100 Favorite Dishes: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House

No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
When you find yourself at a restaurant called Bacon, bacon had better end up on your plate in some form. Fortunately, at Bacon there's no shortage of cured pork belly in just about every dish — and even in a few cocktails. This new Sunnyside eatery is open all day — and serves breakfast all day — so you can get your fill of eggs and pancakes at any time, too. But for a true taste of North Carolina native Brian Crow's cooking, dig into a bowl of his shrimp and grits bathed in a rich brown sauce and studded with chewy bits of Tender Belly bacon.

"Shrimp n’ grits is true to my heart, being a Southern boy," Crow notes. He builds his version on a smooth mound of slow-cooked grits and uses shrimp stock to pump up the flavor. Garlic, shallots and bacon are thrown into a hot pan, followed by shrimp, jalapeños and mushrooms. The shrimp stock — made in-house from shrimp shells — is added to deglaze the pan and is reduced with cream. At the end, tomatoes, spinach and butter are folded in.

Each bite yields a little smoky bacon and a little of the clingy sauce (which is gluten-free, since it's not thickened with flour). The lightly cooked tomatoes and a few crumbles of goat cheese add brightness to the mixture, which never seems heavy despite the butter and cream. This is a breakfast dish to start a day of hard work — or to end it with sumptuous pleasure. But what else would you expect from a place called Bacon?

Throughout this year, we'll be counting down the best dishes in the city — from longtime classics that keep us coming back to new additions that have caught our attention. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at cafe@westword.com.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop


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