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Review: Enoteca Vin


Varmint
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Ashley Christensen, chef of Raleigh’s Enoteca Vin, is H-O-T -- hot. And before you start accusing me of being a sexist pig, I’ll even say that she’s red hot. Her restaurant was featured in a multi-page spread in Food and Wine, she’s been hired as the consulting chef at Nana’s Chophouse in the Warehouse District, she’s looking to open another restaurant, and she recently cooked at the James Beard House for a wine dinner. Frankly, there’s just not enough of Ashley Christensen to go around, so to dispute that she's a hot commodity is dead wrong.

Another couple joined us for a late dinner at Vin on a recent Friday (we locals just drop the “Enoteca” part of the name, and we mispronounce it, too, to rhyme with “Win”). Several years ago, I claimed Vin to be a solid, but not excellent restaurant. I thought the cuisine was too predictable, too simplistic. I changed my views over time as Christensen fully blossomed as a chef (and I became a better informed diner). She has always been an avid proponent of sourcing the best local ingredients, but she hadn’t yet cultivated enough relationships to get the best stuff for every dish. Moreover, I think she just hadn’t grown as a chef to the point where she was willing to take chances, to explore new ideas, to boldly go where . . . . well, you get the point. Those days are long gone by, and frankly, I now put Ashley Christensen at a level equal to the best chefs in the Southeast.

The cuisine at Vin will never dazzle you with complexity as you might see with Ben Barker's food at Magnolia Grill or William D'Auvray's style at Fins. In fact, when I eat Christensen's food, I'm reminded more of Tom Colicchio of New York's Craft and Gramercy Tavern than any other chef – bold, pure flavors where the ingredients complement each other. The focus is on the product and technique, and she's careful not to muck things up. Sure, she puts together flavor combinations that are unique, but again, her touch is restrained.

So, let's talk about that food. If you want to get to the extreme of simplicity, order a plate of charcuterie that is listed on the menu as "Meat Plate," and you'll get five piles of the best cured meats that can be obtained in North Carolina, sliced so thin they're actually translucent: bresaola, finocchiona, mortadella, prosciutto di San Danielle and Petit Jesu. Add some bread and the house olive oil, a peppery, dark and flavorful elixir, and you have a meal right there.

But meat plates have nothing to do with the talent in the kitchen (but they certainly reflect a commitment to quality), so ordering one of the several appetizers will give you a better idea of what Vin can do. A spicy kabocha squash soup brings out several different flavors and textures: the sweetness of the squash is further enhanced with coconut but is tempered with the earthiness of braised lamb, served atop a very crunchy (perhaps overly so) crouton. Spicy, sweet, earthy, crunchy – but still very pure in the flavors.

I'm not sure if a current restaurant decorum allows a menu without a raw fish dish, so Christensen offers an ahi tartare paired with heirloom tomatoes and a spicy aioli. It's a tasty dish that offers a refined twist to the typical raw fish dishes found today.

It's also possible to get simple dishes, such as lighter than light deviled eggs (better than my, or probably anyone's grandmother's), anchovies with fried capers and white beans, or some chicken liver pate, all of which I've tried at some point. I'm not even an anchovy fan, but these were delicious – light, tender and just enough "fishiness" to balance the astringency of the capers. Served with the white beans, it's a great match.

Entrees really shine. I had what could be the best roast chicken of my life at Vin. This bird was not brined, it was not marinated or injected. It comes from a local producer, was gently roasted, and has more flavor and unctuousness (is that a word) than any free range, organic hen that I've made or been served. The crispiness of the skin was more like what one finds with duck, with the subcutaneous fat transformed into air-filled crunch. Christensen served the chicken with local beauregard sweet potatoes and very flavorful and rich braised collards – with the pot liquor acting as the base of the sauce. Fortunately, Christensen has informed me that she can help me get a few of these chickens, so I can see if I can make something close to what is served at Vin.

