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Sep 5, 2008 06:55 PM

Blu Seafood and Bar, Durham, NC- Chef's Table

This is my first post on Chowhound, but I felt it was necessary to alert foodies in the Triangle area to the Chef's Table at Blu Seafood and Bar in Durham. Six of us had the pleasure of sitting at the Chef's Table tonight. Chef/owner Tim Lyons put together a fabulous menu of innovative and delicious food and wine pairings. The four courses included a scallop wrapped in smoked salmon with a bacon, lima bean and corn relish, "stewed shrimp" and feta, mutton snapper with a crust of crushed wasabi "nut snacks" and panko crumbs, and mini bananas foster. Every dish was phenomenal, but I have to give special attention to the mutton snapper. To give some background, in the two years, my wife and I have dined at The French Laundry and Cyrus in Sonoma/Napa, Gary Danko in San Francisco, Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Or., Citronelle in D.C., Gramercy Tavern, Craft, and Balthazar in NY, Joel in Atlanta, and the chef's table at Second Empire; and the Mutton Snapper dish served by Chef Lyons stands up to any course served at any of the above restaurants.

If you have not visited Blu, do yourself a favor and go. If you have been before, get 6 people together and contact the General Manager, Eryk Pruitt, and reserve the Chef's Table. You will not have a better meal in the area.

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  1. That sounds awesome! I have enjoyed everything I've ever had at Blu. Their $5 appetizer, soup, and salad deal during the week makes it an inexpensive way to enjoy their excellent cuisine as well. I'll have to try the Chef's Table.

    1. I've long been surprised that more upper-end local places don't do this.

      If you don't mind, how much does it run for the table of 6?

      4 Replies
      1. re: brokegradstudent

        It's a unbelievable price. For six people, it was about $60 - $65 a person including wine pairings with all 4 courses. However, if you've ever been to Tim's monthly wine dinners ($45 for 4 courses and 4 wines), you know he can do great things at any price point, so I'm sure he can put together a great menu and wine pairings at anywhere from $50 - $75/person. That range for a chef's table of this quality is an absolute steal.

        1. re: kstover

          I don't know anything about these wine dinners but am intrigued. What/when are they? Is it always a set menu?

          1. re: LulusMom

            Every month (usually on the middle Wednesday at 7:00), Blu pairs up with a local wine distributor or wine shop and they do a 4 course meal with 4 different wines for $45. They are usually themed (some of the last few have been Vegas night, 80's night, a Spanish wine/food theme, etc), and sell out fairly quickly (usually a max of about 50 people). The menu is usually based on the theme and changes every month.

            The next dinner is Wed Sept 17th, Oysters and Bubbles (sparkling wine) with Chapel Hill Wine Company. My wife and I have only missed one month since they started the dinners in August 2007, and we have never been disappointed. They keep the "events" section of their website updated for events. The link is:

            1. re: kstover

              Thank you so much! This one sounds especially tempting.

      2. Sounds wonderful! Could you give a ball park figure how much it was per person with wine? Is it a menu based on the particular day's offering or is it a menu they run for the month? Is the Chef's table in the kitchen area or in the dining room?

        1 Reply
        1. re: winedine

          See the reply above about price. The menu is completely up to Tim's imagination and what's fresh and available. When we scheduled, Tim and Eryk asked us if we had specific foods or flavors we wanted or ones he should stay away from. He couldn't guarantee he could get everything because he won't freeze any of his fish. In this instance, we just let him go with no restrictions. The dishes were individual to our table, to my knowledge there is no set "chef's table" menu and it would be different for every party. Which makes it a truly unique experience.

          The Chef's Table is a big high table right in the center of the main dining area. You are certainly on-stage during dinner. Tim comes out to discuss each dish and wine pairing, so you certainly appear to be celebrities on that night. We were there on a Friday so he was busy, but still spent several minutes discussing each dish with us (ingredients, preperation, etc.) and why he chose that particular wine. Awesome experience.

        2. I've been impressed with the meals I've had at Blu. Great to hear they're doing this. Thanks for the report.

          1. I tried to have lunch at Blu about a month or so ago and found the place closed - at 11:30, which is a half hour after they claim to open for lunch on weekdays. Made me wonder how well they were doing.

            2 Replies
            1. re: romansperson

              We got to Blu just before noon for lunch and we were the first people there that day. Food was less than ordinary and makes me wonder if there is different staff in kitchen between lunch and dinner. Also service was quite indifferent. After all the wonderful things I read, I'd like to try again but am wary when there are so many other great places in the neighborhood.

              1. re: yahooer

                What did you order? The fried oyster caesar salad, gazpacho with lump crabmeat, and New England style shrimp roll are all excellent IMHO