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Captain J's Restaurant in Raleigh

We ended up going last week to Captain J's as we were still craving a fix since we didn't get to go for Thanksgiving.

Brace yourselves...Things are not how they should be at good ol' Captain J's. :(

We were seated and began to look through the large color photographed menu picking out our alltime favorites but when the waiter came to take our order he said that we shouldn't have used that menu (even though there was one placed on each table) and that there was a new chef (more on that later) and they were only using the small, typed menu so we would need to replan our choices.

We went for XLB, panfried buns, crab with scallions and ginger, and a few other dishes that were less than memorable. We were told that the new chef was really into plating so everything looks very fancy (um ok but I don't care about sliced cucumbers on the sides looking pretty, I want the food to be good).

The XLB came out and were in a metal steamer with what looked like plastic shelf liner underneath not the usual paper/doily. They looked very thin but I've never had a problem in the years I've been eating XLB to get them out of the steamer. This time that was not the case. Each one we tried to gently manuever out of the steamer brutally ripped leaving the soup and some of the other filling on the container. We were not happy so we called the waiter over and he said, oh ok, I'll get you another order of them since there must have been a problem. While we wait for the XLB to come back out we receive the crab dish. We have eaten the spicy crab many many times and have fallen in love with that dish so when we asked if the crab with scallions and ginger was prepared in the same manner with just different seasoning we were told yes, it's the same. That did not turn out to be accurate as the original crab dish had been much more enjoyable since the shell was edible (it was still hardshelled crabs but the shells had been fried in such a way that they were soft and you could eat them whole) while the crabs we received on this visit were hard and all the meat had to be picked out of the shells - messy, slimy, and about 1/2 the portion we used to get of the spicy crabs previously - but hey, the plate was "decorated" so I guess we shouldn't care that it wasn't very good. Oh and half the crab pieces we got were raw to the point of not being edible. The new chef thinks that deep frying a tortilla into bowl is a fancy way of plating also. It was very weird looking and culturally inappropriate(we had at least two dishes that came in these stupid fried tostadas).

The waiter brings out the second order of the XLB and the SAME exact thing happens to them. Not one made it out of the steamer intact. NOT ONE. The waiter comes over and apologizes and says that he'll give us a discount for the XLB and that this was the new chef's first day on the job. Oh god no wonder. We ask what happened to the other chef and confirm that this is actually chef #3 but he cannot tell us where the original chef went. We also notice that none of the lady waitresses are there. Not sure if there is a connection there but it was understaffed to make matters worse.

Overall all the food was mediocre, not worth the money spent, and nothing I would crave going back for. Nothing stood out as anything actually good and the panfried buns we got were nothing like the ones we had ordered on previous occasions either, they were greasy little fried balls filled with pork and dripping of oil.

It's hard to know if Captain J's will ever return to the glory that it was during the reign of the first chef but we are in no hurry to go back and be disappointed guinea pigs again. I'm very sad to write this report as Captain J's was my favorite restaurant in Raleigh and I hope that others take one for the team and report in in a few weeks or months to let us know if there's any reason to return.

Does anyone else do XLB in the Triangle area? If so, please advise. This is a devastating loss to us.

Dec 08, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast
1

Stuck at Claim Jumper for Thanksgiving - Please Advise

I had the same thought, like of all the places to choose after a fitting that would not be the one! It's a great way to ensure that the fitting you just had was a waste of time, lol.

Nov 29, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Chains

Captain J's Restaurant in Raleigh

FYI, Captain J's was not open on Thanksgiving this year even though I had called to confirm that they would be open.

We ended up at Royal India for a Thanksgiving buffet (with Indian turkey even!) which was delicious and relaxing as well. We weren't alone there either. The only sadness was that I was really looking forward to Captain J's and having leftovers but this just means we will be making another trip there soon to get over the sadness.

Nov 29, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Grass-fed prime rib in Raleigh or nearby?

