A 21 year old chef with a college degree and one cookbook already under her belt, Lauren Sephton’s enthusiasm for food is almost extravagant. She doesn’t just eat food, she celebrates it; she doesn’t just prepare meals for people, she lavishesher dishes on them. A foodie who knows how to feast, photograph and formulate her own recipes and articles for Forsyth Woman, Lauren is our new Forsyth Foodie! Please join us in welcoming her!
719 Coliseum Dr NW, Winston-Salem, NC 27106
336.724.6132 • RyansRestaurant.com
Ryan’s Restaurant has been a Winston-Salem staple since its doors opened in 1977. And even though they’re only minutes from downtown and the Wake Forest University campus, Ryan’s offers a hidden surprise – your escape from the hustle and bustle. From their window table seating to their large starlight deck, you’ll be sure to find serenity within the panoramic view of large oaks alongside a gentle stream running beneath a bridge twinkling with lights. You may even spot a few blue birds passing by earlier in the evenings! Whether you’re celebrating or simply dining, Ryan’s can turn any night into an experience with its intimate atmosphere and impeccable service.
At our visit, we were blessed with the opportunity to briefly speak with the very welcoming owner, Dennis Carter, and young chef, Jon Willis, to learn more about the hard work each team member puts into creating such an atmosphere, the creative touches Chef Willis is adding to the timeless menu, and how they only provide their guests with the highest quality ingredients. By the time our conversation finished, we had decided to hand in our menus and allow them to pick and choose for us. And to say we were amazed, would be an understatement.
The evening began with their Heirloom Cherry Tomato Caprese that took a little twist on the traditional Italian appetizer. The fresh mozzarella paired beautifully with the firm, almost crunchy, cherry tomatoes that are naturally a bit sweeter than your typical tomato, then plated with a balsamic reduction, micro greens, and a vibrant green spinach pesto that brought out all the herbaceous flavors.
The fresh caprese was then followed by their Ahi Tuna Tartare appetizer that is tossed in a sesame-citrus vinaigrette, chives, and shallots with a side of crispy wontons for the most divine pre-dinner indulgence. The citrus and chives perfectly complemented the silky taste of the tuna, and the scattered sesame seeds added a nice crunch for texture. Eat it on its own or with the crispy wontons, you can’t go wrong!
And thanks to Chef Willis, we were able to have a sneaky taste of a seasonal entree, Confit Duck Breast, as one final appetizer. While it’s typically served alongside a creamy vanilla sweet potato mash, still slightly crispy yet tender haricot verts, pickled cherries, and a blackberry pomegranate duck demi, we were able to have a savory version that tied in quite flawlessly with the ahi tuna tartare. It was plated next to a crisp cabbage and bell pepper salad with a sweet sesame-soy dressing. Let’s just say, there are few and far in between that can cook duck correctly – keeping it tender, moist, yet full of flavor – and Ryan’s is one of them!
Moving on to the entrees, we began the first of three with the most heavenly Pan Seared Scallops that were delicately sweet with a browned crust on the outside, yet the inside texture was as soft as butter. They were garnished with an apricot beurre blanc sauce and a citrus parmesan gremolata for a little crunch. Hungry, yet? Well, we still aren’t finished… The scallops are also served over an almond pearl cous cous and asparagus, whose salty, earthy notes balanced out the natural sweetness from the citrus.
Next on the menu was their Chilean Sea Bass that was once again seared to perfection, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It was served with citrus basil basmati rice, sautéed asparagus that still had a slight crunch for the best texture, a pineapple salsa, balsamic reduction, and micro greens that are in full blossom this time of year.
And as any local will say, you can’t leave Ryan’s Restaurant without having a steak, and they aren’t wrong. Serving only the best choice meats, their 5oz Prime Filet Mignon did not disappoint. It is a steak that is designed to impress with its lean cut that’s tender, and a texture that’ll just melt in your mouth.
With stomachs full and satisfied, we rounded out the evening with our publisher Brooke Eagle’s favorite. Their Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee was beautifully plated with a fresh raspberry puree and dollops of whipped cream. It was a wonderful balance between the light custard, the floral notes of the vanilla bean, and the nuttiness of the top layer of caramelized sugar.
Nevertheless, Ryan’s Restaurant is a treat that can be enjoyed on all occasions! Thank you Mr. Carter and Chef Willis for one of the most amazing meals and a pleasant night. Now, if your stomach is grumbling, here is your sign to head on over to Ryan’s Restaurant tonight and tell them that the Forsyth Mags Foodie said hi!