We all know what a restaurant is, right? It’s a business that is open 6 or 7 days a week and offers food off of a menu. Well, what if that’s not it, at all?
Cousins Deli and Little Pond Catering both do something else but act like a restaurant one or two nights a week. They’re a good alternative if you can meet their schedule.
Cousins Deli is in the spot across from the New Hanover County Courthouse that once housed Courthouse Café. Like the old place, Cousins is a sandwich shop Monday thru Friday. But it becomes something different Friday and Saturday nights. It becomes an Italian restaurant. Sandwich tables are covered with tablecloths. Candles are placed around the room. And a bunch of corkscrews are placed on a table out front.
Henry Ford famously said you can have a car any color you want as long as it’s black. Cousins will offer you anything you want as long as it is its six course dinner. But whereas Mr. Ford’s comment was off-putting, you’ll be happy with what Joseph offers. But do arrive hungry. Cousins is offering “an evening of authentic Italian family style dining.”
Our six course meal began with a little bruschetta on toast. A simple combination of chopped tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and other spices was a welcome hello to Cousins. That was followed by the anti-pasta. Stuffed mushrooms, cannellonis and a third delicacy let us know we would be having a good meal that evening. The salad is pretty simple but very tasty with Joe’s dressing. The penne pasta came in a “Sunday sauce.” Mr. Google tells me that is a red sauce with meat. The entrée was lemon chicken and sautéed zucchini. The zucchini was about the best I’ve ever had. Zucchini, some red sauce, bread crumbs and a few other items I didn’t catalogue. Dessert was three little desserts including a mini carrot cake and a baby cannoli.
Every week is like this. Six courses but the exact menu changes every week. We were trying to get to Thalian and rushed things. You should plan on two and half to three hours to savor this dinner. Cousins doesn’t have ABC permits but you can bring your wine or beer and there are no corkage fees for wine. And you’ll get more than one meal out of this. Our waiter has only had one group of customers that ate everything. That was a group of young soccer players. Oh yeah, and the place is easy on the wallet. $25 per person provides six courses in a pleasant atmosphere. Call for reservations. Seatings at 6 to 6:30 and 8:00 to 8:30.
I think we’ll see more from these folks in the future.
Most of the time Little Pond Caterers is catering meetings and social functions around Wilmington. If you’ve had bacon and bourbon on a bread stick then you’ve enjoyed their work. But all that changes on Tuesday nights.
Meatball Tuesday’s open the front room of their nondescript building on Princess Place to diners. There’s always one meatball based item and one other item. Two whole options!!
Recently they offered a meatball grinder and a chicken pot pie. Once I sat down and got my grinder I looked around and realized I had been outvoted. The Chicken Pot Pie was the favorite in the room that night. The bride had it and it was very good. The meatballs in the grinder were quite tasty although the bread was a bit dry. But we’ll be back. It’s simple, casual and a good deal on a Tuesday night. Like Cousins, its a family affair. Dad’s in the kitchen. Mom is out front and the kids are helping or being cute. They serve from 6 pm “until we run out.” Little Pond is located just north of Smith Creek on Princess Place.