Durham >Food & Dining > Magnolia Grill
1002 Ninth St, Durham, NC | Directions 2770536.013912 -78.921436
Restaurant Tues-Thurs 6-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm. Bar 5-9:30pm
Neighborhoods: Old West Durham
If you don't like this place, you're the problem. – I am not a culinary expert nor do I have an educated or discerning palatte. I do however, know ridiculously good food when I eat it. I have never, ever, in all my life tasted anything as flavorful and unique as the dishes I had at MG. This is truly a lifetime perspective changing experience that no one should be without. This place is not overpriced, so anyone who says it is just doesn't understand that this isn't just some assembly line style mall parking lot restaurant. The staff is very pleasant and they were quite patient with my simpleton questions and unknowledgable demeanor. I found the atmosphere charming, unfettered, and very approachable. I have heard people complain that it is too average looking. So what, if you want to have to wear a suit and tie to eat go somewhere like that. I'll never understand why people try to take a lifetime's worth of messed up comparisons and expectations into a situation and then complain and judge the entire time they are witnessing a miracle.
Bottom line, you have to try this place if you are in the area. It simply is the best dinner I've ever had without exception.
P.S. Stella Artois on tap = sweet baby jesus awesome
Pretentious attitudes come from both sides! Good food, vegetarians and big egos beware. – First, I would like to say that the person who wrote about water refills must be one of the dumbest people on the planet. Those are restrictions put in place by the CITY because of DROUGHT, sorry you have to bother yourself to ask for water when you want it. Further, they could be fined if they pour water without request, so take it up with the city, are you living under a rock? That is the most self centered attitude, and it is this kind of thoughtless demand for endless natural resources that creates problems in the first place.
To give an even handed analysis: Yes, the Barkers and the staff can be pretentious at times. But what's more pretentious than these award winning Chefs and their staff of snobby lackeys? The culture of Dukie stuff shirts that coalesce around this restaurant like flies on, uh, fruit! These pampered bags of whine love to throw their weight around the city they disdain, especially at important social/business gatherings which often involve a bite to eat at Magnolia Grill. Obviously, there are many good hearted Dukies out there, but reading some of these reviews made me laugh at the hypocrisy snobs calling snobs snobby.
I have been in many times, the food is excellent, and is not over priced. The service is good, sometimes great, sometimes not. The Chef is stubborn, so if you don't like the menu, don't go because he wont change it most of the time. The china and glassware is old and beat up, if that bothers you, don't go. If you are a strict vegetarian, this is not your place. Meat lovers will enjoy, the best dishes are hefty in southern flavor and most all of the red meat is fantastic. Dessert is the Best! Save room!
A Jewel in Durham – This might be one of the best dining experiences of your life. An amazing mixture of big flavors both in entrees and desert. A menu that integrates flavors and attitudes of the South with the diversity of cultures that is modern Durham delivered in an urbane atmosphere that could be in any of the more traditional dining meccas. The staff is widely knowledgeable of both the menu and the wine list (diverse and reasonably priced) as most of them have been here for a while. I've heard some disparaging things from locals who are more comfortable in a less foody environment, but if you like daring culinary experiences, you'll love this place.
Won't seat after 8:30! – I have tried to go to this place multiple times and they have either turned me away or were closed! They wouldn't even let us sit at the bar. I don't know how a place can turn away profit at 8:30
Very rude and unduly pretentious – My friends and I went there to get dessert and drinks on a week night. The first thing the waiter said to us was "if you want water, you have to ask for it because we won't fill it up for you unless you ask for it." His manner was quite rude and its ridiculous to deny people a glass of water and have to make them flag down the waiter when you want water. Anyways, my friend was hungry and decided to get a salad, but she is a vegetarian and wanted them to keep the bacon off the salad. He said that the chef refused to do so. When we asked what other vegetarian options there were, there was like 2 other unappealing options. The place overall was incredibly pretentious, the staff was rude, and the whole experience left a very bad feeling. Which is too bad because the dessert I had was quite delicious, but I would never go back there to be treated so badly.