My wife had the seared day boat scallops which were accompanied with roasted tomatoes and leeks and a potato brandade. One of my dining mates ordered "the salmon." Well, "the salmon" was this humongous slab of pan roasted Coho salmon served with truffled corn and hedgehog mushrooms. The last dish we tried was quite interesting – the menu referred to it as cassoulet, but I would regard this as a loose interpretation of the classic dish of Southwest France. This cassoulet was made with lentils and three types of pork: homemade pork sausage (redolent of garlic), pork tenderloin, and braised pork belly. This was one of those dishes that I hate and am glad I didn't order it – no, not because it wasn't good (it was great), but because I'd find myself getting halfway through it, feeling completely stuffed, but simultaneously compelled to finish it all. It's one of those dishes you can't stop eating, leaving you uncomfortably full, albeit with a smile on your face.

I am not a wine person. I do not go to restaurants to try wines, as I focus on the food. However, Vin is the restaurant where I first learned how a great pairing of food and wine can truly enhance the overall taste experience. Thus, I need to take a time out and describe the wine service at Vin. Well, the name of the restaurant is redundant when using both Enoteca and Vin, so it's clear that there is a strong emphasis on wine here, and the wine service does not disappoint. Vin's co-owner, Chrish Peel, is the man behind the wine selections, and he just happens to be the owner of what many consider to be the finest wine store in the Southeast, Carolina Wine Company. Vin offers over 50 different wines by the glass, in different volumes of pours (1.5, 3 and 5 ounces). This makes it easy to match wines with the food at an affordable price. We were able to sample a 1996 Pol Roger Reserve champagne, which was brilliant (and goes perfectly with deviled eggs). We also had a 1996 Antonio Vallana Boca, a nebbiolo-based wine that was filled with earthy flavors (and was a steal at $39 a bottle). We also tried a 1999 Sesti Brunello di Montalcino, which was a surprising simple, but flavorful wine (and not as good of a value as the Vallana). Vin has a great new sommelier (or is he an assistant sommelier, with Chrish Peel being the big cheese?), and I can't recall his name. He's incredibly affable, helpful, and a total asset to the restaurant.

I wish I could say the same about Vin's new pastry chef, Erik Akbari. Ashley Christensen used to be in charge of the desserts, but Vin recently brought on Akbari as its full-time pastry chef. The desserts Akbari produces sound great in concept, but two of the three we sampled were disappointing. A banana cream pie served with peanut caramel is actually a small banana tart, but it had almost no banana flavor whatsoever. The peanut caramel was overly bitter, as if the caramel had been burned a bit. A plum sorbet appears simple in concept, but Akbari adds an unnecessary amount of herbs and spices to the mixture, ultimately muddling the plum flavors. A bourbon pecan tart served with malted milk ice cream was a winner, as here Akbari did not attempt to go too far with experimentation. Ultimately, it appears that Akbari's focus is the exact opposite of what Christensen is trying to do – he does too much, obscuring the primary flavors, while Christensen works to enhance those. Hopefully, over time, the desserts will be on a similar plane as the savory courses.

We are lucky to have Ashley Christensen's talents here in Raleigh. Go to Vin now, before the lure of the big city pulls this North Carolina native away. Now I need to go pick up my chickens before Christensen recants her offer!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Glad to see this enthusiastic review of Vin. IMHO this spot rests with my favorite restaurants in NC. Fearington is first for its haute aproach and Vin is equal for satifaction and rises above for their wine list, thanks to Carolina Wine Company.

As far as Im concerned if you come to our vast state to eat, come and stay at Fearrington, eat there and go on a second dinner to Vin(35 min drive) and this is the best introduction you can have to what we can offer as far as pleasure.

Hmmmm, I and thinking of others as I type, but I stand with what I typed.

Nate

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I can't add anything about the food, Le Varm hit it on the head. However, when my husband and I went last month, we had a couple of great desserts that I would put on a par with any creative pastry chef in the area. One was pumpkin doughnuts served with a coffee cup of sweet cream sauce for dunking and the other was a fig tart with balsamic vinegar. Maybe the desserts are still up and down.

I also love being able to get a different glass of wine with each course.

My only gripe - and I have this gripe about many restaurants today - is why, why, why is it so NOISY??? At many new restaurants, the tables are so close together, music so loud and so many hard surfaces bouncing off sound that I have to yell to have a conversation. Now, the tables, that's probably because a small restaurant has to get as many people in as they can. But the other stuff... I hate to start sounding like an curmudgeonly old woman...

