26 April, 2007
City Beverage (Woodcroft, Durham) *CLOSED*Posted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
4810 Hope Valley Road
City Beverage is a gem hidden within a strip mall geode shell. The incredibly unimaginative moniker of “City Beverage;” does not inspire exploration, but don’t let that stop you. Come in despite the nondescript exterior; you will be richly rewarded. City Beverage is one of the most fun eateries I’ve come across in the Triangle. In addition to well-considered mixers, they do have an intriguing menu of gourmet pub food.
We’ll start with the drinks that their nondescript name trumpets. It’s an extensive list of martinis, margaritas, and tropical fare, including a flaming scorpion bowl that blends well with the decor-a pleasant hodge-podge of 70’s bowling alley and tiki bar. I had the key lime martini and a French kiss.
The fried calamari starter was less appealing. It was sufficiently yummy, but failed to impress. There simply wasn’t enough batter on the squid and what was there was too lightly fried, resulting in a limp presentation and texture. The accompanying cucumber and garlic dip was a little sharp, but overly flavorless. I’d say give a different appetizer a try when you drop by. Someday, I’ll find calamari that can compete with Vinny T’s of Boston. Perfectly crunchy and saucily spicy. It may be a fruitless search.
For dessert, we tried their chocolate crème brulee. This delight took me by surprise as I was expecting a warm ramekin of sweetness, but instead found a luscious treat lightly touched by heat yet cold at its base. It was a great combination and made every bite interesting. The crunch of the sugar contrasted well with the thick pudding interior, which is quite more fun that the usually creaminess of brulee.
City Beverage will hopefully make a great addition to our local rounds. They don’t always hit the target, but they do enough of the time to make exploring the menu an adventure. Plus, I loved, loved the atmosphere. The red and purple walls, lamps made from bowling pins, hurricane glasses hanging from humongous polka dots on the ceiling, not to mention tiki gods hiding in various nooks and crannies. Above all else, you need to enjoy the luxury of bucket seats that pull you in and keep you feeling trendy and comfy for your evening. Come to City Beverage and learn why it’s much more than it seems on the drive by.