LaRue Can Do
Greensboro is certainly an evolving place. When we first came to town 34 years ago, it was a place of “old school” steak places and country clubs. Bur Mil presented a sirloin on a wooden plate with piped mashed potatoes, onion rings, a large piece of parsley and a whole pickled red crabapple. Blue blazers reigned.
Nothing wrong with that; in fact, that last generation presentation "pop" and pure old school flavors is still something I miss when I get nostalgic for khakis, Nettleton's (spectators of course), alligator belts, pork pie hats flipped just so, and a gin and tonic looking down a long green fairway. I am, however, here to tell you - times have changed!
The foment underneath the Bermuda Fairway (this year, tundra) is from the new generation. The "teens," as I call them, have decided to nudge us old "f_ _ ts” aside. “We have great ideas, old man.” We have grown up with the "Food Channel" and "Iron Chef." It is our time to make an impact on the world and that, my friend, is what makes this old orb go 'round!
In walks Trey Bell, a graduate of that "other Carolina," the South Carolina native is a world class pole vaulter. His wife Cheryl and he met at an international competition. She too is of the Palmetto state. She is also an equestrienne extraordinaire and manager of Fiore Farms in Summerfield. If you want to learn yoga or gymnastics on horseback - she is your gal!
Trey meantime worked the line at every restaurant job you could imagine in the Myrtle Beach area. He, like Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead" at the construction site, learned the business from the scullery detail up. It just so happens he is also a natural born food genius, chemist and foraging nerd all wrapped up in an attractive package that is both crowd pleasing and eerily intuitive and knowledgeable.
So enter LaRue. Trey was looking for a place to call his own to fulfill his lifelong dream. After a stint at Marshall Free House, he called me one day to look at this curious old seafood place across from the Carolina Theatre and next to the abandoned Rhino. Old and abandoned they definitely were. Great prescient location sense, eh? Anyway, to make a long story short, he and his crew with their bare hands cobbled together a space that one of my friends recently called "Brooklyn in Greensboro." Apt I say, maybe even I would go far as to say Noma in Copenhagen (I have seen pictures). Every choice of dishes, cutlery, bar stands, blackboards and colors I personally witnessed. Trey's old love of ancient typewriters now greets you at the front door sign-in.
Even the name LaRue is Cheryl's nickname by her track coach. Check out the Greensboro street scene art in the upper level which perfectly matches "the street" theme.
So now no oven, all sous vide with grill pan or blow torch searing for the proteins. No more crabapples.
Instead artfully arranged baby pea tendrils, goat cheese and roasted beet salad. Then this month (it changes q. 30 days) is quail over savoy cabbage and small grains, lamb "lollipops" with an herbal reduction, tuna seared tender over a divine succotash, and succulent scallops. In the past an "onglet" or small hanger steak over beets and French horn and beech mushrooms. Still present on the menu "duck three ways" (which is jerky or “red neck” prosciutto, confit and foie gras - my personal favorite) and new now - a shank of cooked bone marrow scooped onto bread.
So you get the picture. We have not yet fully benefited from the Fiore Farms forage, but morels, chanterelles and ramps will be fit in (and may already have been) while I write this.
So dense chocolate cake and New York cheesecake finished us off recently with Trey's home brewed Ethiopian coffee.
I think though now you get the images. Think old metal bar artfully etched by the crew with muriatic acid.
The staff are fit, factual, full of finesse, and all have that über, cool vibe you would expect in Berlin, Copenhagen, or as I said, Brooklyn.
You have not lived until you have tried one of their signature mixologist masterpieces which are in and of themselves world class, new age cocktails.
Yes, Greensboro, the "teens" have arrived. For you old - embrace the new, for it keeps us all young and puts this fair city at the cutting edge (God knows we need that). For you young - welcome to the table - you grew up before we realized it and we are hanging on to your collective coattails for the ride.
by Dr. Eddie Paul
313 S Greene St, Greensboro, NC 27401
Lunch $10 to $13
Dinner $8 to $31
Open 7 Days A Week