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I hate to start sounding like an curmudgeonly old woman...

Don't fight it . . . be proud of your curmudgeonness (does such a word exist?)!!

And by the way, I have little doubt they'll get the desserts worked out just fine.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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My only gripe - and I have this gripe about many restaurants today - is why, why, why is it so NOISY??? At many new restaurants, the tables are so close together, music so loud and so many hard surfaces bouncing off sound that I have to yell to have a conversation. Now, the tables, that's probably because a small restaurant has to get as many people in as they can. But the other stuff... I hate to start sounding like an curmudgeonly old woman...

Is there room in your curmudgeonly boat for hub and me? We have this same gripe. All we can figure is that management(?) assumes that this atmosphere/ambiance/whatever appeals to people, especially of the younger variety. Either that or they feel like this din gives off an aura of being "on the cutting edge"....of what, I'm not sure. Anyhow....faves which do NOT seem to have this problem are Nana's, Bloomsbury Bistro, and Four Square. Hard to say about Vin Rouge since we've always been seated on the patio, which is relatively quiet.

CBHall

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Sorry, I beg to differ....my idea of a pleasurable dining experience and enjoying the company of friends does not include having to yell/straining to hear above the din in order to carry on a conversation. Must just be an age thing....don't worry, you'll be there soon enough yourself.

CBHall

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went to Vin again last night, and we had one of the best dishes I've eaten in the past year or two: on a bed of white beans, tomato, and greens was served duck confit, rare slices of duck breast, and topped with some crunchy duck skin cracklin's. This was outstanding and was served to us because I let Ashley know how much my wife loved duck. Yes, it was off menu, but it's this type of special attention that Ashley Christensen loves to offer (it even says so on the Vin website) and that is distinguishing Vin from the other places in the Triangle.

I also can say that the wine service at Vin is head and shoulders better than any other restaurant. No, they don't have the largest selection, but it's the most intelligent and accessible wine list I've seen. Plus, they have Scott Luetgenau, who is their (fairly new) general manager and sommelier. Scott knows and loves his wines, and his enthusiasm is utterly contagious. I'm a wine ignoramus, and Scott had me sample a Sagrantino with my short ribs last night. When I informed Scott I had never even heard of that grape, he went out of his way to include with our bill a print-out with information about this great wine and grape. This level of service is not limited to just the wine, it's the way Vin works.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 4 weeks later...

My wife and I went to Vin on a recent Friday for her birthday. Our first time, and it was once of the best meals out we'd had in quite a while. We absolutely hogged out because I had to try some of everything. My quick highlights:

The s.o. made me order a blueberry manhattan, because she's pregnant and she wanted to try some. So I had to drink most of it. There are worse wives out there. It was so good it almost made me want to drink a regular manhattan.

We had the fries as a pre-app. They are shoestring and served with a malt vinegar aoli. The aoli solves the age old quandry of how you get enought vinegar to stick to your chips. I could have used more vinegar in the aoli, but that didn't seem to slow us down.

Bread served with dinner was excellent - Seemed like an italian loaf, with lots of air in the crumb. Good crust.

The waygu tartare disobeyed several laws of physics. At least the egg yolk on top did. I pierced it, but it didn't really rupture. I kept dipping toast points into it, and it just sat there, yielding yolk without collapsing. Eventually it collapsed and ran into the beef. I ate it all. Dish was excellent and I would selfishly order it again instead of experiencing something new.

Wife had some kind of salmon. I thought it was only OK. She thought it was excellent. She's probably right.

Dinner I had the pork shoulder with beets and lentils and gnocci (?) and mint (which was used so sparingly that I wouldn't have known it was there had I not been told). I gotta say, I don't 'like' beets or lentils. Or gnocci, for that matter. This dish was recommended to me, and Vin seemed to have the rep it takes to make me eat things I don't 'like' (Magolia Grill does the same for me). They really came through - It was

excellent.

I think for me it encapsulated what I liked about the restaurant. The entree was $28, which I'd say seems kinda pricey for pork shoulder. Yet it was worth every penny. It reminded me of the old story about the factory consultant who charges $500 to fix some equipment just by swinging a hammer. When confronted, he provides a bill for $5 for swinging the hammer and $495 for knowing where to swing it.