I just got an email from Ray Family Farms (near Wake Forest, NC in Bunn) about their grassfed roasts -

http://www.rayfamilyfarms.com/shop/

Available Cuts:
Tenderloin – $26.99 per pound, 2 – 3 pound roast
Prime Rib – $18.99 per pound, 5 – 7 pound roast
Bone-In NY Strip – $17.99 per pound, 8 – 10 pound roast
Sirloin – $12.99 per pound, 8 – 10 pound roast

These roasts are perfect for carving:
Sirloin Tip Roast Beef – $12.50 per pound, 6 – 8 pound roast
Top Round Roast Beef – $12.50 per pound, 9 – 10 pound roast
Eye of Round Roast Beef – $10.50 per pound, 4 – 5 pound roast

All cuts are pasture-raised and grass-fed Gourmet Galloway Beef.

Cuts are limited. Roasts will be ready for pick-up in mid-December.

Grass-fed prime rib in Raleigh or nearby?

Last year Trader Joe's actually had a frozen grass-fed 3 or 4 rib roast in the freezer section. I would be surprised if they didn't carry it again this year but you should probably call them to find out if this fits your needs.

Nov 21, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Captain J's Restaurant in Raleigh

Has anyone been recently? I read a post on Yelp which indicated that the chef left. Is there any truth to this and if so, does anyone know how the quality is lately?

We decided that we would head over there for Thanksgiving this year rather than do a traditional turkey type of meal and I just want to be sure we're making the right decision as we've always loved Captain J's in the past.

Nov 18, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - November 2014 (Part II) [OLD]

You're apparently my chocolate tasting twin. I agree with your post 100% on all fronts!

Nov 17, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Chains
1

Thanksgiving recommendations in the Raleigh area?

I'm not sure if anyone realizes or cares that this post was initially made in 2013 (it's helpful to others regardless of the date I imagine).

This year we're going much more casual by heading to Dean's Seafood in Cary for their Thanksgiving buffet. It looks to be a good time and we have been impressed with their Sunday brunch offerings so we decided to try out their Thanksgiving.

I do like the idea of One Restaurant in Chapel Hill for the future and will definitely keep that in mind for next year.

The Washington Duke Inn experience last year was good but the upper hand by far goes to Herons for their Thanksgiving buffet.

I will also agree with the poster who said that feeding children junk food is abominable and at $25/child I would insist my hypothetical child would eat from the main buffet personally. The thought that children aren't interested or able to eat normal adult food is a topic for another thread however I find it insulting for restaurants to dumb things down for kids.

Nov 06, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

Sorry to be the lone voice of dissent here but I tried the Turkey Cranberry Apple Sausages after reading this thread and was miserably disappointed. HUGE NAY for me as they tasted like week old hotdogs that had sat around while someone cooked Thanksgiving dinner near them. Way too much sage (and I love sage) not enough apple or cranberry and the texture was just like hotdogs. Blech. Not at all what I was expecting. You win some you lose some.

Oct 15, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Chains

Eastern NC cheese biscuits

Please tell me that's not a typo and that's the name of the actual restaurant! I'm at work so I can't dare to Google it for fear of getting fired, lol. If that's legit, that's the best restaurant name I've heard. I hope it's good otherwise it's a waste of a great name on a lousy place. :)

Oct 15, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014 [old]

Nay - (new to me) Butternut Squash Risotto - mushy and a lousy excuse for risotto. I will not be buying this again.

Yay - Chimichurri Rice with Vegetable - (this is also new to me) and I think it's pretty decent. I'd probably buy this again in a pinch.

Oct 05, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Chains

Looking for Massaman Curry Paste (specifics) in RDU area

The oil is GMO soybean oil which is completely not acceptable on a true paleo diet. Google how soybean oil is made and you'll understand why it's about as far from natural and healthy as possible.

I second the making the paste yourself if you're concerned about ingredients or consider it part of the 80/20 or 90/10 rule and just suck it up considering there's not that much of it in there.

Raleigh Restaurant Week 8/14

We went to The Pit last year for DTR RW and couldn't believe the deal we got - HUGE portions of regular menu items. It was a steal and it was fantastic. They must have realized that they were giving away the house because this year's menu is so bizarre it left us shaking our heads in disbelief, much like what I imagine the OP felt when they decided to post this thread. Why would a restaurant utilize this event for items that they would never ever have on their regular menu? It seems like this should be an teaser introduction to a place to make you want to go back for the full experience, not to try out a totally new concept.

