Couple Questions about Chapel Hill/Durham
Has anyone tried Twisted Noodle in Durham? I saw it in one of the magazines (gourmet, i think?) and have been wondering about it.
Also, I'm starting to think about Valentine's Day. Last year we had a great dinner at Vin Rouge. It was surprisingly delicious. Any other suggestions for either CH or Durham? What are people's thoughts on Provence?
I have had some delicious dinners at Provence. It's traditional French, in a lovely atmosphere, with (in my experience) very good service. The food is not innovative but I was always satisfied, and it's just such a nice, quiet, intimate atmosphere.
Valentine's Day can be dicey. I went to ACME one Valentine's Day (with my father, who happened to be visiting that night) and was very disappointed - the usual menu was jettisoned in favor of a much abbreviated and much more expensive "special" menu.
If you search this board, I think you may find a discussion of Valentine's at Triangle restaurants. I seem to remember someone saying that Provence does not overbook and do assembly-line V-Day food (i.e. would be a good choice), but I may be wrong.
As others have noted, why not have Valentine's Day either on Feb 13 or Feb 15 instead? The crowds on Feb 14 often make for an unpleasant dining experience. Further, most restaurants scrap their regular menus for smaller price fixe menus that limit your options and prevent you from truly experiencing a restaurant's food, service, and atmosphere.
I gotta tell you we tried Twisted Noodle this past weekend with high expectations. The food was terrific - we loved everything we ate and wanted to try even more. But the service was average at best and to top it off, they refused (in a very dismissive way) to honor a coupon we brought. It was their coupon, not more than a few months old, with no expiration date. It definitely left a "bad taste" in our mouths. Had they handled it better, we would've been life-long customers.
Other ideas for Valentine's Day - The Weathervane, Four Square, Six Plates, The Lantern.
How fancy do you want V-Day to be?
We don't make plans for V-Day - so if we decide to go out it has to be a place that doesn't require advance reservations and won't make us wait an hour and half to be seated. I don't want anyplace that's prix-fixe, with designated seatings because those are often a rip-off.
We ended up at Ted's Montana Grill across from Southpoint Mall in Durham last year. Yep, it's a chain, but they didn't have any overpriced deal going on for dinner that night, it's a nice place, we got seated right away and we like the food there, so it was perfect for us. I had the cedar plank salmon.
V Day, like New Year's Eve, is best celebrated at home, IMO, or if you go out, keep your expectations low. Every restaurant is slammed and with that amount of business, I don't think it's fair to expect much excellence when they're turning so many tables. It's a Hallmark holiday anyway.