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Feb 7, 2010 08:24 AM

Possibilities for Valentine's Meal (Triangle, NC)

So I'm trying to decide where to go for Valentine's dinner (doing this on maybe the day before or after the actual date). I've been to Bonne Soiree, Four Square, Magnolia Grill, Vin Rouge, Rue Cler, Il Palio (for brunch when Jim Anile was running the ship), Herons (when it first opened before it's lull and before Chef Crawford), Elaines, and Tallulahs.

I'm curious about Fearrington, Crossroads and WaDuke both compared to one another and maybe some other suggestions aside from those posted above.

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      1. re: cervisiam

        i'm on their email list, and they will be open on valentine's day (sunday). they are doing 3 course meal (5:30 - 8 pm), glass of brachetto, rose and chocolates for $60/person, excludes tax and tip.

        1. re: cervisiam

          So right now I'm book for this, but am wondering if maybe a dinner at some other place wouldn't be better off. I've heard other good things about Pancuito, but I see that the renamed Bu.Ku is open and using their regular menu for that Sunday (though there are other places as well that are opened between Sat and Mon of course).

      2. Panciuto is excellent, and is on my permanent rotation of restaurants.

        Fearrington House really shouldn't be missed by someone who has gone to all those other places, if only for completeness. Often panned on this site (I never have figured that one out), it nonetheless retains the qualities of a traditional multiple star restaurant. Combining FH with an overnight stay at their B&B is also an excellent way to have a nice quick romantic getaway.

        Jujube is less formal and less fancy than some of these other places, but is a good alternative, and I always get treated very well there.

        1. I think doing your dinner either the night before or the night after is a great idea. Less busy, calmer. And do you think maybe if you really want it to be special you should go to a place you *know* you and the gf love? Trying something new is always fun and exciting, but it does give the chance that things won't be what you're hoping for.

          All that said, I'd say No to WaDuke. Basically like a country club, with food to match. Not bad, certainly, but not at all exciting. I've only been to Crossroads at brunch (which is silly since it is a 5 minute walk from my house!) but I'd like to try it too. Don't read much about it on these boards. The one time I went to Fearrington it was not at all good (sorry fussy!). I have heard excellent things about Panciuto. Maybe Piedmont? Have you been there? Or Provence in Carrboro? Glasshalful? They've just changed chefs, but my last meal there was still very good, and the atmosphere is comfortable but upscale. Good luck, and hope you and the gf have a wonderful valentines day.

          9 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            LulusMom - I saw one thing on Fearrington saying it was overpriced and not worth it. I have been to Piedmont, but I've heard it can be very hit or miss. I've been to Glasshalful for NYE and thought it was not great at all. I've not heard many good things about Provence. Yes I considered the surrounding days for dinner due to crowds, prices and restricted menus. Plus this leaves for a little creativity on the actual day.

            Regarding the other posts... I've never really considered Hillsborough and I know they have quite a few places that are good. I've looked at Panciuto in the past just to see what they have. I guess Hillsborough really isn't any further away than Duke (as far as driving time from Chapel Hill/Carrboro. I'm not sure about the 3 course meal.. is it an actual meal or is a tasting menu? The gf doesn't do wine so thats not really an issue unless it drasticaly affects the price. I wonder if they get their chocolates from Matthew's. In any case, depending it's location it could be nice to stroll around historic area and window shop. I'll keep it in mind though time is running down. I believe that most places are open Valentine's Day.

            Maybe we should give rechristened Bu.Ku a shot....

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              Definitely true about Piedmont being hit or miss. I've had great meals there, and then ones where one course was great and the next just so-so. But mostly mine have been good. Sorry to hear about Provence. It is true - we haven't been in about a year, but the last time we went it was wonderful. They do a whole roasted fish (they get it from Tom Robinson, so they only have what is available and sell out early) that is just like what I've had in the south of France. You might want to give GHF another chance - after all NYE is a horrible night for anyone working a restaurant, they're all overworked, and often with non-regular diners (who have higher expectations). That said, you might want to let the new chef settle in and get his barings before going back. I"m not a huge fan of set menus either, but again, I do hear very good things about Panciuto. Don't know the Raleigh scene at all, so can't help with the Buku thing.

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                Buku's vibe is more hip than romantic; although, their emphasis on sharable plates could be fun with a date. So, your dinner will include electronic world beats in the background and a raucus bar crowd rather than a quiet candlelight dinner. Keep in mind that they just opened, so I wouldn't expect perfection just yet.

