26 April, 2007
Elaine’s on Franklin (Downtown Chapel Hill)Posted in : Dining in Chapel Hill - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
Elaine’s on Franklin
454 West Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC
Elaine’s offers an awesome 3-course tasting for only $30 on Thursdays and Fridays before 7pm. It’s hard to beat that price, so take advantage, even though my review isn’t glowing.
Dinner began with a complimentary tomato consomme. It was an excellent palate cleanser and was unexpectedly broth-colored and smooth. I admit, I’d have imagined tomato consomme to be similar to tomato sauce. The focaccia served before the meal was very light and fluffy but too salty for me. I still ate two slices.
Our first appetizer was a cheese and cracker sampler. The crackers had a bit of flour aftertaste and weren’t cooked quite enough but they were tasty. The cheeses weren’t striking because they were all similar in flavor. This dish would be greatly helped with a contrast in cheese types.
The second taster consisted of blue-cheese stuffed figs arranged over cantaloupe and prosciutto. The presentation was lively and fun as the figs looked like popped out eyes with a melon smile. Each individual element was delicious; the prosciutto melted like butter and the blue cheese was very tangy, but the figs might have shone more if they hadn’t been stuffed at all. The melon didn’t add anything to the dish. I suspect it was there merely because of its traditionally pairing with prosciutto.
For the main entree, I had the seared tuna with potatoes and spinach. It was bold in color and the spinach was served crisp. However, the ingredients weren’t matched well. There were far too many almonds and the accompanying sauce was much tarter than necessary.
Mr. Gourmez had the grilled tenderloin, which was very juicy and tasted of the earth. The diced sweet potatoes were nice but nothing innovative.
We had a margarita crème brulee and chocolate cake for dessert. The crème brulee was dressed with lime and candied orange peel. The extra touches didn’t bury the crème because the lime was not too tart. It was quite delicious.
The chocolate cake had your average molten surprise inside. Our meal was accompanied by a Basil Mojito, Mint Sidecar, and Oranj Cocktail.
Elaine’s decor is the brick warehouse look that’s been popular for the past 5 years or so. It is predictably decorated with large prints of colorful fruit. The food mainly followed this same pattern-interesting a few years ago but a bit stale these days.
The bar area looked to be a quite pleasant break from the rest of the room. It was sharply divided from the main dining area but not in a separate room at all. It had a friendly air about it. I also was pleased that the waiters could wear their piercings. At least that’s more modern than your average restaurant.