The Anchorage was a small place in the Village of West Greenville serving an eclectic menu. Partnered with Horseshoe Farms the restaurant brings the farm-to-table concept to life by having a variety of vegetable dishes on the menu. Executive Chef/Owner Gregory McPhee opened the restaurant in early 2017 and the place was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Best New Restaurant James Beard Award. Carlos Baez, Chef de Cuisine has cooked in many places but joined the team in August 2020 and was in charge of the kitchen the evening we dined. It’s a small 2-story place with a dining room and partially open kitchen on the first floor and dining and bar area on the second floor. Next door is a tiny wine shop where you actually enter the restaurant, but wines are available for purchase. We were a little confused about where to enter and some of the regular patrons found us wandering and showed us the way in. They were local people who said it was their favorite place and I can see why. Parking was on the street, music was in the background, wood and brick made up the walls, and lighting was lowered with a bench seat lining one wall. The guests were made up of a range of people but it never got too noisy to talk. The service was fabulous. The menu offers 9 plates a la carte but there is a tasting option where you get to try all of the dishes in 3 groupings, with scaled portioning. It is the way to go, which you should – as soon as you can.
The menu was presented in courses of multiple dishes. Here are the groupings.
Bread service included house cultured butter and bourbon liver mousse. The salted butter was softened and delicious as was the mousse. The bread was from a bakery a few doors away and it was crusty with a chewy interior filled with lovely air pockets. I could have filled up on this alone.
Bluefin Tuna Crudo was on leche de Tigre with Fresno pepper, Benne Furikake (rice seasoning with Benne seeds), blood orange, cilantro and chive oil. The crisp Jasmine rice was a topping that added texture to the tasty tender fish. The sauce with the fish was excellent and accented rather than smothered the flavor.
Blue Ridge Rabbit Pâte was topped with pimentón, aioli, radish, bitter greens, fried capers, apricot mostarda and charred onion powder. It was more like a terrine in that the slices had texture. It was milder in flavor but worked well with all the accent ingredients.
North Carolina lettuces Blue Ridge Rabbit Pâte contained whipped Boxcarr rocket robiola (Italian soft ripened cheese), winter strawberry, fennel, purple beet, tarragon and honey vinaigrette. It was a lovely mix of things. The winter strawberries packed an enormous amount of flavor into their thin slices and the tasty beets were supplemented with some beet puree. The lettuces were wrapped up with each other but when opened up were lightly dressed and deliciously fresh. It was a great plate.
Bethel Trails Thai chicken contained grilled cabbage, rutabaga, Nuoc Cham, Gochugaru, cashew and Asian Pear. The pear was sweet and lovely and the mint really made the dish sing. Overall it was a mild dish and the Nuoc Cham sauce made it feel more Vietnamese than Thai, as it was not spicy. While this dish was good it seemed to lack the focus that the others had.
Wood grilled broccoli Rabe was seasoned with white anchovy, gremolata, almond, bagna cauda, preserved lemon and radicchio. The broccoli was nicely smokey and actually tender to eat (unusual in my experience). The mix of ingredients, especially the nuts, brought out much flavor in the dish. This was a favorite of my husband.
Ricotta gnocchi were topped with lamb and beef bolognese, Calabrian chili, whipped buttermilk ricotta, oregano and Soffritto. The gnocchi were completely tender and nicely small. The sauce was really savory with touches of cumin. The whipped ricotta in the middle added to the richness of the bolognese for a delightful dish.
Anson Mills Farro Piccolo contained brown butter sweet potato puree, Scarlet Queen turnip, red kale, mushroom and walnut salsa. The sweet potato puree around the edge of the dish was divine, so very tasty. The turnips were perfectly cooked and quite fun to eat. There were a variety of mushrooms with various levels of flavor but overall this was a really fine dish.
South Carolina flounder included spring onion, Bio Way carrot, sunchoke puree and Picholine olive pesto. The flounder was cooked a tad more than needed but this was remedied with a touch of butter from the bread plate. It would have benefitted from a sauce of some kind but no matter. The rest of the ingredients were first-rate and wonderful.
Kurobuta pork cheek(Austrailian wagyu) was with Shawarma fingerling potato and cauliflower, Sumac yogurt and Bourbon garlic jus. The yogurt sauce made the light ring around the plate and held in the savory garlic, bourbon meat jus. The pork was almost beefy but didn’t have the moistness I’d expect from a wagyu cut. The cauliflower underneath was first rate though.
Dessert was a buckwheat carrot date cake with a Tahini butterscotch sauce and pistachio ice cream topped with crushed pistachios. The cake, sauce and ice cream were all made in-house. The ice cream was not very dense but nicely sweet. The butterscotch sauce was amazing – a lick-the-plate kind of sauce. The cake was moist, dense and sweet, especially when combined with the ice cream and sauce. After all the previous food, I was glad to share this fabulous dessert.