Review of Glass Half Full

Glass Half Full, a relatively new wine bar in Carrboro, N.C., has a lot going for it.

It's got a good-looking bar, a great by-the-glass wine list, a seasonal menu that is often updated, and a strong location. The restaurant/bar fills a niche in the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area it's a modern-looking establishment offering a wide range of wines and small plates. And as such, on any given Friday or Saturday night the place is seems hopping.

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I've eaten at Glass Half Full about six times so far, and each time I've enjoyed myself. But what I have not had, in all honesty, is good food.

Where Glass Half Full fails, is in it's execution and seasonings. The bar is great, the wine list fun, the menu looks strong. But virtually all of the dishes fall flat: some woefully bland, some greatly overly seasoned. The balance present in a really good dish is simply missing, and that's a shame because the restaurant does so much else very well.

More on the positives, first: Glass Half Full offers wine in 3- and 5-ounce pours, by the bottle, and even does retail sales. Prices are moderate. While they're probably going to seem expensive to the area's large and not-flush grad student population, the prices are also not extravagant. The majority of wines run less than $30 per bottle (for in-restaurant consumption; less if it's a retail sale). The most expensive dishes right now are the filet mignon and lamb chops, both at just $14. A range of small plates run the $4 to $8 range.

The atmosphere is modern and fun the bar is casual and draws a wide range of customers. Service is efficient and certainly not stuffy or pretentious. In short, Glass Half Full fills a void in the area, and I would expect it to continue to be successful.

But the food needs work. The food needs re-seasoning.

A seared scallop dish one night looked beautiful, with great color and a generous portion. But it was seriously over-salted, completely masking any other flavor. Zucchini latkes with an over-easy egg we're woefully bland and in need of some of the scallop's salt. A farro salad lacked something acidic in it, and again, needed salt.

The menu previously offered a ham croquette that was perfectly seasoned and delicious - sadly, it has been replaced by a much blander version with chorizo, caramelized onions, and manchego cheese.

Desserts can be hit or miss. The basil ice cream offered during the summer was fresh and fun and perfect. The blueberry semi-freddo was excellent. But the chocolate bread pudding seems too dense and rich, certainly a one-note flavor.

Service at Glass Half Full can be uneven. The waiters, bartenders and kitchen are all fast and accurate. But questions about the food or preparation almost always lead to incomplete answers or a trek to the kitchen for more information. Order the charcuterie plate, and the cured meats are awkwardly left on the table with no explanation as to which is which.

Glass Half Full is still young, opening in the first half of 2007. There is plenty of time to work out the kinks and streamline the seasonings. The restaurant and bar has more than potential: it is already a fun place with a strong atmosphere. But the food the heart and soul of any restaurant does need some work.

 

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 05/13/2019


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