Catch Modern Seafood
6623 Market Street
Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3pm /Dinner: Mon & Tues... 5:30-10pm, Wed-CLOSED (3/10), Thurs-Sat 5:30-10pm, Closed on Sundays. 6623 Market Street #799-3847
Catch gets a nod from well-respected cookbook author Jean Anderson.
We have been waiting for this a long time, people. Catch is by far my favorite lunch place downtown, and Keith Rhodes has been working on opening the Market Street location for dinner for quite a while. So when he announced its opening, I couldn't make reservations fast enough.
My husband and I went with his parents. There was a reasonable crowd, given the crappy weather - it had been pouring rain off and on all day, and that tends to keep people at home. The new place looks great. I know that Keith and his friends and family did most of the work themselves, and they can definitely pat themselves on the back. It's lovely. Not overdone at all. Sparse and elegant, and they scored those GORGEOUS light fixtures from Tayste downtown that closed a couple of years ago. They look like clear glass grape clusters and I love them. They up the level of decor significantly.
Before I get to the food, I'm just going to mention that the service was great, but they're still getting their chops. There was a little bit of confusion with service - it seemed like there was a little bit of "Where's the ____????" going on with the staff, but they were pleasant and cheerful, and all very excited about the opening, so who cares about a couple of minor hiccups? Everyone who works there seems to be invested in the success of the restaurant, which is so nice to see. And the food was worth it, at any rate.
The wine list was balanced, without offering too much or too little, and the prices were pretty standard. Phillip and I ordered apps and a salad and a main course, which we normally don't do, but I wanted to try a large variety of Keith's food and we were also starving. Plus, we shared, of course.
I ordered one of the appetizer specials - a crostini with crab, and it was perfect. One of my common complaints about crostini is that the bread is too toasted and just tears up your mouth without providing much flavor. Not Keith's. The bread was a thinly sliced baguette, lightly toasted so that it was crisp, but not hard, and chewy in the middle. It was topped with a crab salad that was mostly fresh, delicous crab, and not a lot of goop. Phillip ordered the pork lettuce wraps - generous portions of barbecued pork, wrapped in soft butter lettuce.
They all ordered the sweet potato salad for their salad course, which I would suspect is Keith's most popular salad. If you haven't had it at his downtown location, try it here. It's wonderful. Chunks of roasted sweet potatoes on fresh greens with dried cranberries that aren't too tart. I had a salad with shitake mushrooms and an asian dressing that was tasty, but kind of wished I'd had the sweet potato one instead.
For mains, Phillip had the tuna, which was seared rare, thinly sliced over buckwheat noodles and wilted spinach. The noodles and spinach were dressed in a mildly sweet/tangy sauce, but nothing to overpower the flavor of the tuna. My mother-in-law had the walnut tempura shrimp, served over ribbons of cooked zucchini - oh MAN, that shrimp was good! Crispy, sweet, full of flavor, and perfectly done inside and fresh. My father-in-law ordered the catfish, which was cooked in a pretty hot spice rub and supposed to be served over grits, but Keith ran out of grits and asked if he could serve it with the truffled mac and cheese instead. Since my father-in-law dislikes grits anyway, that was fine by him. He did think the catfish was a little too hot for his tastes, and after a bite, I agreed - for me. If you like spicy, you'll love it. It was just a little too much for us. I ordered the duck, which was served with Keith's barbecue sauce and the truffled mac and cheese. FINALLY a decent barbecue sauce in Eastern NC! You'll have to excuse us all - this family is from Memphis and the nearby area, and the sauce there is not just seasoned vinegar. We're trying to learn to like it, but it's such a nice surprise to be served real Memphis sauce, whether Keith realizes that's what he's making or not. The mac and cheese was mild and creamy and a perfect foil to the tangy sauce on the duck.
One of the things I've always loved about Catch is the portion size. You can order like a pig (like P. and I did) but not have to eat like one. The amount of food is reasonable, and you leave feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
We're all so happy for Keith that he's launched his dinner location, and will definitely be back. For now, his downtown location is closed, but his plan is to put it back online with a new menu sometime this summer, so stay tuned!