Ms. Christiansen knows where to swing the hammer.

Wife had scallops that seemed OK, but I was chin deep in pork. When dessert time came, we balked at the mint ice cream wih nibs (ha!) in it. I think we both had visions of chalky green flavored ice cream. I don't know what else we could have been served earlier that would have made us wake up and realize that at Vin there weren't going to be any cop outs like that. Everything else was stellar, and this was no exception. No artifical green mint coloring, just clean mint flavor.

It's tough to travel from Durham when we're looking to spend some real $ on dinner - With Nana's up the road and Magnolia 2 miles away, we have some options. Now we have a Raleigh option that deserves attention.

Edited by nibbs (log)
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Last night, a group of us had the pleasure of partaking in a special "Whole Hog Tasting" meal at Vin, featuring a hog from Cane Creek Farm. This hog is a cross from the Ossabaw and the Gloucestershire Old Spot (discussion here), raised on protocols established by Niman Ranch. In fact, Bill Niman himself was at last night's dinner, and he took the time to chat with us (and to rave about chef Ashley Christensen).

The first course was a frisee salad, topped with fresh garlic pork sausage and a poached egg. This was a great starter, and I could easily have enjoyed a larger version of this for brunch. Maybe some crispy lardoons, too!

The second course consisted of pork belly served two ways: first, the fresh bacon was braised and then crisped on the outside. I'm not really sure how the second part was prepared, but it ended up being shredded pork belly served on a piece of crunchy baguette. The entire dish was served with a chick pea soup – very light and refreshing to contrast with the unctiousness of the pork.

We then were served some great house-made tortellini filled with testa and pork shoulder. Ashley had intended on making a testa terrine, but she just didn't have enough time for it to cure and set properly. Nevertheless, the tortellini were fantastic.

The final pure pork dish was a basic risotto Milanese topped with pulled pork shin and shaved white truffle. God, I love truffles! This was a great dish, but frankly, the truffles almost made the pork unnecessary. That's the one problem with truffles in my opinion.

Dessert was a braised apple shortcake with whipped cream. I think the braising liquid included a little Calvados, but I'm not sure. Anyhow, as I started to eat this, I declared, "Well, there's no pork in this dish." One of my dining companions informed me that the biscuits could have been made with lard. I just couldn't tell, so never being a shy one, I informed everyone at the table that there was no lard in these biscuits. Of course, my friend walked over to the kitchen, informed Ashley Christensen that I stated there was no lard in the shortcake, and she gave me a look that said, "What the fuck is wrong with your sense of taste, boy????" I responded by yelling, "But did you render it yourself?" And she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Of course." A minute later we had another biscuit on the table, accompanied by a small bowl of lard. Oops. My friend started smearing the lard over the biscuit, wolfing it down – that was a bit of overkill. Yup, that's the kind of chef Ashley Christensen is, taking the time to make her own lard. Geesh.

In the end, it was a super meal with great friends. I will say, however, that the one downside to this meal was that I would have really liked to try some of the pork in a fairly unadulterated form. The chef certainly had a very light hand in her dishes, trying to let the flavor shine through, but I would have loved to pull some of the shoulder meat straight off of that pig. Boy, that would have been great.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Last night, a group of us had the pleasure of partaking in a special "Whole Hog Tasting" meal at Vin, featuring a hog from Cane Creek Farm.  This hog is a cross from the Ossabaw and the Gloucestershire Old Spot (discussion here), raised on protocols established by Niman Ranch.  In fact, Bill Niman himself was at last night's dinner, and he took the time to chat with us (and to rave about chef Ashley Christensen).

The first course was a frisee salad, topped with fresh garlic pork sausage and a poached egg.  This was a great starter, and I could easily have enjoyed a larger version of this for brunch.  Maybe some crispy lardoons, too!

The second course consisted of pork belly served two ways: first, the fresh bacon was braised and then crisped on the outside.  I'm not really sure how the second part was prepared, but it ended up being shredded pork belly served on a piece of crunchy baguette.  The entire dish was served with a chick pea soup – very light and refreshing to contrast with the unctiousness of the pork.

