Faire is a part of the Eschelon Experiences restaurant group that focuses on putting a fresh spin on American “surf and turf” classics with plenty of Southern-influenced options. Their menu expands across the likes of steak frites and shrimp cocktail to modern trout a la plancha and pappardelle with duck confit. The classics offered on the menu will please those who want traditional “surf and turf” offerings, while still keeping foodies intrigued with the little tweaks and additions they’ve included while incorporating many seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.
Here are the dishes I decided to try and my thoughts on each dish:
Calamari ($13) – The calamari was crisp and crunchy with a peppadew sauce that was both tangy and slightly sweet. It was a nice contrast to the hot, fried calamari pieces. There was some sort of napa cabbage slaw at the bottom of the calamari that leaned heavily onto the bitter side, which didn’t really balance well with the calamari and peppadew sauce.
Steak Tartare ($11) – The steak tartare was undoubtedly the dish that surprised me the most. The usual steak tartare mix-ins of egg yolk, lemon, capers and shallots made the tartare classically delicious on its own. However, the house-made mustard added a bright pop of spicy, smoky heat to the dish that took it over the top. They have a heaping serving of this mustard on the plate, but use it sparingly, as it packs quite the punch.
Smoked Trout ($9) – The North Carolina mountain trout is smoked in house and was smoked just enough to evoke the memories of camping out in the woods and cooking freshly caught fish over a campfire. The accompanying pickled veggies and tarragon aioli cut through the slight fattiness of the fish nicely. If you’re not a fan of fish with a heavy “fish” taste, this dish wouldn’t be for you.
Faire Burger ($11) – The Faire Burger is just that, fair. If you’re looking for a plain, classic cheeseburger, look no further. This is your best bet. The burger was lukewarm with smoked Ashe County cheddar, spicy Russian dressing and a generous pile of sea salt fries. The ingredient that impressed me most was actually the light and fluffy poppy seed bun that encompassed the two house ground beef patties. I was informed that they make all their buns in-house, which is pretty impressive, given the expansive offerings of their menu.
My server, Wisam, was a great guide on my dinner journey at Faire. She had excellent knowledge and understanding of the menu, including suggestions of favorite items across the menu as well as wine options. This knowledge expanded over into ensuring that my meal would be allergen free, including ample communication with the back of the house staff. Wisam and the rest of the Faire front of house staff were attentive, but not overbearing, which provided for an enjoyable dining experience.
This is an ideal place to bring a group of people with eclectic tastes, as it would satisfy the plainest Jane, no frills eater while still being interesting enough for a more adventurous foodie.
Address: 2130 Clark Ave, Raleigh, NC 27605
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @