As part of our day in Durham that Crystal mentioned on Sunday, we made reservations at one of Durham’s gems, Vin Rouge French Bistro. I have heard amazing things so when Crystal mentioned it as one of our options, I jumped on it. I’ve been to some great, unique restaurants in Durham and that’s what I usually look for when choosing a place for dinner. Since we don’t get out there as often as I’d like, and don’t usually go to fancy dinners on the regular, I always try to pick the places that I believe it’s safe to say I won’t leave disappointed. Vin Rouge was definitely one of those places.
Vin Rouge is located just off Ninth Street in Downtown Durham, a cool stretch of road with really unique shops, including one of my favorite book stores, The Regulator Bookshop. When we first got there, we noticed a really nice covered patio out front and agreed we wanted to take advantage of the cooler August weather and sit outside. Even though cars park right in front of the patio, there were flower boxes filled with blooms that blocked our view and made the space feel super cozy.
Immediately after being seated, our water glasses were filled and we were given bread and olive oil to munch on. Our waitress came over shortly after to greet us and take our drink order. She explained some delicious appetizer specials and we decided on the sweet breads special.
From the way the waitress described it, it sounded pretty tasty but, admittedly, I wasn’t paying super close attention. When the plate came, we knew we hadn’t ordered what we thought we had and after some Googling, we were right. I’m not one to be super adventurous when it comes to food but I was up for it. I didn’t tell Crystal what it was until she was finished. For those of you who don’t know, which I assume are most people, sweet breads are just a much more pleasant term for pancreas. We both agreed it was good but probably wouldn’t order it again.
For dinner, I actually decided on one of the other appetizer specials, braised beef short rib bourguignon with potato gnocci, as the waitress said it was a pretty generous appetizer size. I decided to order a side of haricot vert also. Crystal decided upon the dinner special of sauteed flounder with lobster, NC chanterelle mushrooms, capers, and leek fondue. We were both very happy with our dishes. The beef had an amazing flavor and was super tender. The gnocci was a great addition and gave the dish more depth and texture overall. Although I’m not sure I’d order the haricot vert again. It was a pretty basic side.
The flounder was simply amazing. Although, one thing to make sure you do before ordering the special is ask the price! This one was a little pricy compared to the rest of their entrees which was a bit of a surprise when the bill came.
For dessert, I ordered the crème brûlée and Crystal ordered the apple bread pudding with white chocolate sauce. As far as crème brûlées go, this was pretty spot on. Even though they’re a pretty basic dish, it’s one of my favorites and it didn’t disappoint. The bread pudding was phenomenal.
Since we sat outside, we didn’t get to experience the really cozy atmosphere inside the restaurant. Just walking through gave you a different feel. My first thought after seeing the low lighting and intimate table settings was that Jason and I would be back for date night sometime soon. All-in-all we were very pleased with our experience and would return for more delicious French food!