Saturday, August 10, 2013

[One] of the Triangle's best

I've had only good meals at Chapel Hill's [One] restaurant.  Through the several chefs that have led its kitchen, the food has been consistently tasty, the service reasonable, and the atmosphere a pleasant urban feeling, something rare in these parts.  When I saw that the management had changed chefs yet again, I wondered if this would be the time the cuisine suffered.

Until I read about the places this new chef team has worked, a list that includes El Bulli, Alinea, French Laundry, and Per Se. 

Then, I was eager to try their food.

A group of us checked it out earlier tonight, and I'm happy to report that [One] is better than ever in almost every way than its previous incarnations.  (I'll return to the caveat in a bit.)  All the starters and mains we sampled were utterly delicious, as were the several amuses.  All were also beautiful creations, not a single bit out of place.  The chefs beautifully maintained the delicate balance between modernist techniques and local tolerances--in food styles and in budget--to create a lovely, wonderful menu. 

The service has also improved, with wait staff working hard to get all the details right.

I now want to figure out how to arrange to get the chefs to do a no-holds-barred tasting menu.  I would love to see and taste what they could do without any restraints on their creations. 

The reason for the earlier "almost" is that the desserts, always a strong point of [One], were the weakest part of the meal, simply not up to the rest of the menu.  Their descriptions read well, but the flavors were generally muted, the creations just not as inspired as the savories.

Still, [One] is now among the Triangle's elite restaurants, and I look forward to eating there again.

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