Category Archives: Restuarant Week – 2015

Rye Bother!

Rye-not


rye-bar-and-southern-kitchen-north-carolina-logoRestaurant Week in the Triangle is the opportunity for local restaurants to showcase their food and what they have to offer perspective customers and their faithful followers.   WRONG! The three- friends made the mistake of selecting the Rye Bar and Southern Kitchen at the Marriott in Raleigh.

We Ubered to Rye’s for our reservation. We were immediately seated and our waitress Katie was outstanding. She was polite, attentive and knowledgeable about the food on the menu. She told us they were trying new selections for the summer menu. The lightening over the table was wonderful.

We decided, after studying the menu, to order the Sweet and Spicy Calamari and the NC Nachos to start. We typically share and sample the various dishes to make sure we are not biased on our review.

Sweet and Spicy Calamari described as fried and tossed with house pickles and sweet chili aioli. It was definitely not what we expected. We were not sure the calamari was fried, because it was hard to identify in the serving vessel. After one bite it was placed to the side. We informed the waitress we did not like the dish.

The Carolina Nachos were edible, but nothing special.

Belle selected the BBQ Corn Waffle, described as smoked pork with honey-braised kale. It was difficult to eat due to being served on a single corn waffle, and because of the cloying sweetness. The ingredients did not marry well. The dish was also not eaten.

For her entry, Belle chose the Heritage Farms Pork Skirt Steak with smoked pimento cheese grits, mustard glazed collards and jalapeno marmalade. The kitchen was accommodating by substituting chard carrots with honey and goat cheese for the collards. However there was no goat cheese to be seen and the carrots had no flavor. The pork was sweet and developed a bitter after taste. This entrée was not eaten as well.

IMG_2456For dessert, Belle chose the chocolate jar, consisting of various layers of sweet chocolate, whipped cream and dark chocolate. It tasted good and was the only dish that was completely eaten.

Badboy chose the Zucchini Fritter with Red Pepper jam. The fritter was raw in the center. It was inedible, and was left like so many samplings of the evening – to be taken away untouched.

Badboy selected Honey BBQ chicken with dirty rice and green beans. He liked the flavor of the chicken and the green beans but felt the Dirty Rice was lacking in seasoning. He ate the chicken, leaving the rice.

IMG_2455For dessert he chose the Lemon Ice Box pie. It was definitely the best dish of the evening. The lemon flavor was perfect!

I selected the Fried Okra with Mustard Aioli. The fried okra lacked seasoning but since I was hungry, I ate, leaving the over powered Aioli behind.

I chose the Heritage Farms Pork Skirt Steak with smoked pimento cheese grits, mustard glazed collards and jalapeno marmalade. The pork was sweet, but developed a bitter after taste – same as Belle’s. The collards were bitter as well. The pimento cheese grits were bland and tasteless. I did not eat the entrée.

The waitress told the Supervisor, Caitlyn Walker, we had not been pleased with our meals. She was polite, listened to what we had to say. The waitress had checked with her to see if the Chef/General Manager would speak to us. Ms Walker told us that Chef Michael Rigot had gone home for the evening. Imagine our surprise when the Chef came to the nearby table to meet an employee’s family. After some prompting, we determined that he refused to talk to us.

The waitress brought our bill and we paid. I asked to speak with the supervisor again. Instead the Restaurant Manager, John Herbert, came to our table. He referred to us as foodies, implying we were trying to get a free meal. He asked if he compted our meal, would this buy him a good review. I quickly informed him no, that we would write up the dining experience as it happened. He then told us that dining was a hit-or-miss experience and tonight for us it was a miss and to have a good evening.

I have stayed at Marriott hotels, eaten in Marriott restaurants and stayed in Marriott resorts and have never experienced such rude and condescending behavior or the poor quality of food and customer service. We three friends will not be returning to Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen. I have contacted the Marriott Corporation notifying them of our horrible dining experience and have agreed to send a copy of the blog.

While cooperate Marriott cares, Rye management has no concept of good customer service or satisfaction.

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Restaurant Week – The Piedmont, Durham, NC

piedmont

  • Executive Chef: Ben Adams
  • Location: 401-B2 Foster St. Durham, NC 27701
  • Phone: 919-683-1213

Emblem_Triangle2015v4Piedmont Restaurant in Durham was the last designation for The Friends during their Triangle Restaurant Week adventure. Piedmont is known for using local, organic and sustainable NC products. According to their Facebook page Piedmont states, “Our food is inspired by seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers and purveyors.”

Ben Adams is the chef at Piedmont. By chance earlier in the week, Traveler had attended one of the Trial-by-Fire events in the Triangle NC Competition Dining Events where Chef Adams was one of the competing chefs. In his bio for this event, Chef Adams says, “My cooking style is modern American, refined comfort, seasonally driven and local.” The dishes Chef Adams creates are innovative and exemplify the farm to table concept done right.

logo-smallWe took a few minutes to look over the menu and make our selections. Piedmont’s Restaurant Week menu was varied and large enough to allow us each to select something different and share tastings around the table. During the NC Competition Dining event Traveler met Jennifer Noble Kelly, the publicist for Piedmont Restaurant, and shared that Piedmont was one of our choices for Restaurant Week. Jennifer told Traveler to let her know when we would be dining at Piedmont. Traveler made sure Jennifer knew we were on our way. To our surprise we were treated to additional appetizers Pan-seared scallops and house-made fettuccini with NC blue crab, trout roe with a smokey crème fraiche off the regular menu. The scallops were seared to perfection and locked in the tender juices. The fettuccini had the most delicate sauce that tasted fantastic.

