Posted 26 September 2002 - 12:40 PM
Where should I eat that's expensive? Magnolia Grill seems the obvious place. Is it the best?
Where should I eat that's cheap?
In particular, what are options like on a Sunday evening?
(Note: Chapel Hill and Raleigh would probably be fine places to eat as well.)
Posted 26 September 2002 - 02:30 PM
That's a pretty open-ended question. If you are in Durham, I'd say stay there. Generally speaking, that's where you would find the best restaurants in the Triangle.
In my opinion, the two best restaurants in Durham for a nice night out are: Magnolia Grill and Nanas. I think the guy who opened Nana's worked at Magnolia grill before he opened his restaurant (which was at least 8 years ago). If you haven't been to Magnolia Grill, I suppose I'd go there. It is great. I ate there about 2 weeks ago for my birthday. For 4 people, each with and appetizer, entree, dessert, pre-dinner drink, post dinner drink, and 2 bottles of wine for the table (toward the inexpensive end of the spectrum), I think it cost about $70 a person, tax and tip included. So, not too bad. Nana's is excellent as well, and I suppose I prefer the atmosphere there. Magnolia Grill is basically a large open room with a bunch of tables close together. Nana's has more spots for an intimate meal. Price would be comparable at Nana's.
A mid-range option in Durham would be Pop's, which is also affiliated with the Magnolia Grill/Nana's crew in some way. It is basically Italian.
In Raleigh, a mid-range place to go is Fraziers. We probably eat there more frequently than anywhere else. Its on Hillsborough street near NC State. Good upscale food at a reasonable price. Another good place, slightly more expensive, but still cheaper than Magnolia Grill, is Glenwood Grill.
I guess the nicest expensive place in Raleigh might be Second Empire. But I wouldn't go there unless you have already been to Manolia Grill and Nana's and want variety. Food is not as good; atmosphere is stuffier; price is higher.
I don't know as much about Chapel Hill. We also recently ate at Fearrington House, which is near Chapel Hill, and was excellent. This place is more expensive than any place I have mentioned, price fixe only, and pretty darn formal. Still food was great and rural setting is different.
For cheap, how cheap do you want? Many good local BBQ joints. I think FG was in this area a few years ago and wrote about some of them. I'm not that picky when it comes to Q--I like it all.
I have no idea about Sunday hours.
Posted 26 September 2002 - 03:35 PM
In terms of cheap food, I don't have any particular price range in mind. Barbecue would be good, or any other food experiences that are relatively unlikely to show up in New York. For that matter, it doesn't even have to be so cheap if it's unlikely I'd be able to get something comparable in New York.
Posted 26 September 2002 - 04:09 PM
also, varmint lives around here, and I am sure he will post some ideas once he gets back from his B-Day dinner at Magnolia Grill tonight.
One idea is Bullocks. This is a BBQ place and then some in Durham. I first found it when I was in school at Duke. I doubt you'd find anything quite like it in NY. (Then again, seems like the big city has a bit of everything if you know where to look). No reservations. You get in a line that can be rather lengthy at peak times. The thing to do is order "Family Style". Its like $10 or less per person (everyone at the table needs to get it). You get all you can eat, BBQ, fried chicken, hush puppies, brunswick stew, green beans, sweet tea, etc., etc. I think the food is real good. Only downside is: no wine or beer. But, no real BBQ places seem to have a liquor license. The place is a real institution. Lots of pictures of famous and not so famous people on the wall etc. People argue like hell about BBQ down here, and I've never really heard anyone say that Bullock's was "the best." But, its plenty good to me, and the overall experience is always fun.
PS: I think you'll really enjoy Magnolia Grill. Do save room for dessert.
PPS: After dinner, if you have some time and are so inclined, drive down 9th Street toward the school and stop in at the Green Room. This old pool joint is another nearby institution. No food, but plenty of beer and tables.
Posted 26 September 2002 - 07:28 PM
The food itself is not so unique, but the restaurant is. It's a downtown Raleigh institution. Very large, fairly casual, often loud, up-scale oyster bar, with all kinds of seafood, fried, grilled, however.
I have always enjoyed the meals I have had there, and the place is fun. License plates on the wall from local politicians, nice long bar where you can order oysters and anything else on the menu, nicer tables if you want a more civilized experience (we always sit at the bar). Food is very good. When you sit down, you get a basket of hush puppies and a tub of butter. On my initial visit, I scoffed at the butter dippers--hush puppies+butter seemed a bit much. But, once you try it, you won't go back to eating them dry. Good beer and wine list. Much more expensive than Bullocks, but still modestly priced.
Should be a different experience than something found in NYC
Posted 30 September 2002 - 11:50 AM
- Acme, less expensive but very good, in Carrboro (Carrboro is actually just a block beyond Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, and Chapel Hill is a 5 minute drive from Durham).
-Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, well worth a try, if only to pay homage to the late Bill Neal and admire the new chef Bill.
-Four Square in Durham. Sorry to say I haven't been, but it's getting good marks from several people I know.
Posted 01 October 2002 - 07:37 PM
I also had a dessert wine there that I haven't seen anywhere else, nor has anyone ever heard of it. It was a "black" muscat, and indeed it was a very deep, dark wine but it was not fortified. No one else I have ever spoken with on the subject has had any idea what I refer to, and assumed I was mad, or just plain stupid. My lack of any other sort of information hasn't helped me on that score
As to other reccomendations, the NYT had a piece on various restaurants in the R/D area this passed summer. They recommended a 'que place that my sister, who goes to Duke, spoke highly of, but she is in the wilds of Australia, and the hard copy is burried away somewhere. I would suggest you either search the Times' website or utilize Lexis Nexis if you have access.
Do report back.