We had dinner for the first time at Magnolia Grill night before last. For those of you not familiar with, it is probably one of the best known, if not THE best known restaurant in NC. The Ben and Karen Barker are the owners. They are both CIA grads and it is an award winning kitchen. I have wanted to have dinner there for years, but
something always came up. We don't go out to eat much as we are usually disappointed and eat better at home. Boy, am I sorry we haven't been there before.
The atmosphere is a casual elegance, sophisticated southern! The tables are not too
close and the chairs are comfortable. The art, which apparently rotates quarterly, was folk, local and food oriented. We liked it. It's kind of hard to believe that you're on a neighbor street in Durham. The service was very good.
The food, which I would call uptown Southern with an Italian twist, was superb! For appetizers, we had spring lettuces (local) with an apple cider and sourwood honey vinaigrette with spicy pecans. We also had a Vidalea onion chowder with shrimp, country ham and a black pepper chantilly cream. Yum! Smooth with a kick to it. Trust me, I'll try to make this and let you know what I work out. For a main course we had a potato-crusted Alaskan halibut on a leek and potato fondant with a fava bean, spring carrot, asparagus bouillon and a cornmeal crusted Carolina grouper in a "Jambalaya Risotto" with shrimp and Andouille sausage. Everything, including the service was very well done. If ou know about this restaurant, you know has
multiple awards. Check out: http://topchefs.chef2chef.net/recipes-2/barker/ to see some of the list as well as to pick up a few recipes. Unfortunately, we didn't
get dessert (believe it or not, we are trying to lose weight and we were celebrating, but that meant we had wine and not dessert) but they
looked great with an unusual selection.
If you are even in the area, we highly recommend it. It is a hidden treasure, as I've read it described and a true find. Make reservations before you come and let us know what you think. I know loads of people who have eaten here and have never heard a complaint. I didn't get any pictures so you have to go see yourself.
Until next time, enjoy local food!