The Traveler choices for the night were fried NC oysters for a starter and Smoked spiced-rubbed Green Buttons Farm’s pork chop accompanied by Shotgun Betty-braised cabbage and pine roasted fingerlings. The pork chop was juicy and flavorful and the cabbage cooked to perfection.

I decided on Lil’ Farm’s organic greens followed by spice-crusted NC flounder with pine-roasted fingerlings and braised fennel with a smokey fumet. The flounder was cooked just right – light and flaky.

Bad Boy selected marinated Heeks Farm beets with house-made ricotta and blackened NC Catfish with Carolina Gold hoppin’ john and braised collards. Bad Boy said the catfish was blackened to his liking and the sides added great flavor to the plate.

All of us felt the spices were used to arouse the palate but left plenty of room for the natural flavors of the food to come through. Also the chef’s mixings of flavors and textures added interest to each plate.

As Traveler and I were discussing the desserts, Bad Boy made the decision for us. Since there were three desserts and three of us, we would just order one of each:

  • Horchata semifreddo, avocado-coconut sorbet with sweet potato-tamarind sauce
  • Sticky Date Cake, salted caramel ice cream, dulce de leche
  • Coconut cashew cake, salted caramel-chocolate sauce with chocolate cashew ice cream

Each of the deserts was delicious but the Horchata semifreddo was our favorite.

The Piedmont is located in a refurbished 1930s Nash dealership. The environment is hip and urban complimented by a simple décor, high ceilings and soft lights. The ambiance is cozy, intimate and comfy. This can be attributed to General Manager, Crawford Leavoy’s belief in “guest-focused attention.” He wanders throughout greeting and engaging diners. When Crawford stopped by our table, he and Traveler discovered they had something in common – Traveler had worked in the town Crawford was born in Louisiana.

We had amazing service making our meal extremely enjoyable. Alexis, our server, was knowledgeable, friendly and attentive but not hovering. She could easily explain ingredients, techniques used in preparing the dishes as well as the flavorings and paring of the foods.

The Friends rated their meal and evening at Piedmont their best overall experience of Triangle Restaurant week. The fresh meal prepared with attention to detail and severed in a great restaurant environment didn’t disappoint. The three of us left with smiles on our s_belle_smfaces and looking forward to a return visit.

 

Restaurant Week 2015 – Little Hen, Apex NC

littlehen


 

  • Executive Chef: Regan Stachler.
  • Location: 5160 Sunset Lake Rd Apex, NC 27539
  • Phone: 919-363-0000
  • Visited: 1/29/15 – 6:30 PM

Emblem_Triangle2015v4My selection for Restaurant Week was the Little Hen. I had read many great reviews on Twitter so thought this would be a great time to sample what it had offer. I had some difficulty finding Little Hen because my GPS and Phone were giving me squirrely directions.

I arrived first, asked about the table and told it was not ready, as Belle and Bad Boy came through the door. The waitress appeared and took us to the table. The restaurant has a hopping bar and the dining area offers an intimate dining experience. I loved the comfortable chairs.

little hen_coolveticaThe restaurant was not crowded, yet service was very slow. Our Waitress told us about the menu and the specials for the evening: left and did not return for quite some time.

We all ordered different things; I had the Charred beets with a brown sugar cider gastrique, which were excellent. All of the ingredients married well together. They were my favorite dish of the evening. Belle ordered the grilled Romaine lettuce with bleu cheese and honey mustard dressing. Bad Boy had the potato soup with a unique flavor from the sweet & sour vanilla-apple puree.

The second course did not go as well. I ordered the NY Strip steak, (an upgrade from the Hanger steak) medium well, with crispy fingerlings, pickled local mushrooms and shallots. When it arrived to the table I received a rare steak. I called the waitress to our table since she seemed to have an aversion for us and I let her know. Later she brought over pork belly with fried Sauer Kraut and sweet and sour slaw as an apology from the Chef.

Belle ordered Grilled Shrimp and grits, with bacon-scallion portabella vinaigrette and hoop cheddar, however Chicken and dumplings were brought to the table. The mistake was corrected and Belle finally received her correct order. The hit of the evening entrees was Chicken and Dumplings consisting of potato gnocchi, braised chicken and chives. The gnocchi were cooked to perfection and chicken well-seasoned. The dish was however, skimpy on chicken.

It was finally time for dessert. Belle and I chose the Vanilla Bean Pannacotta with red wine gelee, an orange reduction and walnut brittle. It appeared from the texture of the Pannacotta that it had not been made that day. The Bad Boy ordered the Cheese Cake with peppercorns. He did not feel the flavors of the cheesecake and the peppercorns complemented each other.

The food, while eating from a limited menu was good, but service was an issue.

We love to promote local businesses. I do have a suggestion for the Little Hen. Work with your wait staff. Our waitress seemed to be preoccupied and we were not a priority. Friendly conversation, checking on the patrons to make sure their dining experience is living up to their expectations and providing good and accurate service will make the diner want to return. It was annoying when the table next to us received complementary dishes and wonderful service and we were ignored as first time diners as well as the others patrons in the restaurant. Restaurant Week is intended to ‘showcase’ popular restaurants in the Triangle. You may only have this one chance to make a good impression, make it work.

mary_smUntil Next Time – The Traveler.