Downtown Wilmington’s PinPoint Restaurant restaurant showcases fresh seafood and local produce in a delectable menu that changes according to what’s in season. Chef Dean Neff adds the perfect dash of creativity. Before landing in Wilmington, he ran the kitchen at Five & Ten. It’s one of four Georgia restaurants owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson – yes, the same one who has been a judge on the Bravo TV show “Top Chef.”
Pinpoint is named after a tiny Chatham County, Ga., community that’s rich in coastal Gullah food and culture. Pinpoint’s cool grey tones compliment a striking oyster shell chandelier over the intimate rear dining area. Changing artwork decorates exposed brick walls. Hardwood floors and rough wood accents confirm the casual atmosphere. Sit at the friendly bar or enjoy a communal table feel at a long banquette. One of the best spots is by sunny tall windows up front. You may sit outdoors, too.
Start with oysters on the half-shell. Check the list to discover each day’s fresh selections from near and far. Try the beauties baked with distinctive Southern slants. Rockefeller-style here means wilted greens, Benton’s bacon and Pernod. Out with friends, family or both? Order cocktails and share scrumptious snacks. The octopus and pickled shrimp lettuce wraps get crunch from fresh radishes and subtle zing from green garlic ranch dressing.
Delightful soups might bring local rutabagas sweetened with fresh pears and enriched with crème fraiche and pumpkin seed oil. Celery lends crunch to roasted Brussels sprouts salad with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese and tarragon buttermilk dressing. You could continue the seafood theme into dinner, say local grouper with N.C. sturgeon caviar, roasted maitake mushrooms, parsnip purée, seared greens and the gentle zip of Meyer lemon.
Seafood, however, is not the only choice. A flat iron steak might arrive porcini-crusted alongside buttermilk whipped potatoes, asparagus gratin, tomatoes, crispy mushrooms and kombu butter. Vegetarian selections are never afterthoughts. Think gnudi, those gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese, tucked between local butternut squash, apples, chestnuts and sage, glistening balsamic brown butter bringing everything together. And talk about local. Wrightsville Beach sea salt garnishes butterscotch pots de crème for dessert.
A full bar serves numerous wines, craft beers and delightful cocktails. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. every day. Saturday and Sunday brunches run 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get classic grilled flat iron steak and eggs with hash browns and toast. Indulge with brioche French toast, available gluten-free, with almond sabayon, blood orange and maple syrup. Nothing cures a Sunday morning hangover better than the half-pound Pinpoint burger groaning with bacon, pimento cheese, grilled onions, chili aioli and bread and butter pickles on a sesame brioche bun, porcini mushroom fries on the side.
For more information visit www.pinpointrestaurant.com