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Restaurants & Bars 3

Four Square (in Durham, NC) report

Sant | Feb 9, 200512:26 PM

I turned 36 yesterday and my wife surprised me with reservations at Four Square. For drinks, she had a glass of reisling and I had a draft of Brooklyn lager since I had heard good things about their brewmaster (one of the few African American brewmasters around).

For apps, I had their version of "fish and chips," which were two grilled sardines with aoili, beet and sweet potato chips, and salad greens. The sardines were quite tasty. I think the sweet potato chips were out of place but the beet chips were delicious-- intensely sweet and tangy. For $8.50 I think they should have provided 3 sardines. My wife had a salad with bacon wrapped figs ($8). She said it was very good.

My entee was three jumbo, kataifi-wrapped shrimp, in a thai-style curry sauce with three vegetable dumplings and bok choy ($23.50). The kataifi gave the shrimp a nice crunch and the curry was nice and spicy, but what was really sublime were the vegetable dumplings. They were delicate, creamy, and sweet. It was better than any dumpling I've had at a Chinese restaurant, including those in San Fran's, Boston's, or DC's Chinatowns. I would have been happy with just a plate of those dumplings. My wife had the duck breast (I forgot the sides) ($27.50), which she let me taste. I thought the breasts could have been cooked a little more to render out more of the fat but the smokey flavor the breasts had (cooked in bacon fat?) was fantastic. The proportions were quite generous.

I was too full to have dessert but I had a couple of bites of my wife's chocolate brioche bread pudding with toffee and caramel ice cream and creme anglaise (if I remember right). It was as good as it sounds.

The ambiance at Four Sqaure was as nice as ever, but I wasn't too happy with our table. It was next to a glass paned door looking out onto the hallway to the kitchen and bathrooms. So the whole time I say people walking by in my peripheral vision. They need to put a curtain on that door.

With tip, the meal was ~$120. Their prices have climbed right up there with Magnolia Grill, but it was worth it IMO.

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