We then were served some great house-made tortellini filled with testa and pork shoulder.  Ashley had intended on making a testa terrine, but she just didn't have enough time for it to cure and set properly.  Nevertheless, the tortellini were fantastic.

The final pure pork dish was a basic risotto Milanese topped with pulled pork shin and shaved white truffle.  God, I love truffles!  This was a great dish, but frankly, the truffles almost made the pork unnecessary.  That's the one problem with truffles in my opinion.

Dessert was a braised apple shortcake with whipped cream.  I think the braising liquid included a little Calvados, but I'm not sure.  Anyhow, as I started to eat this, I declared, "Well, there's no pork in this dish."  One of my dining companions informed me that the biscuits could have been made with lard.  I just couldn't tell, so never being a shy one, I informed everyone at the table that there was no lard in these biscuits.  Of course, my friend walked over to the kitchen, informed Ashley Christensen that I stated there was no lard in the shortcake, and she gave me a look that said, "What the fuck is wrong with your sense of taste, boy????"  I responded by yelling, "But did you render it yourself?"  And she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Of course."  A minute later we had another biscuit on the table, accompanied by a small bowl of lard.  Oops.  My friend started smearing the lard over the biscuit, wolfing it down – that was a bit of overkill.  Yup, that's the kind of chef Ashley Christensen is, taking the time to make her own lard.  Geesh.

In the end, it was a super meal with great friends.  I will say, however, that the one downside to this meal was that I would have really liked to try some of the pork in a fairly unadulterated form.  The chef certainly had a very light hand in her dishes, trying to let the flavor shine through, but I would have loved to pull some of the shoulder meat straight off of that pig.  Boy, that would have been great.

Guessing by your description of the shredded pork on baguette that it was rillettes (sp?), essentially seasoned pork braised in pork fat, then shredded and stored in the same fat it was cooked? At any rate, it would make sense based on your description.

Sounds like an outstanding meal.

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This is off-topic, but follows up Varmint's thought about really tasting the meat and pulling it straight off the shoulder. I've recently taken to treating well raised pork shoulders and shoulder roasts as simply as possible. Rub the outside liberally with salt and roast it in the oven at 225 for "as long as it takes," turning every hour and a half. A good piece of pork, like the whey fed from Chapel Hill Cremery, or some that I've been lucky enough to buy up here in the North, comes out delicious. The outside fat crisps wonderfully and the meat it just amazingly succulent with only the flavor of pork and salt.

Greetings from Vermont.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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I read in this morning's News & Observer that Ashley has decided to re-focus her energies on Vin and will be introducing lower-priced bistro fare. I'm supposed to have lunch with her soon, so I'll report back with details.

I'm also probably going to tomorrow night's "Monet dinner," which is celebrating the huge Monet exhibit at the NC Museum of Art here in Raleigh. The menu is seafood-focused, so Mrs. Varmint gets to enjoy. The cost is $49 for 4 courses, including wine, so it appears that the lower cost options are already being introduced. Here's the menu:

1st Course: Mussel stew with watercress, shallots, white wine, and cream with 2005 Picpoul de Pinet - Felines Jourdan

2nd Course: Endive salad with duck confit, poached egg, crouton and mustard with 2002 Cote de Nuits-Villages - Jourdan

3rd Course: Brown butter halibut with roasted tomato, tarragon and crispy potato brandade with 2004 Pouilly-Fuisse - Trouillet

4th Course: Ginger-braised apple crisp with creme fraiche and cinnamon

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'm happy to hear that Ashley is going to focus on the bistro side of Vin. Let me interrupt myself and say that I've always been very happy with everything about Vin. Except the price. When I first started hearing about Vin a few years ago everything I heard was, "It's wonderful. You can get really great wine by the glass and even half glass and do a real tasting. Ashley is an amazing chef, the food is so good and so reasonably priced." All true. Even the part about being reasonably priced given what she is serving up. But, it's too expensive to make it the regular choice that I agree it should be, and I can't help but feel that people espousing that opinion are doing so remembering when the average appetizer choice was less that 12$ and the average entree choice was less that 20$.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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I had noticed that Vin's prices went up substantially after the Food & Wine article came out and had commented that the prices were getting too high for this market. I think the publicity gave Vin the opportunity to increase its food costs by bringing in even better ingredients, but the prices reflected that. I don't think Ashley will compromise on her ingredients, but she's been able to develop a better network of sources that allows her to keep down the food costs.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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  • 2 weeks later...
Last night, a group of us had the pleasure of partaking in a special "Whole Hog Tasting" meal at Vin, featuring a hog from Cane Creek Farm.  This hog is a cross from the Ossabaw and the Gloucestershire Old Spot (discussion here), raised on protocols established by Niman Ranch.  In fact, Bill Niman himself was at last night's dinner, and he took the time to chat with us (and to rave about chef Ashley Christensen).

