Last Sunday was Joe’s last day of work at the Old Granary, the brunch/lunch spot at Fearrington Village. This was significant for several reasons. First, and most importantly, Joe is now a full-time employee at The House, the fine dining restaurant at Fearrington. Not only does he now have the title of chef de partie of Veg, he has more responsibility, as he is running the station, and will have someone “helping” him as opposed to vice versa. CONGRATULATIONS JOE!
The move to The House is a significant milestone for Joe. He has only been working as a chef for one year, and has now advanced, one step closer to reaching his goal of becoming “the best chef in the universe.” As for me, this signifies adjusting to Joe’s new work schedule of more nights, weekends, and holidays. But I am not focusing on that part now. Joe has promised to make this up to me, and I am holding him to it!!! So, all in all, this was an opportunity to celebrate and there was nothing Chef Joe would enjoy more than a romantic dinner out with his beautiful wife. Yup, that’s me….
The restaurant that popped into my head to mark this milestone was La Residence on Franklin Street. It is more upscale than our usual weekly choices and we had gone there a few times for special occasions in the past. Coincidentally, Joe’s original boss from the Old Granary, Stephen Amos, recently transferred there as executive chef, so La Res seemed like the perfect choice for this evening.
La Res is quite special. It is quaint and homey in a southern, classic way, but still colorful. We requested to sit in the outdoor patio area which is great this time of year. Imagine being surrounded by lush plants, vines, twinkle lights, with fresh flowers on the table and Ella Fitzgerald music playing in the background. It was quiet, beautiful and peaceful on this Sunday evening at dinner time.
The menu has a nice variety of appetizers within the $8 price range. We tried the Swedish Meatballs which were a delicious treat of sweet and savory, paired with a house-made pickled cucumber dice, Roma tomato aioli and crispy fried potato straws. For the main course I ordered the flounder, the days special, and Joe could not resist ordering the beef tenderloin. I loved my dish! The flounder was fresh, soft, and seemed to melt in my mouth. It was accompanied by cauliflower puree and gnocchi. Joe was equally enthusiastic about his beef tenderloin. The meat was medium rare, succulent, perfectly seared, delicious. Joe mentioned he liked the presentation of the twice baked Yukon potato. There was a certain refinement and attention to detail in the way the potato was mashed, placed back in the skin, and garnished with a bacon and chive crème fraiche. Entrees at La Res average about $23 a plate, what you would expect from a fine dining establishment in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. For desert, Joe and I shared the cheesecake. It was light and summery, served with strawberries, and seemed a little more like a soufflé than a cake.
We loved the food. However, the entire ambiance at La Residence is what gets us excited and makes us want to come back again. The dining experience is almost like a getaway full of old-fashioned romance and charm. So, Chef Joe, I am already looking forward to revisiting La Residence again SOON…
Whether you are looking for a delicious meal, a romantic night out, or a place to celebrate an occasion, we highly recommend La Residence.
202 W Rosemary Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516