Elaine’s on Franklin {restaurant review}

Before we grabbed drinks on Franklin Street on Saturday night at The Crunkleton, we had dinner planned at Elaine’s on Franklin.  While I was very familiar with the restaurant, this was my first time dining at Elaine’s.

Elaine’s is a quaint Farm-to-Fork restaurant located in Chapel Hill, NC.

Since day one at Elaine’s, we have been preparing everything in house from scratch and developing relationships with locals to provide diners with a unique culinary experience which reflects the best of what our local N.C. farmers produce.

Our menu changes frequently according to seasonality and availability and features local produce, dairy, seafood and  meats from a variety of local organic farmers and suppliers which we take pride in supporting.  Buy local.

While browsing the menu, I wanted to try it all.  We narrowed down the options for our first course and ended up with quite the array of plates.

first course

(working from the top and going clockwise)

risotto cake stuffed w/ fresh local mozzarella w/ red pepper pureé & millarckee watercress salad

elaine’s potato gnocchi w/ brussel sprouts, shrooms, carrots & warm brown butter-verjus vinaigrette

seared labelle farm’s foie gras ‘blt’ w/ candied bacon, arugula & house-pickled tomatoes

My favorite of the three was the foie gras “blt” – melt in your mouth!  I thought the presentation was incredibly creative and I also loved how pretty the dish was – foie gras isn’t always the most beautiful plate of food – but I loved the look and taste of this dish.  Bacon + foie gras = Heaven.

The risotto cake grew on me – I wanted a little more flavor in the cake.  Perhaps a stronger flavored cheese.  And the gnocchi was perfectly cooked but I was craving a more flavorful sauce – perhaps a pesto.

Big Guy and I ordered a bottle of wine that would pair beautifully with our two separate entrees.


2009 vincent girardin, les gravières, santenay, france

This Pinot Noir was light enough for my seafood dish but bold enough for Big Guy’s pork entree.

Quite a lovely wine.

At this point in the night, I put my camera away and enjoyed our dinner while catching up with Sarah.  But I can tell you that Big Guy and Sarah ordered the most delicious entrees.  I was quite jealous.

For me:  pan roasted n.c. striped bass filet w/ morels, artichokes, asparagus, potatoes, a grilled ramp & artichoke broth

For her:  grilled angus filet mignon w/ crispy potato cake, sautéed greens, elaine’s steak sauce & garlic-escargot butter

Big Guy ordered a pork and grits dish that was incredible (it’s not listed on the online menu).

I highly recommend making a reservation at Elaine’s the next time you’re in Chapel Hill.

“It’s like eating in the big city, but better because it’s here. Refined without being snooty.”


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