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$1000 to spend on food - in Raleigh

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I am lucky enough to be great friends with someone who recently won $1000 gift certificate and she wants to share it with me!!!! Well, and her husband, and our other best friend with her husband too. So, that makes 5 of us.

The catch is that it has to spent in restaurants, in Raleigh - on food only. It doesn't cover alcohol purchases....otherwise this surely would not be a topic!!

My usual Raleigh haunts are generally cheap dives (I mean that in the nicest way), so I'm a bit at a loss for upscale Raleigh dining. If we were able to expand to Durham or Chapel Hill, I have my upscale faves.

I am considered to be the resident "foodie" in the group so they are looking to me for picking the spot.

So, for 5 people, and $1000 in food in Raleigh - where would you go?

Oh, and you can 86 Second Empire immediately. After a tremendously rude and unfortunate experience there on Christmas Eve in 2002, I will NEVER go back.

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  1. While Raleigh has a number of good restaurants, we really don't have a good blow-out/someone else's expense account type of place do we?

    Maybe Bloomsbury Bistro?

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    Bloomsbury Bistro
    509 W Whitaker Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608

    4 Replies
    1. re: dinersaurus

      Is it Raleigh only or does it include Wake County? If it is Wake county too, wait until Herons reopens. Better yet the five of you could gorge yourselves at a tacqueria with a great bacchanalian feast get the $950 in change and go to three other restaurants.

      Last but not least how about omakase @ Waraji?

      1. re: quazi

        wow - the omakase at Waraji is an AWESOME idea.....i bet we could burn thru the $$ pretty quick on that one.

        Speaking of sushi....how about the tuna collar that they were serving in some strip-mall sushi joint on AB this past Monday?!? The joint is in Columbus, which I am supposed to be in on Thursday of next week. If the stars align....Holy xxxxxx - i am so in!

        I'll have to check on whether or not it is all of Wake...I think the original "spirit" was to bring eaters into downtown.

        1. re: chicaraleigh

          Wow! I am so jealous. There are quite a few places I'd go - this doesn't have to be done in one meal, right?

          18 Seaboard would be my first stop for a top knotch meal - great food and fabulous service.

          The Pit - upscale BBQ!

          Duck and Dumpling - their dinner menu is pricey, but that doesn't matter to you, right?

          Fleming's - it's a chain, but it's darn good.

          Chef's Table at Angus Barn - I don't like the Barn itself, but I've heard rave reviews about the Chef's Table. Thing is, you'll have to wait until September because they don't do it in the summer b/c the kitchen it too hot.

          Ruth's Chris - again a chain, but that butter on the steak!!!!!

          Casa Carbone - again, not fancy, but in my opinion, the best Italian in Raleigh and family owned and operated for years

          Poole's Diner - I've not been, but I'm dying to go

          Enjoy and let me know if you need anyone to help you all work through that gift card!

          -----
          18 Seaboard
          18 Seaboard, Raleigh, NC 27604

          Angus Barn Restaurant
          9401 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

          1. re: chicaraleigh

            If it were me, I'd call ahead and talk with the chefs/owners of a few places to get some ideas on what they would/could do with this type of budget, given your groups likes/dislikes and/or food aversions.

            No one has mentioned The Mint, but its one of the places I'd surely look at if price were no object. If you're going to do omakase, I'd hit Haru over Waraji.

            By the way, Haru does have yellow fin and salmon collar, but not tuna collar. It's quite possible they could get it in if you asked for it for your party.

      2. Bloomsbury, Pool's, J. Betski, 2nd Empire, Waraji, Haru (also sushi but not fancy), loads of drinks (do they count drinks as food)? Can you spend it on a food tour? What about a brewery tour? Vivace, Sullivan's, Mura, Coquette, Brazilian Steakhouse in Brier Creek (it's considered Raleigh), Brio, Mo's Diner, Michael Dean's, Savoy, and as much goodberry's or cupcakes as your stomach will allow....

        1. Do you have to drop the full $1000 in one meal or can you spread it out across meals?

          1. Gosh, I'm not sure if it's possible to spend $1000 on Raleigh for five people without some serious wine. Even the French Laundry is only a $200+ per person meal so...

            If you can spread it out it's certainly possible. I'd consider Angus Barn, Waraji (as others have mentioned), Hayes Barton Cafe, maybe Bloomsbury Bistro? Have heard good things about St. Jacques too...

            I admit that $$$ amount is outside of my domain. But I'd lean towards Japanese, French food and steakhouses. They're the only places that I know where you can run a consistently high tab...

            -----
            Angus Barn Restaurant
            9401 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

            Bloomsbury Bistro
            509 W Whitaker Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608

            1. Hows about a few hundred tons of oysters?

              2 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                LOL! That would be one swanky oyster roast wouldn't it!!

                1. re: chicaraleigh

                  Yeah or just people who love their oysters. I personally would go with a load of desserts first *L* Like if there was something like Mike's Pastry or a Payard or something here. I could easily (prices aside) blow a small fortune.

              2. I second the idea of contacting the chef to discuss what could be done for you for this kind of money and for 5 people. Make it a chef's choice multicourse tasting menu.

                For me there's only one chef in Raleigh worthy of being given this opportunity, and that's Ashley Christianson at Pooles.

                I think Bloomsbury Bistro is good but dull and uninteresting.

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                Bloomsbury Bistro
                509 W Whitaker Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608

                9 Replies
                1. re: jnwall

                  While I haven't had Ashley's stuff at Poole's, I was less impressed with her stuff at Vin. Maybe she was in the middle of working on Poole's at the same time. I wonder if former Coquette chef Rob Bland (now at Cafe Helios) would do anything like the private party.

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    Why in the world would a first-class cook like Rob Bland leave a place like Coquette, which was supposedly built around his skills in the kitchen with French bistro cooking, and wind up at a hole-in-the-wall like Helios? Which is about coffee, not food.

                    1. re: jnwall

                      It's no longer all about coffee, now that he is there.

                    2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                      burgeoningfoodie-

                      Ashley's food at Poole's is quite a bit different than the food at Vin and better, I think. Before she left Poole's, she was also consulting on Raleigh Times Bar's menu.. At Poole's, there's a greater emphasis on local ingredients. She made the long list for a regional James Beard Award. Poole's is one of the restaurants in Raleigh that's worth a drive from Durham or CH.

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                      Raleigh Times Bar
                      14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

                      1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                        Oh I do have it on my shortlist to try. What has been your experience in beating the crowds since they don't take reservations?

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          [Although this wasn't directed at me] Go early, or go late, or go on a weeknight. If there is a crowd, just have a seat at the bar, a couple of half-moon seating areas by the front. They're first come first serve. In fact, I have never waited for a table there regardless of the time, as I always just sit at the bar. I prefer it, as it fits the vibe of the place, which is more casual, conversational, unfussy.

                          1. re: dinersaurus

                            Danke shoen

                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              We're early eaters. We arrive at Poole's at 5:30 and have a drink. They start seating folks at 6:00, so that's our strategy.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                Gern geschehen