Holy Cow, er, pig! How did I miss this? Sounds like a wonderful dinner. My wife and I still haven't made it to Vin yet, but this may be what pushes me out of my lethargy. Sounds wonderful.

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I had lunch with Ashley recently, and there will be a pretty dramatic change in Vin's menu in the next couple of weeks. Think of it as a lower-priced, easier-to-navigate fusion of Vin and Craft. I can't wait to see how it works out.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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  • 1 month later...

The new menu is finally out. Prices have dropped dramatically, but I don't know anything more as I haven't been there with the new menu yet.

Here's the current menu:

Organic lettuces with fresh herbs, verjus and Parmagiano Regianno 6_

Warm hazelnut crusted chèvre with Belgian endive and pomegrante-banyuls vinaigrette 9_

Carpaccio of beef tenderloin with arugula and olive vinaigrette 11_

Lentils with garlic sausage and beets 12_

Roasted chicken with Brussels sprouts and sherry 15_

Black tea-cured fresh bacon with white sweet potatoes and cider 14_

Steak frites with olive butter and red wine jus 17_

Prince Edward Island mussels with flageolet beans and Fallot Dijon 13_

Buttermilk fried chicken with cauliflower and gruyère 14_

Niman Ranch rack of pork with braised collards 17_

Parmesan-fried poached egg with wilted chicory and pickled black-eyed peas 10_

Filet of beef with duck fat roasted fingerling potatoes and balsamic roasted red onions 18_

Short rib stuffed meatball with braised red cabbage and juniper 16_

Fresh tagliatelle with Norcia black truffle 19_

Crispy confit of duck with roasted butternut squash 16_

Scallop and shrimp filled napa cabbage roll with coconut red curry broth 15_

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Coincidentally, with no advance knowledge of the change, we dined at Vin Saturday and had a chance to sample the new menu. Seems to me that the prices have decreased, as have the portions, but with no loss in quality, all of which is excellent news to me.

In addition to several wines by the glass (and, if I am not mistaken, there seemed to be an increase in lower price options there as well), we had:

Lentils with garlic sausage and beets

Warm hazelnut crusted chèvre with Belgian endive and pomegrante-banyuls vinaigrette

Crispy confit of duck with roasted butternut squash

Scallop and shrimp filled napa cabbage roll with coconut red curry broth

Everything was great, especially the lentils, and our meal price was significantly reduced. We were very pleased. Restaurant was packed.

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I stopped by on Wednesday to try out the new menu, not coincidentally. I had read here about the new menu and I'm in Raleigh about every other week and stay downtime so Vin is right around the corner for me.

I tried the hazelnut crusted chevre as well as the poached egg for appetizers. Both were wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the pickled black-eyed peas with the poached egg. I ended up trying both since I ordered the poached egg but ended up being served the chevre. I was completely out of it and had eaten a decent portion before the waitress came by to tell me about the mixup (evidently the poached egg is called the same thing on their system with the new menu as the chevre was under the old menu or something along those lines). I wasn't complaining too much :-)

I also had the pomme frites. Some people might find the fries a bit salty. Personally I really liked them, but I do recognize that others might find them a bit salty. The steak was well cooked and the au jus soaked into the fries on the bottom of the plate were a great combination.

For dessert I had the pecan tart with brown sugar ice cream. The pecan tart was at just the right temperature. Too hot and the filling starts to get too gooey and it causes the ice cream to melt too fast; too cold and well.. it isn't hot. This was at a great temperature, and the combination of the pecan tart with the brown sugar ice cream was great. The ice cream didn't overwhelm with brown sugar flavor but just gave a good pop to the pecan tart.

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