Eater’s national restaurant critic Bill Addison unveiled his “roundup of the restaurants that shaped and defined American dining” on Jan. 13; among those chosen was Raleigh’s Poole’s Downtown Diner.
This is the second year for Addison’s list of Where to Eat in 2016. Poole’s is a new addition to this year’s list, which is based on nearly 450 meals that Addison ate on the road last year. The list isn’t all fine-dining fare; it also includes Franklin Barbecue in Austin and Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville.
About Poole’s, Addison wrote: “The greatness of Ashley Christensen’s flagship begins with her macaroni au gratin. Made with cheddar, Jarlsberg, and Grano Padano and broiled to a crusty, bubbly bronze, its a mingling of French and Southern sensibilities, and there may be no better version of the mac and cheese anywhere. Christensen has firmly planted herself at the crossroads of high-low dining: beyond the macaroni, her menu changes nightly, offer dishes homey in flavor and meticulous in execution. During a spectacular spring meal, that meant delicate flounder filet over turnip greens creamed with pureed turnips, and fried soft-shell crab over early tomatoes with Brussels sprouts slaw. The restaurant’s interior — an affectionate updating of the original 1940s diner with pressed-tin roof and a metallic double-horseshoe-shaped counter — perfectly mirrors how Christensen raises Americana to new heights.”