Scott Howell
Scott Howell
Durham, NC

Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 p.m.
Members $85, guests $110

"People will drive 100 miles just to eat at Nana's," cookbook author, Raleigh native, and Nana's regular Jean Anderson has written. Luckily, the folks who live near the vibrant Research Triangle, where Nana's is located, don't have to.

Chef Scott Howell is a hometown boy who has made good. The Asheville native was weaned on traditional Southern cooking, and though he now easily tosses off contemporary dishes like roast duck with baked polenta in a huckleberry-balsamic sauce, and pan-seared red grouper with butter beans in braised baby octopus sauce, he remains firm about his all-time favorite-pulled pork barbecue sandwiches. Howell even wrote an article on Carolina barbecue for Fine Cooking magazine, and he served barbecue as the centerpiece at his own wedding.

After finishing college, Howell left his hometown to attend the CIA. Both while a student and after graduation, he worked in such venerable New York restaurants as Jams, Arcadia, and Bouley. He took a turn in Imola, Italy at the Michelin two-star San Domenico and one in Los Angeles at the acclaimed Campanile. But while Howell thrived on studying unfamiliar cuisines and techniques, he missed home. As he told Anderson in an article for Food & Wine, "I wanted to make my mark in North Carolina. I wanted to come back and start makin' food happen." So in 1990, Howell returned to Raleigh, at first working under Ben Barker at the popular Magnolia Grill. Less than two years later, Howell struck out on his own. Nana's is named for his grandmother; he also runs a casual trattoria, Pop's, named for grandpa. And in both establishments, great food is indeed "happening."

Esquire critic John Mariani included Nana's in his roundup of the best new restaurants of 1993. He cited it as "a perfect example" of the way "regional American food, sensibly influenced by nontraditional flavors, is unbeatable when it comes to gastronomic satisfaction." Dee Walston of the Herald-Sun put it far more simply: "Nana's," she wrote, "has some of the best food around."

Cured Foie Gras and Country Ham on Angel Biscuits

Smoked Trout on Toasted Brioche with Crème Fraîche and Osetra Caviar

Deviled Quail's Egg with Nine-Day Pickle Relish

Stump Sound Oysters with Green Tomato Mignonette

     Bruno Paillard Brut NV

Frisée and Baby Spinach with Warm Crayfish and Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette

     Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 1999

Fried Catfish with Warm Savoy Cabbage, Celery Root, and Sea Urchin Broth

     Domaine Weinbach Schlossberg Riesling 1999

Apple Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder and Sweet Butter-Poached Lobster with Sweet Potato Spaetzle

     Domaine Weinbach Cuvée Laurence
     Gewürztraminer 1999

Barbecue Veal Cheeks with Sweet Corn and Caramelized Onion Risotto

     Camigliano Poderuccio 1998

Roasted Banana Bread Pudding with Spicy Pecan Ice Cream

     M. Chapoutier Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 1998


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