This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:
Rock Harbor Grill (121 N. Salem St.; 919-267-6452; therockharborgrill.info) is the latest in a long line of eateries to open at this address since the circa 1906 building was renovated a little over a decade ago. Like its immediate predecessor, The Hideaway, the new establishment bills itself as a seafood restaurant.
But that's about all the two have in common. New owners David and Chandra Vance have given the place a makeover, trading in the old the beach-rustic vibe for a more upscale - but still casual - feel with framed photos of classic rock musicians on the walls and white table linens in the upstairs dining room.
Chef James Lee's menu is decidedly more ambitious, too. Lured to the Triangle from 1587 Restaurant on the Outer Banks, Lee is currently offering nearly a dozen seafood entrees, among them seared rockfish over white bean cassoulet, lemon-crusted North Carolina mountain trout and a pot au feu of mussels, clams, shrimp and whitefish in a saffron-tomato broth.
Landlubber options are more limited but hardly an afterthought, with choices ranging from braised boneless beef short rib to a crispy duck breast over gouda-mashed potatoes that's been winning a lot of early fans.
Butternut squash soup, mushroom duxelles and goat cheese crêpes, and a "Rock Harbor skillet" of oven-dried tomatoes, fried eggplant, roasted garlic and house-made mozzarella are among the dishes that are making vegetarians thankful that Chandra Vance counts herself among their number.
Rock Harbor Grill has a full bar and welcomes seafood lovers, landlubbers and vegetarians alike, Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Send restaurant news to Greg at email@example.com. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.