Monday, May 25, 2015

Lunch Counter Reinvented in Raleigh: Poole's

Poole's is a loud joint. It's not easy to find, not great for kids not easy to manage for big groups. It's not fancy - countertops in weathered formica, menus on chalk boards on the wall.

What it is is fabulous.

The menus are in chalk because they are constantly in flux, new items pop up as the produce of the day comes in. The worn formica sits on top of of a classic mid-century lunch-counter double horseshoe, like the Camillia in New Orleans.


Fried Green Tomatos
This is a place imagined by someone who loves food, loves Raleigh, and who has found a way to breathe life into this lost place on the edge of downtown.  Freshness comes through front and center on the menu. Seasonings are minimal and on point - lemon and olive oil on perfectly fresh bibb lettuce; cornmeal on intensely juicy quarters of fried green tomato. Everything is bright and crisp - more green tomato and less fried. In more complex dishes, Poole's shows a deft hand with balance and flavor. The roasted pork belly had a soft bite that was rich without the chewy fat that often comes across when places swap out pork belly for bacon to spruce up a menu.

Pork Belly over Lentil Stew

Ashley Christensen - the woman behind this place and a handful of others in the Research Triangle won the James Beard award for best chef in the Southeast in 2014. Poole's is good enough to be successful in any market anywhere, but it is connected at its roots to the place where it lives.
Poole's Downtown Diner on Urbanspoon

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails