A Disappointing Restaurant Week at Spice Street

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Julia and I are big fans of Restaurant Week, because it really gives us a chance to try restaurants that we would not normally get a chance to try due to lack of funds.  This time around we went with Chapel Hill’s own Spice Street which had very promising RW menu that included both duck and soft shelled crab, which get me every time.  I had also heard great things about Spice Street in the past, plus it is in the same complex as A Southern Season which makes it very convenient.  Needless to say, we were both very excited about our Restaurant Week excursion, which included an earlier excursion to the Weathervane for drinks, and to A Southern Season for wine and cheese.

Anyways, after our drinks and shopping trip we managed to dodge the pouring rain and found our way through the mall to Spice Street itself.  As we walked in, the host gave us a rather surprised and distracted look and proceeded to tell us that a wedding was going on in the main restaurant and we would be seated upstairs.  The waiter asked us if we were okay sitting in a seat that overlooked the wedding, of course we agreed to for the people watching opportunity.  As we sat and watched the entertainment, I got the impression that several of the guests were none too pleased with the prospect of the restaurant’s common diners gawking as the festivities of the wedding party unfolded.

Regardless, Julia and I were very happy sitting and watching the wedding, and I think it made us both a little nostalgic of our own lovely wedding.  We both immediately liked our server who was doing his best to serve us over the noise of the wedding party.

I chose the soft shelled crab as my first course, as I had very recently had some amazing soft shelled crab sushi at Tokyo House in Raleigh.  I had noticed that Spice Street had its own sushi bar, so I was very happy when it didn’t disappoint me with its amazing fried soft shells on top of sesame noodles with ponzu sauce.  I may not have mentioned this before, but I am obsessed with shellfish of almost every kind and soft shell crab is toward the top of my list.  I was pleased to find that the crab Spice Street served had that complex, almost sweet flavor you can expect with soft shell crab and the somewhat tart ponzu sauce just amplified this savory sweetness of the meat.

For my second course I chose duck, which I believe I also had for my main course at Duck & Dumpling for our last Restaurant Week outing last fall.  Anyways, I was very excited by Spice Street’s Massaman Curry Duck for the obviously awesome combination of duck and Thai spices. Unfortunately, this harmonious union was not to meant to be.  Though tasty, the duck turned out to be a bit on the dry side, as is often the problem when it comes to duck dishes.  In and of itself, the dry duck was excusable, but once I got to the curried veggies, it was so salty I felt as if an MSG factory had blown up in my mouth.  It left wondering if the staff was so distracted with the wedding they weren’t able to season my dish properly.

For my third course I was thrilled with the Tahitian Spiced Creme Catalan which is a dish involving spiced mango.  To me it sounded like an interesting spin on a creme brulee which I can definitely get behind.  Once again though, it was not to be.  They were out of the mango dish so they offered a standard tiramisu which was quite subpar, but this could have been a result of my disappointment with not getting the other dish.

What started out as a night where we were excited to try some a new place with a great selection of seemingly unique dishes ended in a sigh of disappointment and a monsoon like rain storm.

-T

I adore the new slideshow feature…

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