Restaurant Review Roulette: Courtney’s Bistro

If you ask a local for a good breakfast spot, Courtney’s will get mentioned as much as anyone else.  There are a few Courtney’s locations in the Triangle, and many people swear their breakfasts are the best in the area.  I don’t agree, as the food has always been decent, but not great, but I can understand the appeal.  Courtney’s also serves lunch, offering soups, salads and sandwiches.  Courtney’s has not, however, traditionally served dinner.  Until recently.

Enter Chef Orobosa John Uwagbai.  And Courtney’s Bistro.  Chef Orobosa is a native Nigerian who has been cooking low country fare in the Charleston area for some time, and then worked at Gregory’s in Cary.  The Courtney’s Bistro website claims he’s listed as one of the top 25 chefs in the country (although they don’t list the source of that list).  He’s now partnered with the owners of Courtney’s to offer a “unique and exquisite dinner service.”  Now this is quite a combination, combining crystal and linen with the diner-like feel of Courtney’s.  The menu certainly focuses on low country specialties such as shrimp and grits and gumbo, but he also offers traditional fare such as rack of lamb and pasta dishes.

And now Greg Cox gets to review this bizarre combination.

I have no clue how good the food is.  I have no clue how this concept works.  I have no clue if Greg Cox will love or loathe the place.  What to do, oh, what to do?

Punt.  That’s what I need to do.  But, alas, this being Restaurant Review Roulette, I cannot run away.  I have to establish the odds.  There is a substantial amount of betting going on, I’m sure (snicker), and so I offer this week’s prognostication: Courtney’s Bistro will garner 3 stars.

5 stars — 200 to 1

4.5 stars – 20 to 1

4 stars — 9 to 2

3.5 stars — 2 to 1

3 stars — 3 to 2

2.5 stars —  5 to 2

2 stars — 3 to 1

1.5 stars — 7 to 1

1 star — 17 to 1

I don’t know a soul who has tried Courtney’s Bistro.  Let me know your thoughts.  And your predictions.


Edit, July 16, 2010: Greg Cox gave Courtney’s Bistro 3 stars, just as I predicted.  However, the description of the food sounds as if Courtney’s Bistro could have merited at least another half star.  I guess the guy has a problem with formica tables.


2 Responses to Restaurant Review Roulette: Courtney’s Bistro

  1. blewgo says:

    My wife and I have eaten there twice. Our first impression came from the decor which is standard Courtney’s. That lowers your expectations. Looking at the menu the first time with my expectations already lowered by the decor I thought TV dinners. I ordered the grouper in cream sauce. We really weren’t expecting much but after the first bite I was in heaven. The fish was perfectly cooked and the sauce was a perfect accompaniment It didn’t overpower the fish at all and was nothing like the overly tangy/tart neon yellow lemon butter served in chains. On another visit I had the crab cakes which are pure crab, no filler. The sauce was a tarragon lobster. It reminded me of a sauce nantua. There wasn’t a drop of it left on my plate.

    Foodies will probably hate the place as the food isn’t edgy and the flavors aren’t bold. It’s more classic.

    If ambiance is a heavy part of the score then I predict a 2 or lower. If just the food is considered I’d give it a 3.5 to 4.

  2. Chad says:

    I was stunned to learn that Chef Orobosa was partnering with Courtney’s. My wife and I fell in love with his food at Orobosa’s Low Country Cafe, his restaurant in Pawleys Island, SC. He has also garnered high praise in Southern Living and a bunch of other southern-oriented magazines for his food at the Litchfield Plantation. The “Top 25” designation is from Coastal Living, I believe. What he’s doing at Courtney’s is beyond me. Courtney’s is a mediocre breakfast place at best (and has some of the worst coffee it has ever been my misfortune to taste). I can only imagine that this is a consulting gig and that he’ll open his own place at some point in the near future. We plan to visit Courtney’s Bistro in the near future to see if dim lighting and what will no doubt be excellent food can make up for the complete lack of ambiance or charm at Courtney’s Cary location.
    Here’s a link to his catering venture:

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