Sunday, December 13, 2009

Four Eleven West

I love Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Not only does it have a nice college-town portion by UNC, but it has many other great restaurants and shops all along it. For a birthday dinner out, we decided to go to Four Eleven West for some good Italian food.

The Crab

The restaurant is nice, but not too nice. Fancy but not too fancy. They have an area for the 9-to-5 work crowd to grab some drinks. The restaurant has many different rooms, making it feel more private and intimate. After taking about 10 minutes to decide between many different dishes, I ended up choosing The Crab. It is a papardelle made from red pepper in a cream sauce made with dill. Mixed in to this is crab meat, mushrooms, scallions, and bacon. Despite the presence of bacon, I did need to add a bit of salt to the dish. But other than that I thought it was pretty good.

Shrimp Carbonara

One great thing about the pasta dishes on the menu is that you can choose between half and full orders. That way you can opt for less food or just order twice as much if you're really hungry or want to save some for later. We also ordered the shrimp carbonara over spaghetti. The sauce was very nice, made with shallots, bacon and peas. A topping of Parmesan cheese finished everything off. We probably could have finished a full order of this pasta quite easily, so it's good we stuck with the half order for our own sake.

Chicken Marsala

Chicken marsala is exceptional when it is done correctly. And Four Eleven definitely did it justice. When making a marsala sauce, the goal is not to make a thin mushroom gravy. Instead, you want to make a wine-based sauce with a sweet flavor and earthy mushrooms. That's exactly what Four Eleven did. The chicken in the sauce was delicious and the pasta was just the icing on the cake.

For me, Franklin Street is pretty much the lifeline of Chapel Hill. I hope it will take me many years to eat at all of the wonderful gems along this street. And the day I do, I want them to plan to extend the road.

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