I went back to ole North Carolina a few weeks back to visit some friends in Raleigh. My best friend, Kathleen, decided to take me to a place she had been wanting to go to – Poole’s Diner.
I love putting the fate of a foodie adventure in the hands of others. Poole’s Diner is located in downtown Raleigh. Originally Poole’s Pie Shop in 1945, it was renamed to Poole’s Luncheonette and then Poole’s Diner under the ownership of chef Ashley Christensen. The design was definitely up my alley – incorporating the restaurant’s historic elements with updated, chic accents.
My favorite part of the eatery was the menu. Lately, I’ve noticed that more and more restaurants have ditched the lengthy, overwhelming menu (anxiety for indecisive people like me) and opted for a more refined and straightforward selection. The limited options at Poole’s Diner are posted on a blackboard wall – creating a relaxed, neighborhood feel. The menu rotates according to season and specials, thus giving diners an ever-changing dining experience.
We started with a Southern favorite – Pimento Cheese Dip. The familiar flavor with a slight twist was the perfect beginning to our meal at Poole’s. The restaurant has a great bar stocked with an awesome selection of craft beers. Note to self: become a beer connoisseur. With the assistance of our waiter, I chose a Californian Pilsner-style beer called Scrimshaw. ‘Twas delicious. Merci, nice waiter. Kathleen and Will both ordered a light
With only a few main course options, I was forced to be adventurous and ordered Rabbit Confit with chèvre gnocchi, oyster mushrooms, butter beans and sweet corn. Rabbit and confit: two very unfamiliar things to me. So much so that I had to Google “confit” under the table. For those of you scratching your head like I was, Wikipedia simply explains confit as the process of storing food in a cool place for several months. Odd, but it turned out pretty tasty. And now I can say that I’ve ordered rabbit confit…so intense.
Kathleen opted for the Sockeye Salmon with charred squash, olive, brandywine tomato relish sans olive (alleluia). According to the fish-lover, it was divine. I’m trying to remember why I didn’t give it a taste, but I trust Kathleen’s opinion.
Surprisingly, the man at the table chose the least-masculin dish on the menu: Watermelon Salad with goat cheese, basil and avocado. Kathleen and I both gave him weird looks at first, but as it turned out, I fell in love. It was so great that I attempted to make my own version upon my return to Atlanta. Way to go, Will!
Overall, Poole’s Diner was a great experience. The staff is ridiculously friendly, the atmosphere is great, the beer selection is top-notch and the food was delicious. My only regret? Not ordering the Macaroni au Gratin. I found out the hard way. Fellow Foursquare-ers, do remember to check-in before ordering because in situations like this, I waited until after the meal to find tip-after-tip about the macaroni. Ugh.
Poole’s Diner, 426 South McDowell St., Raleigh, NC 27601