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‘Sinful Delights’ at Scarecrow; ‘Bowlfuls of Intensity’ at 2Nixons

What the critics are saying his week

2Nixons
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

If you take one thing away from the City Paper review of Scarecrow, it’s this — choose wisely and be sure to order the calamari. There’s an entire paragraph from critic Vanessa Wolf dedicated to it:

Bits of beautifully charred octopus and calamari are tossed with ground, spicy chorizo sausage and plump, rehydrated raisins. The addition of a vinegar-coated frisée brings acid and balance to the rich melange of meats, while a decidedly flavorful and satisfying crunch comes from a handful of (be still my heart) chicharones. Unique and delightful, it's one of the clearest examples of the ways in which Scarecrow's wood-fired, open-flamed schtick really works.

Wolf lets readers know the space is dark and loud (subtext: diners over 65, stay away). Here’s what she recommends once you get:

  • “... the cured meat board ($11) showcases a level of skill worthy of pause.”
  • “Rounding out the consistently satisfying starter options was the pork belly ($9).”
  • “... the dry-aged duck breast ($29) is expertly prepared, the crispy skin a revelation.”
  • “Vegetarians would do well to try the charred cauliflower ($9) ...”
  • And the king mackerel is “a lovely, luxuriant dish worthy of a cult following.”

Critic Hanna Raskin tracks down ramen pop-up 2Nixons for her review. She spends much of the article explaining chef Jeffrey Stoneberger — his background, his tattoos, his marital status, his inflammatory bowel disease, and his thoughts on umami. She explains his food here:

Flavors upon flavors upon flavors. It’s somewhat misleading to refer to Stoneberger’s output as ramen: Even he admits he latched onto the noun as a way of making pretentious-seeming Euro food more palatable to the masses. There are alkaline noodles, miso and chopsticks, but that’s all window-dressing for bowlfuls of intensity.

And once Raskin gets around to trying a bowl, she compares the flavor to a bag of Doritos — which could be good or bad, depending on your feelings on the snack food.

Smoked Fish and Cured Meats Are Scarecrow's Stock-In-Trade [CP]
For Stoneberger's 2Nixons, the Food Is All About Maxing Out Umami [P&C]