Moved up here to NC from NYC, where we lived for the past 10 years. After eating very well in the city, we were pleasantly surprised with some of the spots we've found here. Need to give a hat tip to "jfood" and other hounds who have given us some pointers. Wanted to give something back to the board by sharing some of our experiences within the last month (chronological order, dinner for 2 after tip):
Ching's Table-Having lived near Shun Lee on the UWS for years, we are absolutely ruined for Chinese food. We started out our NC eating tour at a Chinese place to gauge just how big the culinary adjustment might be. We quickly figured out that Ching's was more pan-asian than anything else. We started out with the calamari salad, which was excellent and reminiscent of the fried calamari salad served at the Continental during our Philly years. We moved on to the pad thai and wok duck, neither of which were terribly interesting. With a beer I believe the bill came to $90. Probably won't be back for a bit. If anyone can suggest a pure Chinese place, please let us know!
Sole-We walked into Chef Luis but they were booked, so we went next door to Sole and I'm glad we did. I can recommend the wood-oven roasted chicken entree as one of the better chickens you'll eat, served over mashed potatoes with gravy and greens. Perfection. Also the deserts we had on two separate trips, panna cotta and tiramisu, were excellent. It's rare to get a tiramisu made with such generous mascarpone. If anyone finds out the calorie count...do not tell me! Around $100 with a couple of glasses of wine, and well worth it. One of our favorites so far.
Chef Luis-After getting bounced the last time, we booked ahead. Truth be told, we did not really have a great meal there. The scallops entree was the best thing we ate, with the rest being lackluster, and at a price of over $100 with no booze, we're gonna pass for a while. In defense of the place, they were again doing a big business, and people were coming in for takeout. I'll also say that it is BYOB, but we didn't know it. Maybe we were grouchy with no wine, or maybe some of the other reviewers were a little tipsy...
Bonne Nuit-A classic bistro with well-executed plates. The best thing we had was actually the escargot appetizer, topped with a garlic rouille. The other dishes, both fish, were solid though we did not spring for the dover sole. Molten chocolate desert was also good. With a couple drinks the bill came to around $130, making it the most expensive place we visited. You feel like you're getting nice quality though, and hopefully we can work on our ordering here. Suggestions appreciated.
Harvest Supper-Probably our favorite all around spot so far. Every dish we had there was excellent: roasted beet salad with whipped blue cheese, poached egg over asparagus and mushrooms (divine), bucatini bolognese (the best dish per dollar in NC at $21?), and the duck breast. At $120 all in, easily the best bang for the buck so far, and probably the most skilled execution to boot.
Any advice always appreciated. And if anyone seems to care about this thread, I'll post about the lunch places next.