Another Day in Paradise with Dave & Lisa
De-mystifying the Foodie Universe since 2010.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Of world cities, chicken and honey
Just recently, I ran into the concept of the “Alpha” or
. The concept is really rather self-evident: some cities have outsized or disproportionate impact on the world economy and culture. In short, some cities matter more than others.
The idea is really quite useful. Some cities really are centers of finance, industry and culture. Moreover, there is a pecking order of sorts. Researchers at
ranked worlds cities according to their own criteria and published the results. They broke them out in three groups: Alpha, Beta and Gamma, with Alphas being the largest, Betas being smaller and Gammas being smaller still. Each group had sub groups and so on.
As for the Alpha ++cities – the biggest of the big – the list is what most would suspect; it begins in New York and ends in London. The Alpha + cities – one step below in globe girdling importance – were Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Further down in the Gamma+ section one can find Charlotte along with such notables as Hanoi and Nairobi. Nowhere on the list can you find Raleigh.
Sorry boys and girls, nobody really thinks we’re that big a deal.
Now, one might say “this is all well and good and may certainly help me the next time I audition for Jeopardy™, but what does this have to do with food?” and it would be a good question.
Recently, on the occasion of Her Imperial Majesty’s 29
birthday, we had lunch with the family at
Beasley’s Chicken + Honey
. It came with hipster-written rave reviews so it seemed like a good bet for lunch.
The space is large with a few individual tables as well as a long communal table in running through the center of dining room. On the morning we arrive, it was bright and sunny giving the whole place a crisp, urban feel. Our server was attentive, bringing out the brunch menus as well as answering our questions about the menu items on the chalkboard.
Das Kinder had the chicken and waffles. The chicken was serve bone-in and was fresh and hot, doused liberally with honey. The waffle was waffle-ish. She was happy but she likes syrup. Her Imperial Majesty had a chicken biscuit, this time served with a small boneless chicken breast and topped with pickled green tomatoes. My two bites concluded that the chicken was okay, the pickled tomatoes were interesting and the biscuit was forgettable. My sister had an apple waffle, which wasn’t really an apple waffle, but rather a waffle artfully topped with crème fresh and three slices of green apple. She scraped the toppings off to the side. Big Tom and her Imperial Majesty Le Grand Dame split a quarter of a chicken and three sides. I didn’t hear any complaints but didn’t expect to. I ordered the chicken pot pie and was served a chicken stew with a perfect shaped piece of puff pastry floating on top. My guess is that the chicken and vegetables floating in the “gravy” we left over from the night before. I also ordered the amazing sounding Pimento Mac and Cheese for the table. It arrived as bright orange cube. All sampled it. None finished it. Rather bland, actually.
I suppose I, of all people, should know better. Of course the Chicken Pot Pie is leftovers. Of course the apple waffle was destined to be a failure at a place that advertises chicken and honey. The star is supposed to be the chicken, not the sides. But you see that’s the rub; it’s not that good. I’ve had better elsewhere and you probably have too (see
Dame's Chicken and Waffles
in Durham). And the sides, which have to be ordered ala carte at three of nine dollars, aren’t particularly good either. All in all, it’s was a very mediocre meal and I won’t recommend it.
Perhaps it’s because Chef Christiansen opened Beasley’s and two other restaurants at once, all the while maintaining Poole’s Diner. Maybe she spread herself too thin. And that despite all the good press and forays into Food TV, she’s moved beyond the limits of her talents. Open three restaurants at once is a big deal for anybody. And getting everything right at all of the time is something that maybe she’s can’t pull off. I don’t fault her for that. But her sycophants, toadies and lackeys in the local alternative press aren’t doing her any favors either. They continue to protect her with an echo chamber of her triumphs, because it is their interest that she succeeds on a really big stage.
Not that the clientele will ever notice. The inside the beltway crowd will pat themselves on the back that they’ve found world class food culture because they need to. With the oh-so-hip Beasley’s inside the beltway – presided over by genius Chef Ashley – and the yearly avalanche of America’s Best Place to Live lists, they’ll convince themselves that they’ve made the Global cities list.
Sorry break to this to you; Beasley’s Chicken+ Honey isn’t going to advance the cause. Hipster chic is a deep as a mirror and all their rave reviews notwithstanding, this isn’t great and even very good. Raleigh has a long way to becoming a World City.
Urban hipster paleo -- complete with Dyson Air Blade hand dryers -- served as a side of irony
Beasley's Chicken & Honey
200 South Wilmington Street
We rank restaurants in five categories:
***** Extraordinary – Intense attention to ingredients and preparation and devoid of pretense. Everything's right.
**** Excellent – Attention to ingredients and preparation; in down scale environs, something that’s true to its DNA.
*** Above average – Good but not great. Or, as Her Imperial Majesty says, "I'm not that crazy about it".
** Average – Will do in a pinch but not worth a journey.
* Fair – Don’t bother, as it probably has a help wanted sign in the window, which is always the harbinger of a bad time on the horizon.
Beasley's Chicken + Honey
chicken and waffles
Dame's Chicken and Waffless
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