That being said, we carefully scrutinized all of the menus on the site being offered this go 'round and decided that we would be better off going elsewhere and/or hitting up those spots when it wasn't the prix fixe option. Last year was fun - we went to Oro, Bolt, and The Pit that week and while we've gone back to The Pit since, the others didn't make enough of an impression to warrant return visits. They should want to wow you during this time so you make a point to return when it's not such a great deal, at least that's what I would want if I was running a restaurant.

Aug 15, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Irregardless cafe Raleigh

I think it's unfortunate that those who had good recent experiences didn't feel like it was worth it to comment initially for whatever reason. One-sided threads are not useful or beneficial for any of us who depend on these boards to determine where our food dollars should be spent. No one should feel that their opinion is not worthy.

I'm glad the OP (and now others) had good meals there. I would certainly be more apt to try Irregardless again after hearing positive (recent!) reviews.

General Recommendations in Wake Forest, NC

Tropical Pickin Chicken is hit or miss so I'm hesitant to heartily recommend them anymore but I still think they're worth a try. I'll still go there I'm in the mood for Puerto Rican/Cuban food but be advised that it may not be everything you've ever dreamed of.

I'm also lukewarm on Main Street Grille's new Italian/Pizzeria that's on 98 heading toward Wakefield. I would tell you to try it but not to get your hopes up too high. I think the best part about Main Street Grille (the original one on Main St) are the pastries. The sandwiches are pretty good but the service is super slow and they've messed up my (simple) orders a few times.

I've never been to Over The Falls Deli before so I can't tell you anything about them.

For strip mall Chinese, Panda Garden next to Harris Teeter is actually very good and fast.

You might want to check out the barbecue place called Fire Pit Barbecue near the Lowes on Gateway Commons which I recall being pretty good (not just NC style bbq) but slightly pricey. There used to be a restaurant owned by George Bakatsias called Girasole next to them which I believe is being transitioned into a new concept (same ownership) called Farm Table which should be worth trying. I'm not sure on the time frame on that change as I just read about it recently. Girasole was solid but not mindblowing American sit-down cuisine.

Please report back on whereever you do end up. There are not nearly enough WF posts on this board!

Aug 08, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Irregardless cafe Raleigh

I haven't been yet (there are too many places to try and not enough time or waistline room!) but I've heard that Fiction Kitchen is a wonderful option for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Definitely something to consider.

Aug 01, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Fearrington village

I haven't been in a few years but have wanted to go again since they seem to have had a resurgence with a new chef in recent times. The prices now are extremely prohibitive to make it anything other than a special occasion outing for us however ($120+ prix fixe if I recall correctly?). The photos of the food they post on social media sites make it look incredible so I am very curious as to recent reviews. If you go, please post your thoughts!

Aug 01, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Irregardless cafe Raleigh

+1 (Although we haven't been there in years, it was always merely passable and that was back in the days when Raleigh had no non-chain options, nowadays I can't see any reason to go there with so many excellent places to choose from.)

Aug 01, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Cheese Curds in the Triangle

I've seen them at the Wake Forest Farmer's Market for something like $8/lb. and I've also seen them (not that recently however but then again I don't really hang around the cheese section much) at Trader Joe's. Both worth a try.

Jul 25, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Primal is open in Durham, NC

Thanks for taking one for the team and trying it out! I think we may wait a little while for the buzz to die down before we go out to Durham to try it based on your review.

You are correct btw that grass-fed steak cooks quicker - this is due to the lower fat nature of the meat. I prefer my steak rare and would have been miserable if I received a medium well steak (medium rare is okay though). It sounds like they may need a little while to work the kinks out (and for the children situation to mellow, if that's even possible.)

