This unique
restaurant was originally located in Tappahannock, but relocated Feb. 1 to
Main Street in Warsaw, Va.
“All my experiences in life have led me to create
Southern dishes in the Northern Neck, even piloting an old-time riverboat
down the Rappahannock. Being a native of the Northern Neck, I have an
up-close-and-personal relationship with the bounty of fresh crops and water
life. The local farmers and watermen are the soul of my cooking,” Carol
continues. “It is that fresh taste that I want my diners to enjoy.”
The evening I dined at Relish, I was joined by my
long-term dinner companion and by friends, Greg and Carolyn White of Warsaw.
Greg is president & CEO of Northern Neck Electric Cooperative.
My three dinner companions were warned in advance that
when I am working on a restaurant review, it is standard procedure for me to
also sample their entrées. So … we began our dining experience with the
special cauliflower soup, crispy fried oysters, and a seasonal salad of
arugula, mixed lettuce, candied pecans, local apples, and smoked bacon with
blue cheese dressing.
I enjoyed the oysters so much that I pondered ordering
them as an entrée.
For the main event, everyone tried something different.
The first entrée was local rockfish with an oyster white-truffle cream sauce
and lime basil rice. It can be described as yum! Next was a lump, local crab
cake with homemade corn relish and lime aioli. You can really tell when
crabs and oysters are fresh — their flavors are at their zenith. With the
rockfish and crab cake, we now had two solid winners.
For a little change of pace, my long-term dinner
companion ordered the filet mignon with blue-cheese butter, caramelized
onions with port reduction. This selection was tender, juicy, and a delight
to the palate! When I dine Southern cuisine, I often look for a
shrimp-and-grits dish; so, for my entrée, I ordered grilled garlic shrimp
and local Cerdito sausage. The grits were cheesy and creamy with a hint of
You might think that with four different entrées, one
would turn out to be a so-so dish. But no, not at Relish. Each selection was
a gourmet treat.
To complete an excellent meal, dessert is a
requirement. Again, we sampled a variety of selections. We had crème brûlée,
warm apple cake with vanilla ice cream, and butterscotch pie. The flavorful
apple cake and the silky, smooth butterscotch pie brought back fond memories
of my grandmother’s cooking in her cast-iron black stove. Taste’s sweet
memory can compress decades in a heartbeat, recalling happy thoughts of home
and hearth. Dessert is not to be excluded when dining at Relish.
Some of the best cooks in Virginia live on the Northern
Neck, and you will not be disappointed with your visit to Relish. Chef Carol
certainly carries this long tradition to a new level. Well done!
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