I am not an official food blogger. I do not write how a sauce paired perfectly with the peaches on top of the pork chops. I have plenty of friends who focus primarily on food writing, and I don't even try to keep up with their talents in the food world. I am, however, a travel writer, and let's face it. Food is a huge component of travel. We all like to eat. I know I do. So, my food approach on this blog is different and quite simple. I focus on just two things. Is the food good and should you go? If a restaurant doesn't meet those two requirements on my list then you'll never see their "name in lights" on my blog.
I'm fortunate because I've worked hard on my writing portfolio these past four years, and I sometimes get asked to visit a restaurant. Many times, I say no just because my schedule is busy or I don't want the out-of-pocket expense of a sitter that week. Will and I live a very balanced life. We do not leave our kids with sitters three to five times a week so I can attend media or public relations events.
I do like to keep up with what's being served in the Triangle because I like to recommend this area as a travel destination. It's what I do. I also dine out quite often in the community on my own tab. I also don't write about everything I do because it's just too exhausting. Writing takes a lot more energy than a social media tweet.
Let's now talk about Durham, North Carolina. It's close to Raleigh, N.C. The food scene is outstanding, and yet I don't get over to Durham near as often as I should.
About a month ago, I had one of the best meals that I've had in a very long time at Oval Park Grille. It's a little bistro in a neighborhood near downtown Durham. It excited me because it was that delicious. It was one of those meals where I wanted to lick the plate clean, but my Southern manners knew that I should not do that. I raved about the meal the entire time I dined. It was that good.
The menu at Oval Park Grille is small, and it changes frequently. In fact, there are not a lot of choices and at first glance, that little fact concerned my husband. He said, "The food looks outstanding online, but I don't know about the sound of the things together. The chicken sounds good. But, if the only thing that really sounds good to me is the chicken then I don't know about going." During our phone conversation I translated that to mean he wasn't sure if that is how he wanted to spend his hard-earned money on a sitter, especially since the sitter would cost more because we would have to drive to Durham. (It's about a 35 minute or so drive from our house to the heart of Durham.)
I, on the other hand, thought the menu sounded divine because it consisted of all the winter-farm-to-table things I had been experimenting with such as spaghetti squash, cauliflower, collards, etc. I was wanting to go and to try something new. Since I make about 99.9 percent of all our dining choices, I decided to accept the invite by the restaurant and we went. Will is pretty happy go lucky so he was took a very open-mind with him.
Let me tell you right now that Oval Park Grille is sitter worthy and so much more. You can actually take your kids, but we like to be away from them, too. I ordered the scallop appetizer with spaghetti squash, cashews and pomegrante grastique as my main entree. Since I'm not an official food blogger, I had to look up grastique. Oval Park Grille's menu evolves with the local season so if you go tomorrow then the scallops may not even be on the menu. But, I have no doubt that you will fall in love with something else. We loved this restaurant. And guess who got really won over? That's right. Will was impressed.
Should you Go? Yes.
Should you bring the Kids? If you want. There is no kid's menu. Kids are welcome though.
What can I expect to spend? Appetizers and entrees range from $10 to $20.
Outdoor area: Yes
Atmosphere: Casual, open, and slightly loud.
Walking Distance to DPAC? No, but not far by car.
Open late? Yes, and food is served late, too.
Oval Park Grille
1116 Broad Street
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Disclosure per FTC regulations: Our meal was complimentary this particular evening, but we always pay for a sitter and pay our serving staff. Nothing in life is really ever free. I do not dine complimentary in exchange for posts. I write when I want to write, and share my experiences when I chose. My opinion of this restaurant did not change because our meal was complimentary. In fact, if it did anything, it made us realize that we need to dine in Durham more often.