Any recent Second Empire reports (Raleigh)
I had an anniversary dinner there last night. I had a filet mignon special that was incredible. I could have cut the filet with a butter knife and the flavor of the dry aging was incredible. The sides they paired it with were very good as well. The only complaint about this dish at all was the price. ($44)
My wife had a duck dish that was very good. (although we both agreed mine was better.)
The service was impeccable, and there was a great atmosphere for an anniversary dinner. I had mentioned when I made our reservation it was for an anniversary dinner and every person wished us a Happy Anniversary and they gave my wife a dated menu that was signed by the chef. (nice touch.)
It was expensive. Our tab for 2 entrees, 2 desserts (My wife had a chocolate souffle and I had their key lime pie), a glass of petite syrah, and my wife's iced tea was $130 after tax and tip.
I eat there somewhat often in the Tavern (lower level with bar food) and it is always terrific. Last time I had a proper meal in the dining was about a year ago (or maybe a little less) and it was absolutely exquisite - preparation, flavor, cooking attention, impeccable service.... It is a special occasion, splurge worthy venue. I definitely recommend when a party is ready to lay day some dough.
Had an anniversary dinner there the other month. It was pretty warm in the building. The food was good but I wouldn't label it as something different from another upscale place. I may have written about it somewhere else and will try to find that review to repost here. For us, it was a place we hadn't been for a nice dinner and to cross off our list.
We just went last night for a pre-symphony meal on our anniversary. I have had nights at Second Empire that didn't satisfy me for the price paid. This was not one of those nights. Everything clicked really nicely. Service was exemplary. The menu had plenty of choice and they had quite a few specials available, delivered by a professional but enthusiastic server. Many assistants take care of refilling drinks and bread, so you aren't at the mercy of a single overworked waiter.
Wines by the glass were sufficient to cover the majority of needs. I had an excellent pinot noir at $11.
She had an appetizer of seared foie gras with a balsamic glaze. Cooked very nicely. I had a crab meat potsticker topped with a slab of tuna that was rare-seared absolutely perfectly.
She had rack of lamb and complained that it was overly salty for her tastes, but it was cooked nicely. They were happy to substitute the starch that came with it.. I had a ribeye that was one of the finest steaks I have ever had the pleasure to eat (this has not always been my experience at S.E.). The quality of the beef and the perfect temperature control were spectacular. And it was a big hunk o' meat that filled me up nicely.
We turned down dessert because we were too full, but they insisted on bringing a scoop of very fresh tasting berry ice cream to share as a little anniversary gift.
Yes, the price is high, but that's the kind of restaurant you are dealing with. Last night I did not regret the choice of venue or price paid at all.