Thumbs-up for G2B in Durham.
Tried this place for the first time last night, wow. Something about the reviews have kept me away, specifically the way they often mention the weird location (in a bank building) and how the location is often the kiss of death. I kept avoiding it because I feared the awkward "you're the only person in the restaurant" scenario, which I hate. Finally gave it a shot on a whim, really glad I did. The place was easy to find, the atmosphere was amazing, the place was pleasantly full, but--and this is important--NOT noisy. Unlike many restaurants in this area, they actually took the time to finish the ceiling and make some attempt at noise cancellation. You can actually hear your dining companions talk. (There is a separate dining room with live entertainment--I was sorry to realize this too late as we were leaving, as the jazz band sounded pretty good.)
Our starters (fried oysters and goat cheese croquettes) were amazing, as were my G2B burger and my companion's lamb burger. (Honestly, this was the best burger I'd eaten since I moved to NC, especially since I like my burgers medium-rare.) Fries were not quite up to Vin Rouge standard, but that didn't slow me down too much. The bacon fried mac and cheese was also good.
The waiter was perfect--just attentive enough, and steered me to a great beer after I explained I was a beer newb. Only off note was that he failed to mention a small plate special (a duck confit) until after our starters had already arrived.
The only truly underwhelming dish was the cinnamon apple crisp desert--not sweet enough, and put you in mind of eating unsweetened applesauce. (I say this as a person who doesn't eat a lot of sugar and likes more subtle desserts.) This was solved by my companion giving me several spoonfuls of the caramel that came with his sticky toffee pudding. I would have been disappointed otherwise.
Anyway, I don't see this place mentioned often, so wanted to put in a good word. It's also nice for Southpoint residents as it doesn't involve the drive all the way downtown.
I've been there a few times for various events (mostly a friends big band jazz) and the food is what I would call gastro pub or upscale bar food which isn't a bad thing if it is done right. They do a lot of their own charcuterie and the chef use to work under Floyd Cardoz in NYC. It is spread out well and sorta interesting space with the availability to rent a Wii to play. The concept came from Shane Ingram when he opened this and One together but he left both of those to return to Four Square.
The space was a kiss of death as it was Sam Poley's restaurant Starlu for about 4 years or so ending 'round 2008? I'm sure that time frame is wrong. There is also a pub now on the street facing side called Doolin's
They tweaked their menu a little bit last year in Oct or Nov. The burger is a big seller as you mentioned and comes with some melted foie gras on it. They just started a Scotch Egg and use to do mini rillette pies and also little hand held shepherds pies for "snacks". I like them because the crust had a little bit of sugar in it to make it sweet and not just a plain crust.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one who appreciates restaurants' acoustics. It seems to me that if you go to the trouble and expense to finish a space, hanging some fabric on the walls and ceilings would be low cost and could be done tastefully. I remember Mateo being overly loud.
Don't even get me started on the dark lighting and hard to read fonts on menus. Oh God, seems like I'm making an online application to AARP with this post. Guess I'm getting too old