Mouthful

Poole’s Diner listed as top 38 restaurant by Eater

Raleigh chef and restauranteur Ashley Christensen in a 2011 portrait at Poole’s Downtown Diner in Raleigh; Poole’s made Eater’s list of 38 restaurants for where to dine in 2016.
Raleigh chef and restauranteur Ashley Christensen in a 2011 portrait at Poole’s Downtown Diner in Raleigh; Poole’s made Eater’s list of 38 restaurants for where to dine in 2016. 2011 News & Observer file photo

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.

Poole’s is the flagship restaurant of Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen, who won a James Beard award for best chef in the Southeast in 2014. She owns a handful of other restaurants in downtown Raleigh.

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.”

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