The Out & About team made the trek to Durham last week to see what The District at 410 is all about. The small, friendly restaurant is run by students attending the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham. The school must be churning out talented chefs by the dozen, because we all felt the trip was well worth it.
The Location: The restaurant is in the heart of historic downtown Durham near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Tucked away in a cozy corner near the river, The District offers a relaxing view of three waterfalls. Inside, the restaurant's small dining area is intimate but friendly, and the modern, minimalist decor focuses all the attention on the food.
The Food: Even though the menu is small compared to many restaurants, most of the classic dishes have a wide appeal, such as meatloaf, burgers, sandwiches and salads.
The Meal: While most of us ordered a side of macaroni and cheese (we couldn't resist), we tried out a variety of dishes.
Caitlin: Although this wasn't the healthiest meal choice, I have no regrets. I ordered a cup of the soup du jour, loaded baked potato, and a side of the macaroni and cheese. The soup was phenomenal: super creamy with just the right amount of cheese, chives, bacon and sour cream on top. Everything blended together perfectly into a fluffy, smooth, delicious cup of heaven. The macaroni and cheese was good too, but was a bit too peppery for me. The cheese to macaroni ratio was spot on though.
As a notorious sweet tooth, I thought dessert was also fantastic. The brownie wasn't too dense or heavy, and the sauce drizzled over it infused the perfect amount of sweetness. The molasses ice cream it was served with, which tasted like maple, was refreshing and paired well with the chocolate treat.
Lisa: The house chips were some of the best I’ve ever tried. Incredibly thin and light, but crisp. The pear and gorgonzola salad was fresh and used a nice mix of greens. Service was professional and attentive and everything was plated beautifully. A+ for these culinary students!
Jodi: I had the soup – baked potato and among the best I've ever tasted. That alone would have been enough for a meal.
Although my compatriots like to complicate things and order their tea half and half, I found the sweet tea just right.
My burger – a feature with a fried green tomato and pimento cheese – was juicy and flavorful. It was clearly more than ground beef. The menu promised a combination of pork and beef and that is what put it over the top.
Service was a bit slow for a business lunch, but attentive and knowledgeable.
The Service: It took a fair amount of time for us to get our food, but our waitress was very friendly and attentive. One of the head chefs from the kitchen came out and asked if we were enjoying our food, and when we were finished, our plates were quickly whisked away.
The Bill: Most of the entrees were $8-$10, a very reasonable price.
The Verdict: Next time we're out and about in Durham, we would definitely try some of The District at 410's other options.