Area chefs compete for state’s best dish

A total of 19 restaurants have been selected to compete this summer for best dish in North Carolina and two of them are right here in the Cape Fear region.

Catch Modern Seafood is located in downtown Wilmington. They serve lunch and dinner. The menu is eclectic. The atmosphere is quaint and fresh, just like the locally caught seafood.

Keith Rhodes is the chef and owner. He’s won first place for best dish in the state before. “I’m back again. That really means a lot when we have so many talented chefs in North Carolina.”

Chef Keith said food is not the only drawing card his restaurant offers. “There are so many things that round out the whole experience, such as service and ambience and things like that. There are a combination of factors that keep people coming back.”

We got to see him in action today. “Right now I’m cooking one of our signature items. It’s sticky rice with North Carolina shrimp and jumbo crab meat.”

Catch modern seafood will be expanding next month with a new location on Market Street in Ogden.

Catch will compete for the best dish of North Carolina in the casual dining category, while Indigo Marsh will compete for the best fine dining dish.

Indigo Marsh is located in Surf City next to the swing bridge. The restaurant prides itself on serving the finest cuts of meat, wild game and the freshest seafood.

Alison Lucien is the owner. She said customers like more than just the view. “I think they’re surprised to find such quality food here in Topsail. That was our goal when we opened the restaurant, to bring a more upscale feeling.”

The menu changes seasonally at Indigo Marsh to take advantage of what’s available. Entrees range from $20 to $ 34.

Chris Hall is the sous chef and Keith Gurganus is the executive chef at Indigo Marsh.

“I’ve helped the past couple years as the sous chef. This is the first year getting into it with my dishes, with help from Chris,” Gurganus said.

“It’s our whole staff on this one. We’re getting judged on how we sell the dish, so we’re quizzing the waitresses. They know our product,” added Chris Hall.