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Piola in Chapel Hill Closed

Actually, I really liked their pizza. Having lived in Rome for several periods of months at a time, Piola's pizza was the closest to Roman style, as opposed to Neopolitan style, pizza I've found in the US. Having grown up in the NYC-Philly area, where Italian meant southern Italian/Sicilian family connections (the Milanese hardly immigrated in large numbers to the US!), most pizza I've known is a variant of the paradigmatic Naples pie -- even the "thin" NY style that "folds" is more Naples than Rome.

All of which is to say that I miss Piola, but Raleigh's Piola is too far to go for lunch.

Mar 27, 2014
walras in Southeast

TONALI in Durham, NC

It's a special restaurant. I take international visitors there to show off a family operation using local produce and impeccable cooking and warm service. As a "regular" I do my best to support them. Go.

Mar 19, 2014
walras in Southeast
1

Sunday night dinner in Chapel Hill

I don't think either the Lantern or Elaine's is open on Sunday, the day mountaincachers wants dinner.

Mar 03, 2014
walras in Southeast

Sunday night dinner in Chapel Hill

You'd have to drive to Kitchen.
I like Chola Nad -- it's just across Franklin Street.

Mar 02, 2014
walras in Southeast

Where should I spend my per diem in Fayetteville and/or Goldsboro?

For bbq, Wilber's in Goldsboro is best by far for those two towns -- see NC BBQ Trail.

http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail.html

Feb 20, 2014
walras in Southeast
1

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

I correct my earlier:
Sun-Thurs: 9AM-10PM
Fri-Sat: 9AM-11PM

They now have takeout menus available.

Oct 30, 2013
walras in Southeast

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

I asked and I think the woman said 9 to 9.

Oct 30, 2013
walras in Southeast

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

However, it looks like there is no walk up window for ordering. It seems like it's going to be wait staff service, which means higher prices. And there's no place I could see for a condiments bar. They seem to be installing a regular bar, though.

I'd like to be wrong, but this seems unpromising at this stage.

Oct 22, 2013
walras in Southeast

Wow me for lunch on Monday in Raleigh-Durham!

The best "wow" on for lunch Mondays is Oakleaf in Pittsboro. Blu Seafood in Durham is open for lunch on Mondays. Chola Nad in Chapel Hill is open too, as is Min Ga. All solid but no "wow's".

Oct 09, 2013
walras in Southeast

New chefs at One (Chapel Hill)

While I've eaten at a number of Michelin starred restaurants over the years, I confess I've never eaten at the French Laundry, or Alinea, or Per Se, or even (gasp!) El Bulli. But the two new chefs at One have worked at all those places. It shows.

Our meal yesterday was remarkable. The previous chef, whom I liked, seemed to get more and more "fussy" and over-complicated with his dishes, like his mentor at Four Square. The food had been good, sometimes even very good, but not on a consistent and thoughtful basis like Magnolia Grill, Nana's, or the like. What we had yesterday sets a standard that, for us, dominates Heron's, Nana's, Oakleaf, and certainly Fearrington House.

There were two amuse bouche -- the first a sort of of mocha cookie with a brie like cheese inside, the second a rolled chickpea (?) wafer around a radish of sorts.

The appetizer we shared was described as
"[squash falafel]
pinenut ∙ squash hummus ∙ crispy garlic" which involved small marble sized balls of really tasty falafel on a bed of a mild squash "hummus" with several other pipings of sauce, toasted pinenuts, all mounded with some greens.

The mains we had were seafood: mine was
"[diver scallops]
sour cream gnocchi ∙ brown butter ∙ broccoli ∙ currant ∙ caper" which was a half dozen of the best scallops I've ever had, perfectly crusted on one side, arranged in a curve as if taken off a skewer, with a decadent small gnocchi in between each scallop, with tiny broccoli florets that had been cooked in a broth I assume, all on a mild broccoli puree with a caper and current garnish. The fish, capers and currents recalled Sicily.

Partner had
"[east coast snapper]
hazelnuts cooked in garbanzo broth ∙ okra ∙ chorizo ∙ cooked egg aioli". The beautifully cooked -- roasted ( or sous vide?) fish was finished to give the top side a fine caramelized exterior to a moist interior. It was sitting on a bed of cooked hazelnuts (visually suggesting a Tuscan fish on a bed of beans) -- the chef came over and poured some chorizo infused broth, a sort of aioli, over it all.

Wine list is comprehensive, with a couple of sparkling wines, and a half-dozen each of white and red wines by the glass. We were too bedazzled to attempt dessert. With four glasses of wine, tax, and tip the bill was around $140.

I can't believe that Greg Cox hasn't written up this "new One". Someday we'll go into training to try the tasting menu.

http://www.one-restaurant.com/default...

Sep 29, 2013
walras in Southeast

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

other info, e.g when it is supposed to open?

Sep 28, 2013
walras in Southeast

Ribs in Eastern NC

I've been eating chopped cue at Allen and Sons since the early 70s. Every year or so I try their ribs again. Every such year I vow to never do it again.

