Merrily wielding a gift certificate from my mother, my wife and I headed to Angus Barn last night. I hate to be the perpetual killjoy, especially during the holiday season, but the meal was disappointing at $50 per person without drinks or wine. I ordered a 10 oz. filet mignon medium rare, as did my wife -- both steaks arrived looking and chewing like hockey pucks. I couldn't tell whether the meat would have been good had it been properly cooked. Maybe so. I ordered the thick cut fries -- I was served thin-cut fries that were indistinguishable from the fries at McDonalds. The apple cobbler was undercooked (the apples were unpleasantly crunchy) and merely sweet, a far cry from the Cobbler served at Elmo's and Tyler's (which I've lately discovered is pretty good). Worst of all was the cappuccino. At $3.50 per cup, one expects something other than sub-Starbucks-grade sludge. In all, we felt as if we'd eaten at a very expensive diner. As we walked through the jam-packed parking lot to our car, we agreed that the best part of the meal had been the pickled cherry peppers that were served as a complimentary appetizer. We intend to hunt down some of these peppers and try our hand at pickling them ourselves.
I wonder why Angus Barn is so popular. I've read that it's one of the fifty highest grossing restaurants in the U.S. I'd much rather eat at Outback.
Far better -- and yet no more expensive -- is Lexington Grill in Charlotte. This is what an expensive Southern grill/steakhouse should be.
On a happier note, the wife and I had a surprisingly decent meal at Eastern Light last week. Ordering from the Chinese menu ("chef's specials") it's possible to do well enough for oneself. We had shredded pork with leek (yo tsai), salt and pepper shrimp, fried chicken pieces in some kind of sweet and sour sauce (not the "sweet and sour chicken" of buffet infamy), and, of course, the truly superb potstickers. For those of us who live in Chapel Hill and Durham this is probably the best -- or least bad -- Chinese to be had.