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Restaurant Eden in Durham, NC

Restaurant Eden in Durham, NC has opened up. Would love to hear feedback. Took a look at their website. I noticed that they already claim themselves as a dining destination and being hailed by the critics. This for some reason sat a little wrong with me and seemed a bit pretentious. Also and this is just coming from someone that works in IT.. the lunch menu lists salads twice.

I glanced quickly over the menu and it does look good on the website. However, outside of the Beef offerings for dinner what makes the dinner menu stand out from the lunch menu?

Despite what sounds like a negative post. I do wish the restaurant well and look forward to hearing about experiences and thoughts on having this restaurant in that particular location. I never got around to going to Starlu and so I can't make heads or tails of the use of space.

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  1. I don't get how a place that just opened (or at least recently opened) can be "hailed by the critics" (how many darned critics are there in the Triangle, anyway?) and "a dining destination." I'm willing to give the place a shot, but that kind of thing rubs me the wrong way too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Apparently they are also a "Durham landmark." Their website provokes a heart-felt cry of "Get over yourself." I'll wait to hear some diner feedback before I darken their door.

      1. re: LulusMom

        They're pretty poorly placed with the search engines. Halfway down the second page on Google and I had to play around at least 3 times with the search terms before I could find them. I can honestly say, though, that I can't stand non-music websites who put random music on all their pages. No one else at work wants to hear music from my computer and neither do I.
        The afrorementioned "critics" and "accolades" consist of a single self-generated press release. Not quite the critical review the page claims to be. The menu doesn't look half bad but some of the pricing confuses me. Most of the prices seem fairly reasonable, but I don't understand why some meatless salads should cost more than some of the chicken entrees and the same as one of the fish entrees.
        I agree with LulusMom and Remsleep. There may be something worth enjoying here but I'd prefer to wait on some genuine reviews.

        1. re: LulusMom

          "located in downtown Durham"??
          No, I don't think so. The restaurant and the food may be fine but the website is clearly not quite ready to open for business

        2. I'm glad I wasn't the only one to be slightly irked by the self proclamations. I understand wanting to garner attention, but there are right ways and wrong ways of doing it.

          As far as the music, I don't have my headphones here, but I understand how in most restaurant website circumstances.. less is definitely more. How about some more photos of the space or dishes? How about a chef's bio? Things that would improve upon the possibility of having people go to an area of town they may not usually go unless going to the movies, Target, or one of the other strip mall eateries.

          1 Reply
          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            It is very, very silly to have a link to critical reviews and then find that the only thing there is their press release. The menu looks nice, and I'll happily give them a try though.

          2. Looks like I'll be the first to actually have eaten at Eden....had lunch there today. Ordered the seared tuna salad --- it was pretty good, not the best I've had....In hindsight, seemed pricey ($12) for a handful of mixed greens, two cherry tomatoes cut in half, maybe eight thin moons of cucumber and about 3 oz of tuna....the soy vinaigrette was heavy on the soy (a real ZING) and dressing seemed to be at bottom of the plate rather than tossed with the greens....I must admit it WASN'T overdressed, which so many salads are these days....

            My friend had the salmon burrito with potato salad side (NOTE: no bread or anything with the salad above) -- she enjoyed it, esp. the potato salad.

            I don't think I'll order the tuna salad again -- it wasn't bad, but now, been there/done that. Will give it another shot. There was a good crowd for lunch on Thursday. I'll be interested to read what others have/say about the restaurant.

            1. My wife and I have eaten at Eden twice in the past two weeks. Overall, the food was tasty, the kitchen efficient, the service was pleasant but not well trained, and there were lots of empty tables in prime time. This location has had two other eating establishments that failed. This is a challenged location (in the back of the building--no road frontage at all).

              The mussels in chili garlic sauce was excellent (though Pop's still has our favorite mussels). Calamari was fried perfectly with a very tasty batter. Baby spinach salad was acceptable though a bit probably the most overpriced dish of our two dinners.

