The Trophy Room
517 N. Liberty Street • Winston-Salem
336.448.1714 • TheTrophyRoomWS.com
Sometimes, we like to shake things up a bit with Rosey’s Review, and what better way to kick off a new year by doing exactly that. And what that means for this month is a review of The Trophy Room – a bourbon bar in the heart of Winston-Salem. (Lest you’re confused – we did sample food as evidenced by the gorgeous photos by Photo Artistry by Melinda.)
To explain things, The Trophy Room is a part of Dogwood Hops and Crops, and the soon-to-be-open Young Cardinal Café. Owners Adam Andrews, Austin Ridge, and Joey Hurdle have been lifelong friends, and together, they saw a unique opportunity to offer a different kind of bar experience in the heart of the Triad.
Open since 2017, The Trophy Room specializes in bourbon. Head bartender, Al Lamaur, oversees the operations and works with Austin and Adam to source bourbons from around the world. “North Carolina has some pretty strict laws on alcohol,” explained Al, “but if we can get it – we will.” The bar prides itself on offering variety, and a look at the shelves will leave one in awe – certainly, I had no idea that there were so many different brands of bourbon on the market! But if you’re confused – just ask Al. She is the resident expert on everything bourbon.
Al has worked as a full-time bartender for seven years, with six of those years focused on the art of bourbon. “I’m passionate about bourbon and have even completed the Bourbon Trail of Kentucky,” she continued. “We have award-winning bourbons we serve – hence the name of the bar, ‘The Trophy Room.’”
But let’s talk ambiance before we get to food (and how it happened to be served in a bourbon bar). The Trophy Room is like stepping into a speakeasy of unparalleled sophistication. It’s a moody, dark space that oozes an elegant kind of gloom, yet the atmosphere is vibrant with personality and warmth. It’s a great place to escape from the stress of the outside world.
And that’s precisely what they’ve designed it to be. Patrons of The Trophy Room have the opportunity to invest in lockers where they can store their own personal bottle of bourbon (purchased through The Trophy Room), complete with a nameplate and a signature keychain that denotes their standing. Obviously, space is limited, but it’s a unique way to make The Trophy Room home to bourbon enthusiasts of Winston-Salem. Moreover, Al explained that those who are locker key holders never have to worry about a tab or upcharges on cocktails. Simply rent the locker, tip your bartender accordingly, and rotate your bottle every four months, and the locker fee is waived after the initial investment.
Pretty cool, right?
But let’s get to the food. The Trophy Room has partnered with Jeffrey Adams and every third Wednesday of the month, they feature Prime Rib night. Plus, they occasionally feature pop up dinners! This month, we were invited to try it out. Obviously, seating is limited, so you’re going to want to go online (TheTrophyRoomWS.com) and make sure you reserve your seat quickly! The fee of $55 covers a generous portion of prime rib, salad, sides, dessert, and three samples of bourbon, so tuck in and let me tell you about our dinner.
We started the evening with Arugula Salad with Balsamic Dressing. While the salad on Prime Rib night may rotate from time to time based on the freshness of the greens and veggies, I hope, for your sake, this one makes a frequent appearance. A delightful bed of arugula is topped with pickled red onions, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, cashews, and goat cheese crumbles. It is, in a word, divine. There was so much flavor in every bite!
Our salad was served with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, which was not as strong as your typical bourbon. It’s a drinkable bourbon that has a softer side, versus the typical bite and burn on bourbon. A Kentucky bourbon, it’s only 80 proof, making it a lighter option and with a slight hint of spice and cinnamon.
Our entrée was, of course, Prime Rib. Y’all – I love me some prime rib. This generous cut was served with au jus and of course, spicy and creamy horseradish sauce. With a peppered crust, the prime rib is melt-in-your-mouth-delicious. I loved the flavor.
Honestly, I could have just been happy with the prime rib, but then they said, “Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese.” Be still my beating heart – this smoky interpretation of mac and cheese is nothing like you’ve ever tasted. With a delicious bread crumb topping, it’s a carb-lovers dream with lots of cheesy goodness and a hint of smoky flavor that just adds to the perfection of this dish.
Before we ate our meal, we were told about our dinner, and when they said “assorted veggies,” I didn’t give that a whole lot of thought. I was thinking of the traditional squash and zucchini medley. But they were just being modest. This was so much more – a generous and colorful assortment of mixed vegetables – roasted peppers, asparagus, portabella mushrooms, and my personal favorite: Brussels sprouts!
The entrée was served with a bourbon called Angel’s Envy. Another Kentucky bourbon (fun fact – 95% of the world’s bourbon is from Kentucky), Angel’s Envy is 86.6% proof and finished in port wine barrels. It packs a little bit of a burn, and it was a perfect complement to our dinner.
We were told Chocolate Crème Brûlée was next, so like any self-respecting Southerner, I finished my vegetables so my mother would be proud of me, and asked for a to-go box for everything else so my husband would be happy when I got home. And I prepared myself for dessert. Of all the Crème Brûlée desserts I’ve tasted – both before and since my life as a restaurant reviewer – I’ve never had a purely chocolate Crème Brûlée. I’ve had white chocolate and Crème Brûlée with chocolate swirls. But creamy, decadent, goodness that leaves one without words but only happy memories – this was a first. And oh, yes, there was fresh whipped cream. It honestly reminded me of a rich brownie flavor, but with that signature burnt sugar on top of creamy Crème Brûlée custard.
For dessert, our bourbon sample was back to the Basil Hayden brand, but we tried the Dark Rye edition. This was a more luxurious bourbon, with an oaky flavor, and a hint of caramel sweetness and dried fruit.
This was a definite first for me, and I hope you’ll experience it for yourself. It’s was an unexpected surprise for me, and I loved it! The food, the ambiance, and the character of the bar made for a great evening! Book your own prime rib dinner at The Trophy Room, and be sure to tell them that Rosey sent ya!