Down Eats: Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – If you go to the quaint town of New Bern, you’ll find lots of great people and food. But one you may not have heard of, or thought was out of your price range, lies right on the waterfront.

Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant first opened its doors back in 2010. Located off of Front St. behind a gas station, Persimmons offers something for everyone, from their affordable lunch sandwiches and salad, to complex and lavish dishes for dinner

Everything about Persimmons is local — local meat, bread, seafood, and even goods. The name of the restaurant is even local.

“During the construction of it they were dredging the river and came across very old persimmons logs,” said Dean Quadir, the general manager for the restaurant.

You’ll find those same logs featured inside the restaurant today, from the hostess stand to some of the tables.

But what keeps people coming back for more is the food — and man is it good!

Executive Chef Antonio Campolio cooked up a storm for WNCT while we were there. He featured three dishes that showcased local seafood and meat.

First up was a fast selling appetizer, featuring huge scallops served over a fresh blueberry risotto and topped with blueberry salsa and blueberry foam. The dish featured complex flavors, without one ingredient overpowering the other. The blueberries were grown right across the river from the restaurant in Craven County.

So why do you pair seafood and fruit together?

“I know it sounds a little bit weird, but that’s just how my brain works,” Campolio said.

What we called it was absolutely delicious!

Next up was a fresh grouper dish, featuring fish caught right off the Crystal Coast the day before.

Like the scallops dish, the grouper was packed full of flavors that left your taste buds wanting more. Served with basil and citrus infused fish stock, the grouper was definitely the star of the dish. The citrus in the dish only enhanced the fresh flavors of the fish.

Beside the fish were some potatoes like you’ve probably never had before.

“They’re called fawn of potatoes. It’s likes a slow poached potatoes in fat and stock,” Campolio said.

And last, but certainly not least, was a 26 ounce bone-in ribeye from a farm in Greene County. It was the special that night at Persimmons, for obvious reasons.

Seasoned heavily with salt and pepper, Campolio put the ribeye in a searing hot pan, eventually throwing in fresh herbs that filled the kitchen with an unbelievable aroma.

After searing, the meat went in the over to finish cooking. It was served next to fresh tomatoes and purple potatoes, both topped with infused olive oil and deliciousness.

Serving fresh food makes all of the difference for customers.

“I know that everything I’m eating is one contributing to the community, but also that’s it fresh,” said Jennifer Kingman, who proudly said she eats at Persimmons more than 100 times a year.

Kingman said one of her must haves is Persimmon’s brussel sprouts, which she said was simple, but delicious.

Hank Mayer said he visits Persimmons more than 20 times a year, and he lives in Georgia! While WNCT was there, Mayer had gotten a flounder dish paired with citrus and carrots.

“It’s tangy and tart and sweet all at the same time,” he said.

Even the soap in the bathrooms and bread in the kitchen used in Persimmons is made in New Bern.

To get more information, and to see the full menu, click here.

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