Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mini-Meetup at the Town Hall Grill

Coturnix told me all about how wonderful the Town Hall Grill was at the last Durham Bloggers Meetup, so I suggested that we meet there for dinner. Thursday night, Google Earth Evangelist (GEE), Friend of GEE (FOGEE), and I drove through rush hour in the pouring rain to Southern Village, which none of us had been to before. Fortunately, the Town Hall Grill is located in a really posh building with a parking garage underneath, so we didn't even have to get out in the rain at all. Fellow bloggers dining with us included Coturnix, author of A Blog Around the Clock, Sheril Kirsehnbaum, co-author of The Intersection, and Vanessa Woods, author of the Bonobo Handshake.
Several people ordered the special of the evening, monk fish and crab cakes. The cakes were approximately 3/4 crab and 1/4 monk fish. They had a really nice flavor, too.
GEE had the Arugula Salad, with baby arugula, roasted beets, goat cheese and spiced pecans with a white balsamic vinaigrette. The star of this salad was actually the flavor of the roasted beets, which were sweet and yet earthy.
I had this order of fried oysters for $8.95 and shared a half portion of the garlic fries with FOGEE. We didn't come anywhere close to finishing them. When I was at London Fish and Chips, someone told me that Town Hall Grill's oysters were soaked in buttermilk before frying and were some of the best in the area. I have to agree that they were excellent They were big, juicy and crispy.
For dessert we all shared desserts served on two plates, each with chocolate ganache cake and cheesecake. Since I'm not a big fan of cheesecake, I chose to concentrate heavily on the chocolate. I'd also like to try their bourbon-cherry bread pudding.

Coturnix is well known at the Town Hall Grill and the restaurant hosted the pre-conference dinner for the 2008 Science Blogging Conference, which I did not attend. In hindsight, I certainly should have, just considering the food alone. Chris Burgess, the chef, stopped by to introduce himself to us. Prior to the Town Hall Grill, he was at Panzanella and the Flying Burrito. Recently the restaurant was converted from being essentially a sports bar to one with a decor that more accurately reflects Burgess's talents and his food's sophistication. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and I hope to venture out there again.

You can see all of Coturnix's great photos from our dining extravaganza.


  1. Great review! This was so much fun. We'll have to do this again when I come back. Thanks!

  2. My salad was really wonderful -- so inspiring, I went to the Durham's farmer's market to buy beets and greens to attempt something similar. Apparently there is more to making earthy sweet roasted beets than just washing them and sticking them in the oven (besides turning off the smoke detector). The beets I made are okay. The beets on my salad were velvety.

    A vendor at the farmer's market insisted I add pea shoots to my salad mix, and he was right. Pea shoots may be the next trendy ingredient - after all, according to the vendor, Amy Tornquist uses them.

    Those are oysters on my salad - I've been reading your blog enough to start craving oysters myself. Mine were great, and my salad was full of wonderful contrasts - earthy sweet beets, sharp fresh arugula, rich crisped oysters, etc. I need to eat with you more often.

  3. GEE, I fully intended to mention that the fried things on your salad were oysters, but I apparently just forgot. :)

    "I need to eat with you more often."

  4. Great post! Now I'm starving, though, happily, I have a good number of suggestions for my trip to the Town Hall Grill, which has quickly moved up the list of must-visits.

  5. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Hi Lenore,

    I really enjoyed the dinner and great conversations. It was really nice to hang out with so many interesting people. I can't wait for our next meeting/dinner.

    GEE mentioned that we may be going out again. I hope that it's real soon.

    Nice pictures, by the way.