Triangle Restaurant Week is an annual event among eateries throughout the Raleigh area. This year, January 21-27 marked the time when Triangle restaurants offer fixed-price menus to showcase their establishment’s prized dishes.
After hearing about Restaurant Week through various friends, my mom wanted to stray from our repetitive dinner choices and try something new. We never go downtown for a weeknight meal, so she thought it was a great time to be adventurous.
Looking at the list of restaurants that participated in the week, Gravy was a name we heard before. It was supposed to have really great food and lively atmosphere, which was fitting for us. Space was limited, even on a Thursday night, so we had to book early 5:30 reservations online.
We uncharacteristically arrived early for our reservation of three, but the friendly hostesses were happy to seat us. As we walked through the narrow eating area, I noticed an empty red booth that we were being led to. The hostess handed us our menus and was sure to point out the Restaurant Week menu that accompanied it.
While waiting on our notoriously late friend, I noticed the eclectic artwork displayed on the exposed brick walls. Although it seemed unfitting for a somewhat upscale Italian restaurant, the reds in the artwork complimented the vibrants booths we sat in. The remaining tables quickly filled up, and the air grew heavier with the noise of friendly conversations. I noticed many younger and middle-aged couples with exception of some random college girls.
Once our tardy friend arrived, we pondered the wondrous Restaurant Week picks on the menu and debated every option. The presence of hunger rushed our decisions, and we ended up choosing the same main course. However, for an appetizer I chose the risotto cakes, while my mom decided on the healthier roasted beets.
During the wait for our appetizers, our waitress brought us some garlic buns, which melted in my mouth. After indulging in two of those, my fried risotto cakes were placed in front of me. The crisp balls of battered risotto and cheese were stacked atop of a thin layer of homemade red sauce or “gravy.” My tastebuds gladly welcomed the risotto, but yearned for a bit more gravy. Fortunately for me, our companion didn’t like her gravy and happily donated it to my plate; I was satisfied.
Once I realized I still had a main course and dessert ahead, I began to pace myself. I tried to leave an entire risotto cake on my plate, with very little luck. My desolate plate was replaced by a bubbling bowl of cheesy eggplant rollatini. Due to my impatience, my first bite scalded the interior of my mouth but was pleasing. After letting my dish cool, I devoured the lightly breaded, saucy goodness.
I forced myself to stop and save the rest for a future leftover meal, because I had ordered canoli as my dessert– and I love canoli. As I tried to convince myself that I still had room for dessert, they were set right in front of my watering mouth. Without hesitation, I gave into the strong temptation, and it was worth it. The first of the two was completely demolished, but as I started to feel my bulging beltline, I questioned the fate of canoli number two. I opted that the best choice was to skip the barrier of the shell and just enjoy the beautiful filling.
Overall my experience was lovely, and the food was absolutely superb. Every employee was well-mannered and welcoming, making the atmosphere as unforgettable as the food.