Wilmington: Deluxe & Catch Restaurants
Dedication to craft is the keystone of Wilmington’s Chef Keith Rhodes. Born and raised in nearby Porter’s Neck, he is as committed to his family as he is to the quality of the food he, and his teams, create at both Deluxe and Catch Restaurants.
Combining fresh and local ingredients from the wealth of North Carolina’s fields and coastlines, Rhodes infuses them with many cultural influences, mainly Asian, and makes them the hallmark of his menus. Close to 75% of the produce and seafood, like seasonal shrimp and redfish, are bought from area purveyors.
At Deluxe, the fine dining establishment on historic Market Street, he has served as Executive Chef for the past seven years. Together with owner/chef Scott Haulman, Rhodes delights dedicated patrons and new devotees with a myriad of flavor-layered items like an appetizer confit of Bobwhite quail with a Pippin apple corn cake, slow braised collards and a drizzle of foie gras truffle sauce. Another favorite is the locally caught grouper, pan-seared to crispiness and served over jumbo lump crab fingerling potato hash and roasted asparagus, with a proscuitto tomato and béarnaise sauce.
Chef Rhodes, who attended Johnson and Wales, additionally receives accolades for the casual dining dishes he presents weekdays at his own downtown Wilmington bistro – Catch.
Small with high tables and counters, Catch reflects the close proximity of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean as large sculptural copper fish accent peaceful blue walls, while an aquarium sports decorative – not edible – brightly colored sea creatures.
Here tourist and resident mingle easily often inquiring what the other is eating. And the choices are so tempting.
“Adluh” stone ground cheddar grits act as a delicately seasoned base for plump, light and crunchy shrimp, or spinach and curry aioli or fried flounder. Declared a winner, from both judges and diners alike, is Rhodes’ Charleston lump crab cake served with yellow curry potato salad. Organic cilantro imparts a twist of sharpness to the Asian tarter sauce served with the buttermilk calamari with picked pepper.
In an age where chefs are celebrated more for their personal charisma than culinary credentials Rhodes’s summary on his calling is simple. “I didn’t get into it for the glamour. I got into for the food.”
114 Market Street, Wilmington NC
Hours: Mon – Sun, 5:30PM – Close; Sunday Brunch, 10:30AM – 2PM
215 Princess Street, Wilmington NC
Hours: Mon – Fri, 10AM – 2PM
By Linda J. Bottjer
added: December 15, 2008
updated: June 13, 2012
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