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Spice Street

October 5, 2009

interior

This past Friday night, F. & I dined out at Spice Street in Chapel Hill, NC. While the menu impressed us, we found the food lacking.

Early Oct 008We started out with the Pork Pot Stickers. The chile-soy dipping sauce was tasty enough, but the pot stickers themselves mainly consisted of wrapper and not much of the bland filling.

 

Early Oct 009Then we had the Bastilla on a bed of grated carrots and orange slices. (Not listed on the online menu. It was a flakey triangle pastry filled with beef.) While neither of us cared for the chalky and odd salad below the Bastilla, F. really loved the pastry itself.

I then had a cup of their soup du jour, butternut squash. The soup was garnished with a swirl of sweet, aged balsamic vinegar.  The soup was thick and did not taste overly of butternut squash, but instead of potato.

We both ordered entrees, which was our biggest mistake. F. ordered Steak Frites and I ordered the Duck. The problem lied in poor execution. All the issues we had with our meal were largely avoidable if the kitchen had taken proper care with each dish. 

Early Oct 011The steak, ordered Medium Rare, was definitely “done” without any shades of pink within.  If an improperly cooked steak isn’t offensive enough, consider the case of the french fries. They were lukewarm and one texture throughout. Everyone knows the glory in fries lies in the crunch of biting into one. With these fries, they were just soggy logs of potato.

Early Oct 010The duck was a foil to the steak. While the steak was overcooked, I feared the duck was not cooked enough. There were some bites that seemed particularly raw. Not enhancing the meat was a thick layer of chewy fat along the top. The shame was that the fat could have been crisped in the cooking process and it would have added so much flavor and pleasure to eating the dish. Instead, I had to perform surgery to remove the fatty inedible bits prior to consumption. The finishing touch to the poor dish was that the duck was served on a round of cold potato gratin.

Bottom Line: While Spice Street has an inspired menu, they should concentrate on doing a few things well rather than a host of things poorly.
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