Jul 14, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Angus Barn in Raleigh What to have and what to avoid

I haven't been there for many many moons (I was taken there for high school prom...as a vegetarian no less (!), so my opinion on their food cannot be stated) however I do know that one of my favorite pastured meat producers (Ray Family Farms out of Bunn, NC) recently started supplying pork to the Angus Barn. Even though they're a primary beef restaurant, I might consider ordering pork because of this if I went.

Jun 18, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Help w/ Trimming Research Triangle Itinerary

I can't remember who served us last time however I want to say it was a woman so I'm not sure that your theory holds a lot of water. We've eaten there 3 or 4 times in the past 5 years and in the earlier days of our visits the food was out of this world however in the past year the food was mediocre to good, just not outstanding. The last time we were there it was about as good as any other Chinese restaurant around, which is to say, decent but not memorable. We have knocked it off our list to return to because with other better options around, why go for average?

Jun 01, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Help w/ Trimming Research Triangle Itinerary

Good list however I would recommend Captain J's (weird name but fabulous authentic Chinese) over Super Wok after our last experience at Super Wok which was extremely underwhelming. Banana Leaf in Cary is also a solid Chinese choice to consider however.

May 31, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Help w/ Trimming Research Triangle Itinerary

You're correct about Rise being hit or miss from our one experience there. We shared a few donuts and some were not so memorable (blueberry wonut in particular) but others went above and beyond (the banana pudding donut was incredible). I have not yet tried Monuts as I don't get out to Durham that often from Raleigh but I'd certainly be interested in a comparison!

May 30, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Help w/ Trimming Research Triangle Itinerary

I hate to be the lone voice of dissent in here but I have to throw out there that we went and had a very underwhelming brunch at Harvest 18 two weeks ago. Not to say that it was bad but it was nothing special to go out of your way for. What was special however were the donuts we shared after from Rise (in the same shopping center). I can't stop thinking about those delightful pastries!

May 30, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Raleigh: Anyone been to chicken and waffles off 440, Mr Wonderful's

The Yelp reviews are pretty darn frightening for this place. I know that people have varying opinions on Yelp but the fact of the matter is that you don't get mostly horrifying reviews when you're doing things right.

I hope for their sake that they read them and try to fix their service and other issues. I won't be spending my hard earned money there until I notice a turn around in the reviews, on any site.

May 01, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

New to Raleigh & Need Food Options

It most certainly still exists! http://midtownfarmers.com/

Apr 29, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

New to Raleigh & Need Food Options

My post is probably going to be mostly a reiteration from other's suggestions -

-La Farm Bakery in Cary has great bread but is a serious drive. I would certainly try Yellow Dog Bakery before driving all the way to Cary or Durham for good bread.

-I tend to order my grassfed beef online however I can recommend Ray Family Farms in Bunn (about 20-25 minute drive from Wake Forest) for excellent pastured pork and grassfed/finished beef. They're also incredibly lovely people who deserve to be supported. That said, their prices are a bit high for my budget. You can check them out online at rayfamilyfarms.com

- I happen to like the Wake Forest Farmer's Market. It may not be the largest but there's more pastured meats there than at some larger markets. I think it just depends on your preferences honestly. For pastured meats and poultry (non-beef) I prefer Walk Ahead Farms.

Carrboro is a hike, I've been to their market before and enjoyed it but didn't feel that it was so much more incredible than what I could find closer. I would certainly check it out if I were you just for fun but I wouldn't rule out some of the other nearby markets like North Hills, North Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

Oh and Roses Meats and Sweets is wonderful, I also recommend them. They're not that far from North Raleigh even though you need to take a trip around 540. Definitely worth checking out.

Apr 28, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast

Where to Buy Turkish Ingredients in CH/Durham?

Harissa comes in a plethora of different consistencies and tastes. You can buy the tube of paste that is very spicy and similar in consistency to tomato paste from Cost Plus World Market. It comes in a yellow box with red writing I believe.

The jarred sauce is more like a condiment while this is definitely an ingredient to be used within recipes.

Apr 10, 2014
Erika RollerGirl in Southeast
1

Captain J's International Buffet in Raleigh, NC

That sounds slightly worrisome. I'm a big believer in "stick with what you know/do best". Their menu is already huge, no need to try to do Southern as well as the rest imho.