I know you’re enjoying my play by play alone in Cabo, but I thought I’d break and head back to real life, aka the first date night, hell the first time I’d seen the Chap in weeks! The Chap and I found ourselves a bit peckish after completing a rigorous succulent arranging class at Ramble supply company, as most young couples on a Friday night. We debated the bevy of restaurant cropping up in the downtown Raleigh food scene, but decided to head to a new favorite, Ashley Christensen’s ‘Death and Taxes.’
This would be our second dinner visit to the restaurant that opened in September. Last go, we tried the dry-aged steak, which at $2.50 per ounce sounds more than reasonable. That is, until you learn that the only cut of steak they offer is 48 ounces. You do the math. It’s certainly a pricey dinner, but the leftovers made another meal. It’s more the fact that you have a caveman sized slab of meat in front you that you feel pressured to make progress. It’s a sickening feeling afterward, but it certainly delicous…at least for awhile.
Not overly hungry, we debated ordering just starters to share or half of the roast chicken, you know, something nice and light, not a mess of meat. A friend had recently raved about the grilled octopus ($17), one of my favorites, so of course we had to start there. The charred peppers added nice flavor and the butter bean bed became saucy with the heat of the seafood and vegetables adding a nice creaminess to the dish. Our whole meal was paired with a beautiful Sancerre reasonably priced at $48 a bottle. Actually, we loved the wine so much that we ordered a second bottle just to take home.
A bright fall dish that should remain on the menu year round.
For our second course, we shared the marrow bones ($14). On our previous visit we had ordered this and fell in love so it had to be devoured again. I think I’m a fairly adventurous eater, but bone marrow is not something I’d normally order. Previously I’d only seen it on the menus of a few stuffy French restaurants – dainty little bones, served with a long spoon. Who knows what you were getting poking into the secret tunnel of the inside of an animal. No thank you. At Death and Taxes, the bones are cut in half and fire-roasted then topped with charred capers and thinly sliced red onion. The flavor is truly umami, pure indulgence. This is a must try for any first timer to Death and Taxes.
Now that we were pleasantly satiated, please keep in mind that we really weren’t hungry, it was time to taste the half chicken that we were sharing. It was served with roasted carrots over a mint pea puree. While the chicken was delicious, perfectly cooked, and perfectly sized to share, I’d recommend just heading to Death and Taxes really hungry and ordering the caveman steak.
For our side, we tried what was sold to us as a creamy risotto peppered with short rib bits. How great does that sound? I’m not sure how things got so lost in translation, but we ended up with a sunflower seed “porridge” that was topped with portobellos. I’m allergic to mushrooms and the porridge was bland and crunchy, really awful. We mentioned the snafu and the plate was quickly taken away and credited to our growing bill.
The starch that we should have stuck with from our last visit was the Aligot potatoes ($10). Creamy, cheesy, the kind of food that you could have enough of. Order this to accompany anything on the Death and Taxes menu. The Chap doesn’t understand my constant need for potatoes (I’m from the Midwest), but he certainly understood these. We competed to see who could scrape the last bits from the cast iron cauldron on repeat. (It was a draw).
Since no good bout of gluttony ends unpunished, we also tried dessert. Just a light little Videri dark chocolate and hazelnut dacquoise with praline ($11). Wow. Again, I split this delight with the Chap, but let’s not lie, I really could have handled the whole thing myself. Who needs pants to fit, anyway?
In short, I’m lackluster about so many Raleigh restaurants. Death and Taxes really does shine, visit after visit. I would recommend this as an immediate date night. Sit at the bar and enjoy the show of the open kitchen. Then, bring back your out of town guests.
Death and Taxes
105 W. Hargett Street