Aug 03, 2013
walras in Southeast

Pita Grill - Timberlyne, CH

I'm only a casual falafel-ist, but I am partial to the Mediterra Grill's (on Erwin Road) casual Lebanese, and falafel. Do those more knowledgeable have an opinion, as in how does it compare with other places?

Aug 01, 2013
walras in Southeast

Turkish Pistaschio Nuts

They are smaller and more intensely flavored than California/Arizona pistachios. Southern Season carries them, as does my local Harris Teeter on occasion.

Jul 02, 2013
walras in Southeast

any chile verde to be found in Chapel Hill/Durham/Hillsborough area?

Fiesta Grill's chile verde platter is better than any I have had had in Arizona over the years, and I get it at least once a month. Enjoy!

Jun 19, 2013
walras in Southeast

Georgio Bakatsias is at it again in Chapel Hill

It's called Kipos
http://www.kiposgreektaverna.com

I realize that snickering at Parizade is a board staple, but this is a serious and good place, folks. Giorgio Bakastias seems to have decided that the area is stable enough for him to do the restaurant he always wanted to do, a Greek Taverna like those he grew up with. He brought his sister over from Athens to do the bakery, and another friend from Athens as chef.

The website is very loving, with family pictures everywhere.

The space is great -- Pyewacket is long gone. Open kitchen more accessible than Parizade, bakery at the entrance with lots of great stuff to take home for breakfast, etc.

Was there for dinner on Wednesday -- place packed, active bar. All Greek wines and many Greek beers. And the food was really special. Wife and I made a meal of four mezzes -- spicy sausages in sauce, koftes with dressing, calamari with tzatziki, and baked eggplant with onion and tomatoes and cheese.

Great service, including from Mr. Bakastias himself who was hosting and facilitating service. I've spent time in Greece, and this place is for real. It has a great feel, with UNC couples, Greek families (friends of the owner probably in these friends and family early opening period?), academics, BFF tables, etc.

It was a happy experience, good prices, really tasty (and a lot of locally sourced) food, and we'll become regulars it seems. What's not to like?

Mar 22, 2013
walras in Southeast

China Palace in Durham

The first, the Chef Special, is a section of the regular menu -- it's like every other American Chinese restaurant's Chef's Specials, which are not particularly special, just more expensive.

The other three are all sections of their "Special Chinese Menu". For my money, that's where the good stuff is.

Mar 01, 2013
walras in Southeast

China Palace in Durham

I go around once a week. The Special menu certainly has several bitter melon offerings. They have two paper menus, the regular and Special: several items on the Special are only available at lunch Saturday and Sunday. And yes, quality remains excellent. Personally, I'm fond of the spicy dried bean curd with shredded pork, and the noodles with Szechuan meat sauce, both from the Special menu available all the time.

Feb 28, 2013
walras in Southeast

Triangle Chili?

I've checked threads, and can't find any discussion about places in the Triangle that do a good bowl of chili. I don't mean chili mix ground beef, like the stuff that tops hot dogs or burgers, but actual chopped unground meat that is slow cooked with chilis, or veggies with good powder or such. Years ago there was a real chili parlor in Raleigh, but it didn't last long.

The (original) Q-Shack has a good chili, but using smoked brisket makes it too smoky for my taste. Ted's bison chili is ok, but ...

With winter coming (maybe), a good bowl of red might be nice to find. Durham or Chapel Hill preferred, but a serious chili is worth a drive to Raleigh or Cary. Suggestions?

Dec 08, 2012
walras in Southeast

knife sharpening [NC- Triangle]

I've used Kitchenworks twice, and have been pleased. Southern Season also sharpens knives (of course in the same University Mall as Kitchenworks.) Might I ask which of those did work that was unsatisfactory? Cliff, at Cliff's (butcher) Market in Carrboro, sharpens knives too.

Dec 08, 2012
walras in Southeast

Camos Brothers Pizza in Chapel Hill

Exactly right on Italy/NY issue. I've lived several places in Italy for periods of one month to five months, North, South, and Central. NY style pizza is not found in Italy. Philadelphia style is close to Neopolitan though. The only place around Chapel Hill that has an Italian style pie, albeit Roman not Neopolitan, is Piola. Their pies are like the Roman ones, thin crust, reasonably small, and not by the slice. Those you get in Rome by the slice are close to the square pies here with pieces in rectangles, like what are sometimes called "Sicilian" in Philadelphia, breadier than 8-10 inch full pies with thin crusts. Given this, when I'm nostalgic for Rome, I go to Piola. When I'm nostalgic for Philly, I get a Piola Neopolitan style (which isn't as tasty as their Roman pies), and when I'm nostalgic for a NY pie, I rotate among Randy's and the others discussed in this thread.
I've never understood what "authentic" pizza means as a result. Pizza is a food group, not a collectible.

