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May 28, 2012 09:53 AM

City Kitchen (was Spice Street) in Chapel Hill?

Has anyone been since they changed the menu and name of the place? Any reports? I find myself with a night off (babysitter coming) and most places closed, either due to usual Monday hours or Memorial day. I want something nice and not far from home.

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  1. Message me for your next night off! I'll come over. I'm obviously *way* behind the time in Orange County - I didn't know Southern Season was "new" either.

    1. With a perfectly named, perfect little restaurant named Kitchen already in Chapel Hill, someone had to come in and confuse things by now opening a new resto called City Kitchen. It's similar to what happened in Durham, with outstandingly good Revolution being followed by the weird and unappetizing Cuban Revolution. I'm starting to develop a sense that if they can't be bothered to find a truly unique name for their restaurant, the chances of the food standing out are slim. That said, I'd be happy to be proven wrong, and if this new City Kitchen is any good, I'll try not to hold their unoriginal name choice against them. I'll check out their menu with an open mind. Maybe it WON'T have a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad.

      4 Replies
      1. re: durhamois

        Laughing about the grilled chicken caesar. The menu before was all over the map (sushi, flatbreads, kung pao chicken, harissa dipping sauce?). I started chatting with some people in another restaurant and they mentioned that they'd been to City Kitchen and that it is basically still the same, but that they plan to slowly move the menu in some other direction.

        Nice to see you back on the board durhamois. You've been missed.

        1. re: LulusMom

          I wonder if they feel silly calling a restaurant in a shopping mall parking lot "City Kitchen"?

          1. re: brokegradstudent

            Brilliant and funny point! If they didn't already feel silly about the mural in there (if you never saw it, you really missed something) then I think they're unembarrassable.

        2. re: durhamois

          Well, in Cuban Revolution's defense, that's the namesake of the original restaurant in Providence, RI.

        3. I'm eating at City Kitchen tonight with some friends. (I didn't pick the venue.) Has anyone tried anything there they thought was a standout dish? How's the bouillabaisse? The oysters? The suhi rolls? Crab cakes?

          10 Replies
          1. re: durhamois

            We made it once, maybe 2 weeks ago. There are some appetizer specials that are nice enough. I got some sort of dumpling (they change by the day) that I liked; for the life of me I can't remember the other two appetizers I got, so they can't have been that wonderful, but I seem to remember thinking that they were fine. Husband got the lamb slider starter and liked those (maybe 2?) and then a pasta which he says was "all right" in a not that convincing tone. But I think basically it was perfectly serviceable and not that different from what it used to be.

            Wait ... rereading your post makes me think that I got the crab cakes. I'm pretty picky about those, and these were fine. Not great, but better than a lot of the ones I've tried. Good luck, and let us know how it goes please.

            PS - the mural is gone.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Thanks for the reply. The interior looks not remarkably different than Spice Street did. I got the crab cakes (fine, nothing to write home about) and the duck confit salad (very good, but covered with unadvertised lardons). However, they have martini specials on Thursdays, and all the martinis on the drink list were $6.00, even after I asked them to substitute Absolut Ruby Red for regular vodka. Can't beat that.

              1. re: durhamois

                That *is* a great deal. We seem to always end up there on Wed. evenings, and then they have $6 wines by the glass. Some of those wines are really nice and definitely a good deal at that price.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Yikes! The wine went up AGAIN? It used to be $4 - which was amazing, then $5, still great. $6? Just ok. It's the same owners, lot of the same menu items. I think it's a fun place to go on drink special night because they're hopping and the food is fine. LulusMom, if you're ever looking for a place to go when the other places are closed, consider Acme. We were there last night and it was great.

                  1. re: suse

                    Yeah, the $5 wine was an incredible bargain (didn't find the place when it was $4, which is probably a good thing for many reasons). The bar scene at City Kitchen is definitely thumping.

                    ACME is on our list of nice places; we had stopped going about 5 years ago after a couple of pretty bad meals, but they pulled it back up again, and I like it a lot (wish they'd stop making their own bread though).

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Their bread was definitely the low point. The only other thing - while I liked the calamari/slaw - there wasn't that much calamari going on, but their tomato special was hugely delicious.

                      1. re: suse

                        There are a few things on the menu that almost always hit the spot - that tomato special app is one of them. Also love the fried chicken over mashers; they do a scallop dish (sometimes?) that is also fantastic. I like sitting at the bar - once they know you they're pretty warm and friendly, and they do good drinks.

                        I once got the calamari slaw for Lulu, who loves both spicy slaw and calamari. I could have throttled the waiter who, right in front of her, said "Oh, I don't think a child would like such a spicy dish, and especially with the calamari." Guess who suddenly didn't want spicy slaw with calamari? Aside from that, the service has been great.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Aren't "well meaning" owners and staff such a PIA? I lost track of how many times over the last few weeks on vacation some solicitous person tried to stop my kid from ordering a certain dish or tasting some plate because it's too spicy for a child. Seriously? I am the kid's mom. I pretty much know what she will and won't eat.

                          Oh, and the fish dish that was supposed to serve the whole family but was too spicy for a child? We parents were lucky to even get enough of a taste to know how good it was.

                          Boy, how I sympathize!

                2. re: durhamois

                  Speaking of good drink deals, we happened to go to Glasshalfull last night for dinner and found out that Monday night all the wines on the menu are half price, bringing them pretty much down to retail price. We had a lovely red from South Africa (it is called Pepper Pot, and I highly recommend it) for something like $18 (instead of mid 30s).

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Thanks for the recommendation.