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Dinner in Durham/CH, pulling all the stops

A grateful client is taking us out for dinner, price irrelevant. With the demise of Magnolia and Bonne Soiree, where would you go? I've got Nana's and Four Square in my back pocket if nothing else rings my chimes, but I haven't been out for high end cuisine locally for some time, so I'd appreciate some new ideas.

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    1. re: corngrits

      I'd second this but what does your client like to eat?

      1. re: LBD

        Lantern or Fearrington House are both solid choices for a celebratory meal. Try to figure out what the wallet likes to eat and take that into account as well.

        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          The client, afaict, has very wide ranging tastes. We do want to be able to hear the conversation, so acoustics are actually as much of an issue as cuisine.

      2. If you don't mind the short drive to Cary, I'd go to Herons at the Umstead. Great menu, excellent service, and the decor is spectacular. If you want to stay right in-town, head to Bin 54 in Chapel Hill.

        1. I'll second Bin 54. Haven't been to Heron's, but they just got named one of the 'World's 101 Best Places to Eat' in an article by Newsweek and the Daily Beast:

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek...

          4 Replies
          1. re: romansperson

            To note that article was by other chefs... not discounting but I would say Herons, Fearrington or Lantern.

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              I googled Heron's as I've never been there and quite frankly haven't heard much buzz about it. I live in Durham.

              $18 for a burger with fries? $14 for a Caesar salad? Rock shrimp salad on the summer menu? What is wrong with our wonderful NC shrimp? I know it is a little different, but it is delicious and fresh.

              And all this is in the bar and lounge. They didn't list the dinner menu.

              No thanks - won't be trying it. There are so many good places in Durham & Chapel Hill - I don't see how this place can even compete. Maybe just for people who live in Cary and Raleigh and don't want to drive to Durham or Chapel Hill.

                1. re: Jeanne

                  Like the above said....Clearly you missed the Forbes 5 star results and Newseeks Top 100 Places in the US to Eat, huh? It's the only Five Star/Five Diamond restaurant in the state. Not sure you need more "buzz" than that.

              1. I'll throw out another option, One in Chapel Hill. For a business meal, I think it's just a better atmosphere, having a more contemporary feel. While I like most of these other options, I just feel that they might not strike the right tone. Heron's feels too fussy, Fearrington too frilly, Lantern a bit too noisy, Il Palio a bit too in a hotel lobby-y, etc. And, I've had a few great meals here. They don't seem to get much attention on these boards, but I think that they should.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dinersaurus

                  I agree about ll Palio. I resisted for a long time after a disastrous brunch there 8 years ago. But once I finally went for dinner I was pretty impressed. I will say that things seem to vary from one trip to the next (one time something comes out really salty, the next time something else comes out cold, the next time everything is perfect) which keeps me from putting it at the top of my list, but I still always enjoy most of what I get there.

                  Also agree with Bin 54, especially if you're meat eaters.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I feel it only fair to mention that we had a dinner at Il Palio this week that was all out great. Not a single misstep.