Nov 10, 2012
walras in Southeast

New restaurant -- Oakleaf, in Pittsboro, NC

Maybe this thread should be combined with the "pulling all the stops" thread? Dinner for four, eight glasses of wine, a single malt, 3 apps, four mains, 1 dessert, for $222.
Menu is online each day, as fresh and local dominates. NC smoked trout app is delicate, and the blinis are lovely. The NC shrimp app was beautifully plated and delicate. The porcini risotto is more explosive than Nana's, and even creamier. Dayboat scallops were cooked precisely, caramelized on one side, and luscious all through. The NC snapper sat on a bed of unusual slaw, fennel included, with a chili aioli. The brined pork chop was large, moist and tender, and sauced in a cauliflower reduction. Wines by the glass plentiful at around $8 per full pour. Service more informal than Magnolia Grill, but Pittsboro friendly. I sure hope OakLeaf catches on -- if tonight was "normal",
pretty full, and reservations were helpful, and people dressed in all manner from older folks with jackets to younger with jeans and whatever, this place seems happy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they can keep it up, since it's the food that is the real draw for our group. The chef is serious and talented, in our non-professional tasters' experience, in that the dishes we had all "worked". And surprised. Go and comment -- am I wrong?

Sep 15, 2012
walras in Southeast

Triangle Noodle Shops (Ramen, etc)

Since you wrote "Durham, CH", Raleigh is a bit far off. For Korean soups, Min Ga in CH is superb. Durham's Pho 9N9 is exceptionally good for pho. Saigon Grill in Durham is good as well, but has a bit more cinnamon in the broth than does 9N9, and they sometimes use too many noodles per bowl. A bit south of CH town, in Southern Village, Merlion does a nice array of Singapore soups.

Sep 10, 2012
walras in Southeast

What's a good alternative to the Magnolia Grill?

Since I praised it here (based on past meals), I thought it responsible to go back for a mid-week dinner. It was really special. The apps, like sashimi, like oysters, were fascinating. The mains included a half grilled lobster which it seems half the diners were ordering. I had the grilled fish with grilled octopus and various. The surprise though was the "Tasting Menu" at $30 for three courses, two choices per course of app, main, and dessert. That's $30, and it is not necessary that the whole table order it! One choice for the main was a lamb shank with papparadelle!

Service was fine, with well-intentioned glitches (missing bread and butter) made right with good heart quickly. A moderate number of diners, about 1/3 of the tables filled at 7PM.
One don't thus withdraw my praise, though One is, as Tom from Raleigh said, "daring". It's not MG. It could not be. But I'll keep going back as long as the food is this good, and imaginative. $110 total for 2 apps, two mains, one dessert, and four glasses of wine seems in order. Easily.

Jul 18, 2012
walras in Southeast

What's a good alternative to the Magnolia Grill?

Just to add another to the mix. One Restaurant in Meadowmont has Sean McCarthy as exec chef, who worked with Ben Barker for a year and a half. We've eaten there a few times, including a very fine wine dinner. Personally, and of course this is a matter of taste, I've found Shane Ingram's Four Square often serving misconceived dishes, especially main courses. To me, the saucing is too forward and in conflict with the ingredients, as if proclaiming "look at all I am doing here!" MG's "not afraid of flavor" was the antithesis of this kind of effusion. I'm very pleased that at ONE, McCarthy has managed to do something very special. And the room is wonderful. The website is
http://www.one-restaurant.com

And Fearrington is too distant in conception to merit comparison to MG.

Jul 10, 2012
walras in Southeast

Knife sharpening service in Carrboro/Chapel Hill area

I've been very pleased with Kitchenworks, whom I've used twice.

Jun 28, 2012
walras in Southeast

Triangle Food Bloggers

Don't forget the BBQ Jew
http://bbqjew.com/
He's local and funny.

Jun 21, 2012
walras in Southeast

Elegant Saturday Lunch in Raleigh-Durham?

If Granny is adventurous,Tonali's Saturday brunch/lunch is casual and remarkably good.

Jun 17, 2012
walras in Southeast

Chapel Hill - Chip Smith of Bon Soiree - At Celebrity Dairy?

The other issue was that when they moved to Raleigh Road, they changed their entire menu concept. With their new kitchen they became a grill, and their menu became what is known in the business as "grill and garnish". Very quickly they shifted their plating too so that every grilled plate, from fish to lamb to chicken to beef, had the same three-sides-of-the-day. They had a very good pasta chef, who did all housemade pastas, but the menu stopped being a coherent "Northern Italian" with appetizers, primi (mostly pastas including half portions) and secundi. Instead it seemed to become an upmarket Applebee's plus a lively pickup bar. And so it goes ...

Jun 17, 2012
walras in Southeast

Taqueria la Vaquita in Durham - your favorite things?

Their tamales are excellent -- the plate with salad, beans, and rice is a bargain. When I am not ordering that at lunch, I often get the huaraches con pastor. Their enchiladas with salsa verde are also good, and the sit down restaurant does a nice pupusa, though not as good as El Custaleco.

Jun 05, 2012
walras in Southeast