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I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Winterville welcomes Main and Mill Oyster Bar and Tavern

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

For the last five months Winterville has been home to a new restaurant that has been gaining a steady and devoted foodie fan base.

Main and Mill Oyster Bar and Tavern has taken over the old Wimpies building at 204 W. Main St. The same layout has been retained with welcoming, warm, and wide open spaces. The new owners added reclaimed wood on the walls and the old school white tin ceiling tiles retain their gleaming old glory beauty. They even kept a piece of the past with a large, inviting sit-up oyster bar called Wimpies Way. Owner David Munoz has been in the restaurant business for five years, and was formerly the original owner of Crossbones Tavern in downtown Greenville.

Main and Mill specializes in all things oysters, has a wide variety of starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and a variety of tasty sides. David and his staff strive to provide a satisfying dining experience that is a step up from the ordinary. “We offer contemporary fine dining and artful pairings that won’t break the bank,” Munoz says. The folks at Main and Mill are about more than seafood and oysters. They have a myriad of artfully crafted starter dishes like creamy crab dips, calamari, or house smoked wings. Some soups include French onion, clam chowder, or salads such as a roasted beet and walnut or blue wedge salad, to name a few.

Some entree favorites include Cioppino seafood stew, Chipotle ginger salmon, Down East duck, pasta dishes, chicken and steaks. They have burgers, tuna or crab cake sandwiches or maybe a veggie po’boy as well as some amazing side dishes such as duck fat potatoes, grilled asparagus, twice baked potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese as well as other mouthwatering choices.

For our food tasting, let’s start with the oysters since this is Main and Mill’s bread and butter, or I should say hot sauce and cracker goodness. They are the only oyster bar that offers oysters year-round, so you can come dive in anytime you get a craving for the briny ocean jewels. You can order your oysters raw or steamed served with sliced lemons, fresh drawn butter, cocktail sauce and a house mignonette sauce made with vinegar, ginger, shallots, cucumber and sugar. You also can choose oysters Rockefeller — which are topped with spinach, bacon, scallions and Parmesan cheese then baked — or top your oysters with crab dip or choose the fried oysters. Enjoy $1 raw or steamed oysters Monday-Wednesday from 4-6pm. Main and Mill also offers peel and eat steamed shrimp, fried shrimp, or my favorite Cajun shrimp boil, which is a steam pot of seafood goodness with shrimp, potatoes, corn, andouille sausage and Cajun spices.

I also tried the Belly and Brussels starter dish. Start with crispy pork belly pieces tossed with roasted Brussels sprouts atop Parmesan grits and drizzled with balsamic glaze. The grits were smooth and creamy, the Brussels sprouts were savory and mellow. For anyone who has not eaten one, the taste is a cross between broccoli and cabbage or cauliflower. A deep and satisfying root vegetable flavor and the pork belly once fried has the salty crunchy bacon flavor that brings this dish home. This starter is priced at $11.95.

Next, let’s delight in Main and Mill’s most popular dish that has the South written all over it, shrimp and grits. Start with jumbo shrimp tossed in a low country gravy sauce that is made with a smoked bacon and trinity veggies (onion, red & green pepper) mixture served over those same Parmesan stone ground grits. The gravy was really more of a glossy sauce made with white wine, so it has a sweet taste from the veggies and a bright pop from the crispy white wine. The bacon added a bit of a smokey back note and when you squeeze a little lemon on top of the citrus is the shining top star. I love shrimp and grits and this one did not disappoint. This dish is priced at $18.95.

Now that we have sampled some oysters, shrimp and a starter, let’s have another main course like the Carolina pork chop. Start with a bone-in sweet tea brined pork chop, grilled and slathered in a bourbon barbecue glaze. This picture perfect chop is placed atop a bed of mashed sweet potatoes and roasted Brussell sprouts with caramelized onions. (Note to self, all white meats should be brined in sweet tea. It helps the meat retain its juices allowing a moist bite of tender pork every time.) The trifecta of flavors were sweet from the sweet potatoes, tangy from the pork glaze, and mellow from the roasted veggies. You get mashed, grilled, and roasted in every beautiful bite. This dish is priced at $23.95.

No matter what you fancy when you come to Main and Mill, you are sure to find a unique pairing to enjoy.

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