Have you seen the December issue of Bon Appétit magazine? If you haven't, you might want to pick up a copy. Check out the article titled "Best Seafood Restaurants," which names Raleigh's Fins as one of its top 10 picks in America. It's listed at No. 2, in fact, ahead of such high-profile establishments as Anchor & Hope in San Francisco and Lure in New York. Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton describes Fins' fare as "seafood at its most simple and sublime."
So what, I hear some of you say. What's the big deal? The national media spotlight shining on the local dining scene is nothing new. Just two months ago, Gourmet magazine published a lavishly illustrated 14-page article about Lantern owner/chef Andrea Reusing. That same month, Saveur named Counter Culture's Karaba one of its "9 Great Coffees," and Bon Appétit singled out Durham-Chapel Hill as "America's Foodiest Small Town."
Point taken. But none of those articles mentions Raleigh. Indeed, pretty much all national coverage of the local food scene has focused on Durham and Chapel Hill. The attention has been richly earned, certainly, by a diverse array of establishments ranging from Magnolia Grill to Locopops to the Carrboro Farmers' Market. Even among locals, the western part of the Triangle -- Durham, in particular -- has long been recognized as the Triangle's culinary epicenter. Raleigh, by far the area's largest city, has generally been dismissed as little more than a vast sea of chain restaurants.
Anyone who still thinks that hasn't been to Raleigh lately. They don't know that the city is becoming a vibrant dining scene in its own right, with diverse options ranging from French brasserie to Mexican birrieria. They haven't enjoyed the gastronomic delights of Fins or -- just a few blocks away -- Poole's Downtown Diner.
Come to think of it, Bon Appétit featured Poole's in its September issue. And that brings me back to my original point: It's nice to know that somebody is noticing that the Triangle does, after all, have three sides.