Eatery - Plate and Pitchfork (NC)

Plate & Pitchfork - Duke University, West Campus, Upper Union
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - French, Southern, Italian, etc | Reservations - Encouraged

This on-campus eatery is only open from Monday-Friday from 5pm-10pm but is wonderful because it is made with local & organic ingredients and is available for purchase through Duke FoodPoints. Kevin was visiting for the weekend, and I wanted to give him a taste of something delicious and nice at Duke. This was the place to go, and the meal was certainly more than just a tad scrumptious. It's hard to place the cuisine here because the menu is sort of a hodgepodge of different things. I appreciated that because it gave good variety. We picked at the bread while we were deciding on the menu, and though it was very oily, it was perfectly soft and chewy with some crisp on the outside. Thumbs up on bread.

We started off with the Beer Braised Pork Belly which was braised in Fullsteam Brewery's "Hogwash" beer and served with Parmesan grits. The pork belly was succulent and tore away in neat strips. I really enjoyed the soft but firm texture that it had, and the flavoring was spot-on. The grits themselves had a nice level of Parmesan in them where it wasn't overbearing but still had a strong enough influence on the overall taste. I thoroughly enjoyed the greens that came with it too because it was tossed with a light and refreshing lime-like vinaigrette.

I ordered the Steak Frites which was a house sirloin with French fries and béarnaise sauce. The menu didn't actually note how big the steak was but boy oh boy was it huge. I'd say it was a nice 10+ oz and too much for me to handle. I loved how juicy it was though. The char on the edges was just the right amount to give a notion of crisp that worked well with the seasonings. I had ordered it medium rare which was cooked to the perfect point. I enjoyed my meal. The fries were shoestring style as well, my favorite kind.

Kevin ordered the Lobster Mac and Cheese which featured Fontina and Gruyere cheeses. I had a taste and fell in love with it. Though the cheeses may have been slightly overpowering over the taste of the lobster, the portions of lobster were generous and the cheeses melted to perfection. The breadcrumb crust on top of the dish added a delicious crunch to the soft and big noodles inside. Our friend had the Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and winter vegetables. I think that the chef did a great job of getting the chicken to the point right before it gets "dry" when being cooked. An overall fantastic meal - we didn't have room for dessert. Thumbs up to Plate and Pitchfork!