REVIEW: Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen – Wilmington
I came across Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen (CCK) from a recommendation by my friend, Adam, who lives down in Wilmington. He is a regular at Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen and introduced @EatItNC and @CosmicKitchen via Twitter. Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen is a family-owned restaurant in Wilmington run by Chris & Kristen Lubben. Chris is a ’95 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has been cooking at various upscale restaurants in North Carolina (except for a two year stint in Florida) since then and opened up Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen three years ago. He is always a force to be reckoned with in the Wilmington Top Chef competition.
I went up to Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen with my friends, Adam and Casey, for a some late breakfast (served all day) and early lunch after a fun night out at the beach bars on Wrightsville Beach. The restaurant is located in a strip mall on Eastwood Drive right off of Market Street about 2 miles away from UNC-Wilmington.
The interior of the restaurant has a cosmic theme with stars all over the walls and planets (a cartoon moon and globe lights) hanging from the ceiling. The atmosphere is great and all the employees had smiling faces and were very welcoming which contributed a great deal to the experience.
Adam got the COSMIC Breakfast which is two eggs (any way) with a choice of country ham, sausage patty or bacon, toast or biscuit, and home fries, fruit or grits. I didn’t try any of Adam’s COSMIC Breakfast but it looked like a great breakfast. The eggs looked light and fluffy and the grits were thick and looked to have a nice peppery kick to them. It must have been awesome because Adam didn’t leave anything on his plate expect for the rind of the orange twist.
I got the Farmer’s Omelet which was on special that day. It came with a side of home fries and a biscuit as well. I don’t tend to go vegetarian but an omelet with onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese just sounded awesome…and I was right. Chris stuffed the omelet full of all of the ingredients (take notice to the feta crumbles falling all out above) and cooked it to a fluffy thickness. The home fries were good but didn’t really blow me away. Ketchup helped. The biscuit was great. I halved it and spread jelly on it but I kind of wish that I had gotten an order of biscuits and gravy because someone next to us had it and it looked fantastic.
Casey decided to get away from the late breakfast mentality that Adam and I were in so she ordered the Creole shrimp & grits. In North Carolina, we are mostly used to the creamy, rich version of the dish from our neighboring state to the south so it was nice to see the NOLA (New Orleans, LA) version on the menu which is a lighter, tomato-based dish. The Creole versions tend to vary in style from a heavy, thick reduction of the broth that is spooned on top of the grits to what is basically a soup poured over the grits.
Chris cooks the soup version of the Creole shrimp & grits which I tend to like better because it hasn’t been thickened with cornstarch and it opens up the grits a little bit more taste-wise than the other version. He cooks green peppers, red peppers, stewed tomatoes, red onions and shrimp into a broth which exploding with Creole seasoning that has a kick but not enough to make most people uncomfortable. I am going to have to try CCK’s lunch menu next time I am there (and get a piece of cheesecake for the road) because it looks awesome and their sandwiches all look picture perfect.
Chris’ Cosmic Kitchen is closed on Monday but it open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and they have a Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. It was hustling and bustling while Adam, Casey and I were there and Adam told me that they get a lot of traffic from the UNC-Wilmington crowd there. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop in and grab a bite to eat. Don’t let the exterior of the restaurant fool you, this place is the real deal.