We've eagerly looked forward to Ashley Christensen's (Poole's Downtown Diner) latest venture, and she has not disappointed! This well-lit corner bistro is down-home urban chic with a little nouveau-industrial flare. A long communal table runs through the center of the dining room. The energy is all about getting down to the business of seriously simple, damn good food.
Like it's sister restaurant, Poole's, Beasley's menu is chalked on a blackboard over the bar. Featured cocktails are quirky and well-blended. We tried the Big Bad Old Fashioned, made with bacon washed bourbon, maple syrup, bitters and orange peel. Just the right mix of sweet and bitter. There's an interesting handful of beers and "soda pops," as well as wines. Drinks are served in jars (even the old fashioned, in a little jelly jar), adding to the upscale, no-nonsense, down-South vibe. The quart-jars of black tea passing by were strangely beguiling.
True to its name, Beasley's Chicken + Honey offers one entree -- fried chicken. You can get a quarter chicken, light or dark meat ($7.50), or a chicken biscuit (chicken and waffles are featured late night or brunch). The half-dozen or so sides ($3.50) offered the night we dined included biscuits, macaroni & cheese and Heirloom tomatoes.
The chicken was piping hot, utterly juicy, spicy, crunchy perfection. The drizzle of honey elevated it to Southern-fried nirvana. I am already -- one day later -- craving it again. Biscuits were wedge-shaped, rich and likewise drizzled with honey. The mac & cheese custard was shard cheddar-creamy and spiked with pimentos, and the sliced giant German Johnson tomatoes were flawlessly ripe and dressed with a tangy malt mayo.
Alas, we were to stuffed to try the buttermilk cheesecake with peach jam and rhubarb compote ($5.75) -- something to go back for.
Dinner for two, two drinks each, and tip ran around $60 -- not bad for a downtown night out. My only suggestion for the folks at Beasley's is to put big rolls of paper towels on the tables to clean up your delightfully honey-sticky fingers before heading out!
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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