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I was so delighted when I found out I was going to have the opportunity to review the Restaurant Youssef 242, in Hickory.

The name had been mentioned, I had heard wonderful things about it.

I, honestly , was not sure of how it is was going to be. It exceeded my expectations! Truly!

My reservation was at 8:30PM on a Monday.

I love going to review restaurants on Mondays.

Monday is right after the rush of the weekend, and the Head Chef has usually the day off. The  waiters in training are on what should be a slow day. However, I have always argued that the Monday night crowd pays the same that the weekend crowd….

I had an incredible waiter: Miguel! I usually take the recommendation of the waiter on the food. They should be that knowledgable about giving advice in this kind of upscale restaurant. He did a great job guiding the choices on the fact that I am a foodie, and French!

The menu specials is always a good bet for me as it is where you see the creativity of the Chef. That evening the Sous-Chef was in fact the Chef as it is usually the case in the beginning of the week.

I ordered two appetizers , the second one as my meal. The first was the special.

Here the description well described by Chef Rick Doherr:

“It was a Cheval Farmstead goat cheese medley. It included an incredibly delicious mixture of various olives, assorted peppers, fresh garlic, Rosemary, goat cheese medallions nestled on top of Cheval farmsteads homemade pesto then filled with a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. It is served with wood fired oven baked crostinis.”

Here is a link to the Cheval Farmstead website.

My second appetizer that I ordered as my meal was the citrus lump crab cake, with wilted arugula, sriracha aioli and topped with some crisp pommes frites.

I had hesitated between the crab cakes and the tuna nicoise as the crab cakes usually have way to much breading and don’t taste like crab at all.

This is maybe one of the best crab cakes I have eaten in a long time. Moist, creamy, tasty. It was succulent! The presentation of the food was most incredible!!

I truly enjoyed talking with the Chef for quite a while. A graduate from the C.I.A in Hyde Park, he was humble, and took time to explain his food, his cooking style and how important is his relationship with the local farmers. You can tell he enjoy spending time with customers and learning about them.

A must try in Hickory, North Carolina!

Youssef 242 will be changing his restaurant name soon to “Cafe Rule and Wine bar”