                I enjoyed my lone trip to Fearington and it has a nice romantic atmosphere. But, I tend to equate romantic atmosphere with white tableclothes and nostalgic decor (I can't help it). If you agree, then you might also consider Second Empire if you're looking in Raleigh.

                1. re: dinersaurus

                  I've thought about Second Empire before for other highlights and for when we do go to Raleigh for shows. Not sure if I've heard anything about it recently. have also thought about Bloomsbury Bistro on such occasions as well.

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    I've enjoyed both, but I would give the nod to Second Empire over Bloosbury. I enjoyed it a bit more, and it just seems more Valentinish.

                    1. re: dinersaurus

                      Lets see where else have I been.. Mo's and Saint Jacques and Four Square as well..

              2. re: LulusMom

                Going out the night before or the night after is just plain brilliant. I wouldn't expect a good meal on Valentine's Day. Many places have set menus and function more like a catering operation than a restaurant. Going out the night before or the night after is a great idea. You may be surprised and have a good meal, but to me it's no more worth the effort than going out for drinks on St. Pat's Day.

                Fearington was quite good when we went years ago. If you're up for a long drive, Chef and the Farmer in Kinston looks like a great place. Bonne Soiree would also fit the bill.

                1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                  many restaurants, because valentine's is on a sunday, may also offer valentine's menus for the entire weekend. but yes, i agree - valentine's day is like mother's day or new year's eve. those days make me want to hide. :)

                  FYI, bonne soiree is completely booked for the weekend. (i only know because i was helping another friend of mine - poor guy!)

                  1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                    I know Kinston well, but there is no way in the world my gf will find any sense in driving that far to dine.

                    Glad to know about Bonne Soiree and glad to know that despite it's location (a bit hidden and lack of menu) that word of mouth and press have kept it going.

                    Yeah I'll definitely call to ask if both menus are available if we got Saturday or Monday.

                2. In Raleigh, Tasca Brava has good Spanish cuisine.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: JayL

                    This could be the ticket. They do have good Spanish food, which you won't find anywhere else around here. You can do several tapas and share things. Their olive oil flan is amazing - and I thought that I didn't even like flan. It's dark and cozy.

                    You might also enjoy chatting up Juan, the owner/maitre'd/waiter. Get him talking about Spanish food, wines, etc. Seems like an interesting guy. I believe his wife is the chef, so it's very much a mom n' pop operation.

                    Also, you'll be on Glenwood South, so you could always wander down the street for an after dinner drink or cup of coffee somewhere.

                    1. re: dinersaurus

                      Will keep it in mind... Though this brings up a different thought for me.. and that is that I'm totally overdue in my response to my time in DC and going to Jaleo again (my gf wasn't too high on the tapas there). I'll have to get on that. I had looked at Tasca Brava a long time ago before they moved.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        If she didn't like the tapas at Jaleo then dump her.

                        Valentines Day problem solved. :)

                        1. re: dinersaurus

                          She's picky.. Though she did like my favorite tapa there the Bacon Wrapped Fried Dates. She didn't dislike them but we ate at another Andres' place that she liked much better.

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            What does she like to eat? I'll try to match up some Raleigh ideas...
                            I remember you have mentioned that she is not as adventurous food-wise as you! Hopefully we can find someplace special that you both will enjoy.

                            1. re: meatn3

                              She tend to stick to fish or a salad. I think it is due to her being very weight conscious, but that is wrong of me to assume. She states that spicy food upsets her stomach. So yeah I think seafood and salads are fine. She likes mussels, fish and has claimed that she has eaten Korean and Vietnamese but I've never seen it though she states she likes Thai better. She does Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. I mean the standard things.. she is not a big red meat eater. What do you (or anyone else) know about Savoy? I don't hear it get talked about a lot. I know where it is and I know about the two guys who run it. Just don't see many talks about it.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                I am not familiar with Savoy, so can't help you there!

                                I have two which have nice seafood options, atmosphere and service and options you will enjoy too. In Raleigh, Coquette at North Hills has been very good without breaking the bank. I always (except for brunch) have felt that the entire experience could have had a much higher price tag due to the quality, flavor and great staff. In Cary there is An. Kindof SE Asian fusion very well done. Lovely atmosphere, knowledgeable staff. Every detail of the dining experience has been thought through - even the restrooms are beautiful! Enough options that are fairly familiar for her, enough interesting flavor twists for you. Their desserts have been great too!



                        2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          Even Lulu, last year at 2, loved the tapas at Jaleo! But I'm not letting you date her ...