Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunday Brunch at Mandolin

Mandolin Restaurant at Night (Photo from their website.)
When we first moved to Raleigh in the early 70s, one of the neighborhood gems was Johnson's Pharmacy and Soda Fountain at the corner of Fairview and Oberlin.  They made the best milk shakes, and it was only a block and a half from our house.  It was delightful to walk up and have an old-fashioned milkshake, or the boys could stop by as they walked home from nearby school at Sherwood-Bates or Daniels Junior High for a milkshake or a snack.
Front of Mandolin on a pretty Sunday morning.
Sidewalk dining is possible.

It's been a while now since Johnson's Pharmacy closed its doors, and since then there has been a succession of restaurants in that space.  One after another the restaurants would close, but finally the neighborhood has another gem in that location.  About three years ago, Sean Fowler, a Raleigh native, returned home to open his first restaurant.  We had heard rave reviews about the restaurant from friends and neighbors and even though it is a short walk from our house, we hadn't been there until this past Sunday when we made a reservation for brunch.

Dan is having a hard time deciding what to order.  It all looks so promising.

I don't think we will hear about a closing of this restaurant any time soon.  It is a winner!
Fresh squeezed OJ.

Dan and I both had a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and after placing our orders for brunch, the waiter served possibly the best homemade biscuit I have ever eaten.
Fresh baked biscuit with honey butter.
Buttered and ready to eat.

 Soon our omelets of locally produced eggs, local kale, and shitake mushrooms with a side of home fries arrived.  Dan ordered a side of two poached eggs that were done to perfection.  The omelets were very, very good, but next time I shall order the poached eggs, they were even better.
Omelet of farm fresh eggs and local veggies.
Poached eggs cooked to perfection.

That finished, I asked for the dessert menu.  No desserts for brunch, so I decided another of those delicious biscuits, with butter and jam would serve quite well as a dessert.  The waiter apologized for being out of the jam.  So I ordered a biscuit to take home, where there was jam.  He brought us two in a take home box.  Dan and I had the dessert of biscuits and jam when we got home.

I can't wait to have lunch and dinner there.  The service was excellent and the prices reasonable.  My only complaint is that it is a bit noisy, but that makes for a festive atmosphere for all except the auditory challenged---oh, and they had run out of jam.  

I should mention that the decor is light and airy, and in one review I read, someone called it "contemporary farmhouse"---the walls are a pretty pewter grey with one wall draped with white linen.  There are panels of pine, the floors are the original brick floors, and the tin ceiling is the original ceiling dating back to the early 1900s.  That with the white leather chairs makes for an inviting interior design.
White linen covers the wall in the background.
Pine panel at entrance way with white snapdragons.

Mandolin uses mainly seasonal foods from local farmers.  There's no substitute for farm fresh eggs and fresh vegetables and fruits raised locally and that helps sustain the local economy.

Although I still miss Johnson's Pharmacy, I'll happily settle for this new gem at the corner of Fairview and Oberlin.  Welcome home Sean Fowler and long live the  Mandolin.

Mandolin on Urbanspoon

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