A TRULY HORRIFYING EXPERIENCE – When my husband and I were choosing a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, we picked Magnolia Grill based on a good meal we'd had with my parents despite the usual difficulty getting a reservation and long wait. We ordered a very expensive bottle of wine ($130), though to our surprise, the waiter came back to inform us that the chef refused to sell us the bottle unless we both ordered meat. Regardless of the fact that we had already enjoyed this exact bottle with the chef's very own tuna ceviche, I had already settled on trout for my dinner, and we decided to scrap the wine altogether. Too bad for them we suppose because our entire meal was less than the bottle would have been. If you're looking to be disrespected by a pretentious, self-absorbed and condescending chef who makes adequate food at best, then this is the place for you. Save your time and money--there any plenty of other equally delicious restaurants in the triangle.
Seinfeld Soup Chef – : We choose this Restaurant based upon published recommendations. We were disappointed with everything except the Desserts which were deserving of the high rating. When we tried to express our concerns about the two worst disappointments (overcooked tough veal and a "corked" bottle of wine) the chef/owner refused to speak with us directly but sent repeated rude messages to us through the staff; refused to sell us another bottle of wine, stating that we try bourbon and insisted that veal was suppose to be tough overcooked. We were later informed that he fancies himself as the Seinfeld "Soup Chef" of Durham. He likes to mix different flavors and has rec'd awards for his avant guard style, however unlike other gourmet chefs he believes the "customer is always wrong". My fellow diners asked me not to take his eccentrics personal; the manager apologized and the waiter was very attentive. We however cannot recommend this place and have urged the highly respected rating publication to reconsider the rating. The Gourmet dining experience requires more than a talented chef.
Glad I went but...... – You can call us foodies and enjoy eateries everywhere we travel. We were excited that we finally had a chance to go to the MG. While the physical plant was pleasing and the hostess extremely attentive we found some very weak areas for a place opened so long.
Thought we d start with a cocktail since the plane ride was so long. The server was unaware if Beefeaters was aivaiable at the bar. When she brought the dinks she inturn spilled half on the table and didn t offer to refill or correct the situation/
. I had the fried oysters for an app. They were overcooked to my disappointment. Nothing like the ones at DC Coast in Washington DC or even at Cliff s In greenville NC. I then has the Stripped Bass( which had no side of veg) which was good however the portion was less then you d get at a weightwatcher convention at Gratersford prison. One of my fellow dinners had the duck which had an extremely strong soy flavoring which over powered the true flavor of the meat. My wife has the flounder which was a winner. It came with a citrus infused grite side.
The wine list was comprehsive. We had a pinot which goes with everything. We all agreed the place wasn t worth the money
On the whole and in general we re glad we tried it. Would we go back again "NO."
WORST Attitude of Any Chef/Owner possible – This rating is specifically for the Chef/Owner.
What a horrible way to treat a customer who has been coming to his restaurant for 10 years.
The food has always been wonderful and the service great.
While the service was still great and the food that I ate was delicious...
My entree was OVERCOOKED on one side. Med-Rare for one 1/2 and Med-WELL
for the 2nd half. And the Med-Well half was cut side down as if to hide that it was cook
improperly. The chef refused to do anything about it. The waitress took it back to the chef
2x and then the manager got involved. I didn't want anything for free. I just wanted to enjoy ALL of my dinner. Well, I didn't get the rest of my dinner. And we left without getting dessert. I was very sad and disappointed.
A place like outback would have taken an improperly prepared steak back and given the customer
what he/she ordered.
Here are some quotes from the chef/owner -
"Our philosophy has always been based on a foundation of the best available ingredients, carefully prepared and served without pretension."
"We love people who love food and wine and know what it feels like to work in an environment where that is most important."
Apparently, my entree was not carefully prepared and on this night, we were in an environment where the food was NOT one of the most important things.
We well not be returning. Such a shame.
Only for the older crowd... – I am re-posting this as a couple of friends of ours went and had the EXACT same experience a week ago. I think the owner must be the one posting such "Excellent" reviews....kinda sad. My wife and I are in our lower 30's, but look like we are in our 20's. I am assuming this is the reason why we were completely ignored by the service staff. We dressed nice and are quite polite, but over 50 minutes went past between appetizer and entree and we never saw our server. We asked for someone to go find him and were told "he will return shortly". No "I'm sorry" or anything. When one goes out to a nice dinner one expects to spend around two hours over good food. While the food really was exceptional we spent over 4...30 minutes waiting on the check even after we complained about being ignored. If you look "mature" and like you will leave a good tip I highly suggest the Grill, if not...go to the Bloomsbury Bistro in Raleigh or Elain's in Chapel Hill for excellent food and to be treated like a human being. We will not be going back, no one cared at all that we had such a poor experience.
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