RX Restaurant & Bar in downtown Wilmington, at Castle and Fifth Streets, is a true farm-to-table experience. The name was inspired by the building’s former tenant, Hall’s Drug Store, one of Wilmington’s oldest businesses. A meal here feels and tastes good. Chef James Doss, who grew up in North Carolina’s coastal plain, describes the cooking as “seasonally inspired, ingredient-driven, Southern cuisine.”
He sources local produce, meat and seafood for the menu, which changes daily. You’ll see the names of farmers and fishermen in nearly every entrée description. Herbs are grown in the restaurant’s windowsills, and the kitchen makes everything from scratch, including biscuits, bacon jam, pimento cheese, Andouille sausage and the popular shrimp and grits with bacon, braised fennel, mushrooms, garlic, peppers and onions.
Rx cooks love pork, as evidenced by fine charcuterie; crispy, deep-fried, Buffalo-style pig ears that locals can’t resist; and thick pork chops served with assorted local vegetables like tender baby limas Southerners call “butter beans.” That’s not to say there’s no beef. Doss sources the best for New York strip, rib-eye and a tartare that he might serve with fried oysters, nasturtium, tarragon-horseradishaioli and pickled onions. Sunday brunch may bring bacon cinnamon rolls, a triple-decker chili cheeseburger or white sweet potato bisque crowned with duck confit, blue chevre and brown butter crumble.
Special touches give homespun desserts a certain sophistication, say bourbon ice cream atop warm, sticky toffee pudding.Friendly staff and impressive bartenders enhance the rustic but stylish honeywood dining room. Local art hangs on the walls.
The wide bar is a fun place to dine or sip wine, a North Carolina beer or an Rx signature cocktail, perhaps the Crab Apple with Bulliet bourbon, Rx’s own honey syrup, Crabbies Ginger Beer and a splash of bitters.
At $10, Rx Restaurant has one of the area’s most reasonable corkage fees. Rx dinner hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Brunch on Sunday is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information visit www.rxwilmington.com.