So I stopped in for dinner last night-- and I didn't even need a menu to lure me in! Just kidding, of course. I actually talked with the owners and mentioned that there was some demand for a posted menu. Their reply made sense, I thought. Since they're open all day, and the menus are printed on paper that they're giving away to everyone that comes in the door, they figured that that would suffice for the time being. Not sure I totally agree, but the place was very busy during UNC spring break on a Wednesday night, so...
Anyway, very pretty room-- lots of warm browns and oranges in the granite bar, nice lighting, pretty exposed brick walls, lots of giant vintage wine ads-- very tastefully designed. The bar stools were comfortable, and gave a view back into the kitchen.
The menu is simply and efficiently laid out, with a good mix of medittereanean rim cuisines (french, italian, spanish, turkish) represented. I enjoyed a well-put together, refreshing nicoise salad, with very tasty anchovies and nice fresh tuna, excellent caper berries (altogether underutilized, imho), etc. My only criticism is that the dressing masked the flavor of the anchovies a little bit. otherwise, very nice. I also had a juicy lamb and beef sausage (seemed very similar to a merguez style, although not listed as such) with french lentils. Beauty in simplicity. Great cook on the sausage--cooked through, but very juicy. The french lentils, one of my favorite foods, were also perfectly cooked, and provided a nice earthy foil to the sausage. Nice to see such attention paid to detail in such a simple dish. Rounded things out with a side of frites, which were nice and crispy, but a touch undersalted. For dessert, I had a delicious valrhona chocolate crostini with sea salt and olive oil--totally righteous.
The wine list has a great variety of choices to please geeks and neophytes alike; surely to be expected given Jim and Mickey's backgrounds in the wine biz. Well chosen and well priced, with all bottles available in the retail area of the shop. My one criticism here is no dessert wine! :( I'd have loved some banyuls with my dessert, but satisfied myself with some woodford's reserve bourbon (another sign of good taste in bar design, imho--only a couple of places around here carry it).
Bravo to these guys-- I'll be back often. They're filling a niche that was sorely lacking in Carrboro. I only wish I had done it first! *grin*
What were the prices like? We're going for a birthday party this weekend and were deciding whether to come early for dinner.
nothing more expensive than $14. but they're small plates, remember. The plates I had were good sized for the money, but i've talked to people who thought differently (and had different dishes).
I agree with HeelsSoxHound's assessment.
I loved the decor and the atmosphere was nice and energetic - it was full on a Thursday evening and there was a nice buzz of conversation, etc. I wouldn't go *too* hungry, though, unless you're prepared to spend a good bit of money (though the food is excellent and artfully plated). The cheese plate is fantastic; the 3 cheeses were great choices and we liked the two chutneys that accompanied them. We also enjoyed the glazed salmon and the Spanish-style spicy shrimp. All in all, very nice, and a great place for appetizers or a light dinner.
heh, Hound you are a braver man than me;-)
Actually it just shows how clueless people can be as I didn't see the free menus. I liked the look of the place & gave a great review. Very helpful, I really enjoy a buzzy wine bar. pity though, as I really enjoy dessert wines, hmm vin de constance would be so good.
Anyway about portion size, we've got to find some objective way of conveying info. Any ideas chowhounders?
I'm definitely going & will give the size appraisal