Greg Cox, the News & Observer’s restaurant critic, released his list of top restaurants last Friday, and I think I may be in nearly complete agreement with his choices. He selected Andrea Reusing’s Lantern as the restaurant of the year, and when you consider the national acclaim this Chapel Hill establishment received this past year, along with the fantastic food Reusing puts out, this honor was well deserved.
He only had 20 restaurants on his list last year. Dropping out were Jibarra, which closed and then reopened downtown, Red Palace (closed), Jujube and Second Empire. New to the list are Allen & Son, China Palace, Dos Toquitos Centros, Il Palio, J. Betski’s, Margaux’s, Panciuto, Saint Jacques, and Zely & Ritz. Panciuto and J. Betski’s were on last year’s “Top Newcomers” list.
He also chose Poole’s Downtown Diner, Ashley Christensen’s one year old baby, as the newcomer of the year. As you know, I’m certainly biased towards Ashley, as she’s a good friend, but the food she puts out continues to be superb (and the service is actually quite decent).
As for the top 25 restaurants, I can’t really quibble with any of the places on the list (and I love that he included Allen & Son. I’m thinking that we need to come up with a top 25 “cheap eats” places that would be separate from the high end establishments. Gret did something like this last year with his list of Best Bargains, but we need to expand this list to 25 places. Or maybe an assortment of a top 3 “Best in Class” for each type of place.
Anyhow, and this may shock many readers, but I’m in agreement with Cox’s list. It’s really hard for me to think of Margaux’s as one of the best places in the Triangle anymore. It’s good, but not good enough. And Saint Jacques can’t keep a cook longer than a couple of months. Other than that, however, strong work, Greg.
Greg Cox’s Top 25 Restaurants in the Triangle — 2009 Edition
Allen & Son
Dos Taquitos Centro
Elaine’s on Franklin
Zely & Ritz
Top 10 Newcomers
Poole’s Downtown Diner
Maximillians Pizza Kitchen
Rockwood Filling Station
Posta Tuscan Grille