              My Chicken Fontina with carmelized shallots, grilled tomato and spinach was presented very nicely over a pleasant noodle. It was delicious and modestly priced. My wife ordered this on our second trip and was equally delighted. My second trip's entree was the scallops on a wild mushroom risotto and it was a hearty portion, incredibly tasty and quite rich. Fine dining comfort food.

              We shared an extra entree of baked macaroni and cheese between four of us on our initial trip and wound up fighting over the last elbows. Pan seared trout was enjoyable.

              Coffee was very good though if you like really strong java, go for the espresso. The pecan pie was worth reordering and the peach shortcake was incredibly refreshing. The cupcake trio was pretty dry. All three desserts came with a very nice vanilla ice cream.

              Drinks were generously poured.

              Eden is a fine value with delicious choices and (unfortunately) an easy place to get a table. I hope that changes because I'd love it to be one of our regular dinner spots.

              1. Any new updates on this establishment? Good News, Bad News, or No news?

                5 Replies
                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  Was there today for lunch, and was going to post anyway. The food is very good, the price is very low, and the service is excellent. The only problem was that there was hardly anyone there. It was almost eerie, so many empty tables, with front staff outnumbering diners. It's hard to quibble about value for money though. The gumbo (on their regular menu for lunch) was exemplary, nicely seasoned, lots of chicken, very tasty. The salmon burrito was also fine, so much so that one had to wonder about their losing money on the food itself, let alone the room and staff. I'm planning to go back often now that I've found it, but with such good value, the location must be a problem. But it's closer to Duke's West Campus than Brightleaf is. Very curious indeed.

                  1. re: walras

                    I think location is definitely a problem, although I haven't tried the place yet. But having gone to Starlu (which was in the same location) I know how tough it is to find the first time, and how out of the way it seems (even though it really isn't).

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Maybe when/if they ever finish the University Marketplace across the street, it'll send more business their way.

                      1. re: walras

                        I have eaten at Eden twice now; dinner and lunch. At dinner, the very inexperienced waiter said the chef was off that night. I didn't think that would be a problem since I'm sure the second in command would be well trained to handle an off night. I don't know whose fault it was but the scallop risotto was so salty it made my teeth hurt. Another in my party had the shrimp and grits and ate one of the shrimp and almost none of the grits. But, we gave it another chance about 6 weeks later for lunch. The corn and crab chowder was good and that's about it. The only flavor in the rice and bean dish came from the sausage. The portabella mushroom appetizer had promise, but way too much balsamic vinegar. Another in this group had the shrimp and grits and this time was way, way underseasoned. My last complaint is about the staff. Neither of the ones I had when I visited had tasted much on the menu and so could offer almost no opinions on the selections. We asked the first waiter for a couple of glasses of port. After a long wait for him to find it, he asked if we wanted the whole bottle. We chuckled and said no, just a couple of glasses. He came back with a different, opened bottle and gave us one good glass and another that emptied the bottle; sediment and all. I may try again in 6 months or so. If they're still there.

                    2. We've been twice. Love the room, love the food. Service is definitely weak link. Here are some of the dishes we've tried: Crab and corn bisque, very well spiced, comforting on a cold night. Macaroni and cheese better and drier than mine; I am always happy to learn something new from a good chef. Half salads for $3.50, if I remember correctly, are a great deal and we always include them. Main courses have included Scallops and risotto - both seasoned and cooked perfectly. Duck was large breast cooked a little too rare and served a little too cool, but was tasty and the spinach that came with it was superb. Meatballs and spaghetti tasted like New York and was perfection on a plate. Service has always been lackluster and I fault the restaurant for it's lack of training. I, for one, do not want to hear how our server knows nothing about food or cooking or how dishes on the menu are prepared.

                      Given it's weird location, Restaurant has to try harder. They're close and I hope they make it. Right now there are lots of tables and no waiting.