I had a puzzling phone conversation with a reader today. He and his wife had done some drive-bys to see the exact locations of some well-regarded Raleigh restaurants. What he saw surprised him and during our conversation I was struck by how worlds apart I was from this man in terms of our evaluation of restaurants.
He specifically mentioned Poole's and Bida Manda. Where I see the charm in Poole's modern update of this former diner, he saw a "dump" and wondered why a James Beard finalist didn't pick a better restaurant location. Where I see the sleek Asian design of Bida Manda, he again failed to see any beauty.
As we were talking, he mentioned Bruno, a steakhouse near Wake Forest, as a restaurant aesthetic that he liked. He called it "charming." I've never eaten at Bruno so I don't know what it looks like. But Greg Cox gave it four stars so I know it is a worthy dining destination. (Go HERE to read Greg's review.)
I urged the gentleman to look beyond whether he likes the look of the place and taste the food. But I'm still scratching my head about this phone call.
Is this a generational divide among diners? He seemed older than my 38 years, maybe close to 60. Is it based on a person's prior dining experience? He said he and his wife moved here from Boston. Are big city restaurants really that much different than what's here in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill? Or maybe some folks have very different ideas about what a restaurant experience should be? I'm as happy to eat off a food truck as dine at Lantern in Chapel Hill. Maybe others don't see dining that way. How can two people be so far apart on the beauty of a place?
What do you think?