Stanbury: Raleigh, NC
This place was slated to open 6/15, but when I walked by a couple weeks ago it didn't look anywhere near ready. It's somehow tied to the Admiral in Asheville, which is outstanding. A menu they had posted on the window looked very much along the same lines as The Admiral, so I'm pretty excited about this place. I'd love to hear folks' initial thoughts whenever it does open up.
The chef OR one of the chefs from the Admiral is opening it. I think in the old Market Spot or near it. If someone doesn't reply, I can find out more information. Slated to open just means that is what they were shooting for but some thing are out of their hands like government officials and permits.
Visited Stanbury last Saturday evening. Definitely trust your GPS, because the sign is unreadable outside and the exterior doesn't give much hint that you've arrived at a restaurant. Especially if you are thinking "upscale." For those who know the location, it adjoins Escazu chocolates. There is a very small parking lot in front and street parking nearby.
The ambiance screams Dive Bar and Grill. Walls are bare wood and are decorated with stuffed animals, posters, and other informal items. There is an open kitchen and servers wear T-shirts, bandanas, nose rings, and similar informal accouterments. The noise level is pretty high and many of the tables are very close to each other.
The menu features some small plates and maybe five entrees. We elected to put together a sampler of small plate items.
Honestly, my alert sensors were going full blast at the whole feel of the place. Just not what I'm used to for a good dinner experience. But then the food started coming.
Every dish was delightful. Simply wonderful tastes, prepared without a lot of fuss and full focus on flavor. The menu is going to change often, so it probably doesn't mean much to go over individual items. And there isn't anything I would steer you away from. But if the fried oysters are on the menu, make a point of getting them. They were plump, juicy, and lightly fried with a perfect coating. The opposite of most rubbery Calabash offerings.
Service was unfailingly prompt, knowledgeable, and courteous.
I thought prices on the small plates were a touch high given the portion sizes, but I certainly didn't feel cheated by overpaying for bad food. I've paid a lot more for a lot less quality.
Recommended for an informal meal with foodie friends where you are there for the taste of the food and not a white tablecloth quiet romantic evening.
I liked it more than Poole's.
I just posted this on another Southeast thread, but the NY TImes just proclaimed, "The most exciting food being served in Raleigh right now is at Stanbury…"
I agree with very much of what is posted above - and I definitely agree with liking it more than Pooles - but, in my opinion, I wouldn't consider it as having a Dive Bar & Grill ambiance at all. But that is just my perception.
We had a great meal at Stanbury recently. I'd been dying to eat there since they opened, and after getting shut out a few times finally made it happen. The feel is comfortable and casual, and nothing like what I consider a dive bar. We dined on a nice night and the garage door was open, which I loved. Our server was friendly and did a great job pacing the meal.
I love the way the menu is set up, with a bunch of small plates and a few large plates. We opted to order small plates until we couldn't eat any more. Highlights included beef tartare (my favorite dish of the night), swordfish crudo (fresh, tasty, pretty), marrow bones (no brainer), fried oysters (perfectly fried), crisp pig head (fried gelatinous meat), roasted beets, duck breast and a sliced steak dish (can't remember the cut, do remember liking it). The only dish I wasn't jazzed about was crisp sweatbreads, but everything else was delicious.