I'm pretty sure my grandmother would have no use for a computer at the dinner table. But if a recent lunch at One offered an accurate sample, she'd be the only grandma without one.
The second venture of Four Square chef/ owner Shane Ingram, the Meadowmont restaurant offers customers iPads on which to view its wine list of about 160 well-priced bottles. The list includes a brief description of each offering. My waiter asked if I'd had time to check my e-mail or Facebook, before leaving me with a more traditional paper menu to select my meal.
The setting for Ingram's new place, which opened in July, is a stark departure from the chef's beloved, and award-winning, Four Square in Durham, which offers upscale New World- and Southern-inspired cuisine in the traditional comfort of a restored Victorian mansion. One, meanwhile, aims to create a modern spectacle at almost every turn.
Bottles of wine gleam from a fluorescent-backlit case near the restaurant's front entrance. Cooks chop and dice under customers' gazes with One's integrated open kitchen and dining room plan (people in a separate room at the bar can catch the show on in-house televisions). And foods are presented on playful white plates.
On the menu itself, a few flashy words appear. Take "croutons" (quotation marks belong to One), for instance, which refers to cubed cuts of pork belly and rock shrimp —part of an appetizer that is served over marinated eggplant and braised cannellini beans ($13), or elixir, which describes a small glass of steamed milk and roasted peanut powder that is paired with a milk chocolate caramel tart ($9).
Between the mentioned starter and dessert, the menu moves from Napa cabbage rolls ($10) and steamed mussels frites ($11) to eggplant lasagna ($14), stewed tomato farro linguini with braised duck ($17), a handful of pizzas ($14) and larger plates like braised beef short rib ($22) and herb-rubbed red snapper ($24). All of the dishes are prepared with Ingram's trademark flair and attention to detail, and the pair of pizza offerings is superb. The crust, prepared in One's brick oven, is thin and crisp. The toppings, like an Italian sausage and basil pizza with tomatoes, roasted garlic marinara and mozzarella, are simple and delicious, making for an unexpected place to grab a solid slice of pizza.