4 November, 2011

G2B Gastropub

Posted in : Dining in Durham, NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez

G2B Gastropub
3211 Shannon Road
Website

G2B is a gastropub located in the ill-fated restaurant space at the back of an office building near the intersection of Shannon Road and University Drive. You may recognize the location from when it formerly housed Starlu, or more recently, Restaurant Eden. Well now, it’s G2B, and it’s the first restaurant I’ve actually made it to there! For those who haven’t been, the restaurant is located in the back of the office building, so keep driving farther around until you find it.

Those aren’t the best indoor pictures, apologies, but it’s enough to show you that G2B is awash in blues and reds; in fact, there are shifting colored lights inside that keep the place in a state of flux as to the color scheme. I approve of such shenanigans. I also approve of the artsy lamps and the contrasting feel of the place in general. There are those swanky lamps and rich fabrics, but there’s also a row of couches/loungers complete with a Wii set and games to play with it. In other words, G2B is an upscale option for a relaxed night out with friends. Some might call those two concepts warring, but it works perfectly well for me.

The food follows the same premise in that it’s much more delicious and well constructed than it should be for that price. Honestly, with starters and sides from $3 to $4, small plates from $5 to $8, and entrees from $9 to $15, I think G2B’s offerings are a steal. There’s no one style of food that stands out; instead, there’s a mix of standard pub far classed up and choices like prosciutto-wrapped figs, gourmet pizzas, and grilled Artic char with brussel sprouts. Wine and beer lists are available by iPad, and they are working on a cocktail list.

I went to G2B with a group of friends who had also been chomping at the bit to try it since it opened last spring. We went for a wide range of their offerings, and opinions overall were high. Here’s what we had—though, I only have thoughts to offer on my stellar choices.

Goat cheese croquettes that at least one friend was in love with.

Sweet potato soup with garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and crème fraiche.

My roasted beet salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, frisee, and vincotto.

Oh my stomach, people, that dish was amazing, one of the best I’ve had in ages. Every bite had so many lively flavors in it, whether the delicious roasted beet, the tasty zing of mint or basil, the crunch of frisee with lush goat cheese, or the sweet undercurrent of fruit from the vincotto. The shower of fresh pepper on the top made each bite pop no matter what was on my fork. I cannot recommend this dish enough.

My gnocchi with tarragon cream sauce and an arugula pesto was nearly as good, and nearly as good means outstanding in this case.

The gnocchi was fluffy and delightful, and the arugula was a great green for cutting through the richness of the cream sauce. I am unashamed that I ate every single bite of both this dish and the beet salad. In fact, I revel in it.

Other entrée choices, all well received though probably not given quite as high of praise as I gave my dishes, included the grilled pork ribs with coca cola glaze, cilantro, lime, and sweet onion slaw—

the pork shoulder confit with braised red cabbage, onion, apple, and fig mostarda—

and the tomato mushroom pizza with arugula pesto.

After I had gorged myself on my two fantastic dishes, I swore off dessert, knowing I just didn’t have it in me for more tasty treats. The table did decide on one option, though, and I agreed to take up the extra spoon that would come with it. It was a mocha-peach baked Alaska with red-wine-poached pears, cranberry-vanilla bean sauce, and coffee ice cream.

That’s a gorgeous baked Alaska, no? I thought the dessert, especially the meringue and coffee combination, was wonderful. The pears and sauce were dandy but unnecessary in my opinion—the baked Alaska was delicious all on its own.

We were shocked and delighted to be given a second dessert compliments of the chef, Carrie Schleiffer. I’d met Carrie once before, at a dinner thrown by Chef Sean McCarthy at [ONE], and it was so sweet to have her remember me and give us the chance to try G2B’s dark chocolate mousse bombe. It comes with a cranberry-red wine sorbet, orange chutney, and chocolate toast.

This dessert happened to be our waiter’s favorite, especially the cranberry-red wine sorbet. I have to agree with him there; that sorbet was to die for. The rest of the dessert was, of course, very rich and chocolately, but it couldn’t compare with the baked Alaska for me. I’d love to know how they made the chocolate toast, though! That was definitely a unique dessert component.

In case you couldn’t tell, I absolutely loved G2B, and I hope they defeat the curse of that location. I could easily see myself spending a lazy Friday evening there, relaxing near the Wii while noshing on wonderfully thought out food. Let me know if you’re in the mood sometime, and I’ll be there, appetite ready. Oh, and if you’re one of the friends who went with me, feel free to add your thoughts on your dishes!

Reviewed 18 Oct 11.

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