Your "go-to" place (Raleigh)
Ever since Vin closed, I'm at a loss for a place to take visitors - where I can count on good food in a nice environment that feels a bit special.
Where's your "go-to" place? Is there somewhere that replaces what Vin was in its heyday?
(The reason this came up today is that I was just asked for a recommendation for a place to take out-of-town clients - and one that had a decent vegetarian choices.)
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It depends on the clients. If I wanted to give them a Southern flair, I'd take them to The Pit. If we had a lot of time and they could appreciate the stylings of Ashley Christensen, I'd take them to Poole's. If I just wanted to take them to a nice place without a lot of pretense, I'd likely go to Fraizer's. If they were interested in having a few beers and a good burger, I'd go with either Raleigh Times Bar or The Player's Club. J. Betski's is a great choice also!
Lately my reliable go-to has become 18 Seaboard. In fact, I'll probably be there for lunch today. If your client accepts fish there are usually at least 2 fish options on the dinner menu. Coquette may soon go into my regular rotation but I'm not entirely sure about it's veggie-suitability.
My go to places are:
Excellent Asian = The Lantern.
We eat here very regularly and can usually get out for under $80 including wine if we do our usual family style sharing of apps and mains.
Great food and atmosphere = Fins.
We ate there last week and it was one of the best meals that we have had in a long time.
We split one app, one salad, one main and one bottle of wine for around $70, and it was more than enough for us.
Beer and bar food = Tyler's Taproom.
Not as many beers as The Flying Saucer, but better chosen beers and MUCH better food.
Barbeque = The Pit.
People argue which BBQ is the best, and to me, there is a close tie as to which has the best food, but I would much rather eat it at the Pit because of the atmosphere.
I hated it. I was in there a few weeks after they opened and there were flies everywhere buzzing around the inside dining room, and my clothes reeked of BBQ smoke when we left. You can't have a place that has a business casual atmosphere and not ventilate the BBQ smoke so that people have to dry clean their clothes after eating there.
Have others encountered those negative aspects?
I've been to The Pit half a dozen times and I've never noticed an issue with smoke or flies in the dining room or noticed that my clothes smelled of smoke. I find flies particularly offputting. You say this was a few weeks after opening, so perhaps it was an issue that they've worked out.