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Oval Park Grill

Posted by DID 11 Jun 2014 12 Comments

Oval Park Grill has opened in the spot that used to be Broad St. Cafe. The space feels fresh and new with an updated bar, a large outdoor space and a redone kitchen. Two of the three folks behind Oval Park Grill are Vin Rouge’s former bar manager and chef de cuisine.  This along with the thoughtful menu and laid back vibe, gave us high hopes as we grabbed two seats at the bar this past weekend.

Oval Park Grill, open just over a week, knocked it out of the park for us.

We started off with The Ricky Bobby (gin, elderflower liquor, lime, grapefruit bitters and soda water $7) and an Alley Twenty-Six shift drink (Modelo, grapefruit, salt $5) and had a light dinner of grilled kale salad, umami wings and Mexican coctel. Everything was excellent.

It was nice to see a new take on the ubiquitous kale salad. Grilled crisp and tossed with peanuts and pecorino, the kale was topped with six, plump fried oysters (worth noting that they’re using chickpea flour for the gluten-free folks).

The wings are available in spicy, medium or umami. We went with umami. Meaty and tossed in an aptly named rich sauce, they were some of the best wings in the Triangle. The umami sauce tasted kind of like an amped up version of peanut sauce (I would guess it’s a combo of peanut sauce, soy sauce, cumin, garlic, maybe a touch of Siracha and molasses, but I could be totally off).

The Mexico coctel was an upscale version of the shrimp cocktail (coctel de camarones) that can usually be found on the menus of Speedy Gozales joints. It was a mix of octopus, calamari, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeños and onion. It’s served with four packs of saltine crackers.

From the  tongue-in-cheek, oversized menu to the friendly bartender to the excellent grub – we were totally charmed by Oval Park Grill. I look forward to going back, exploring more of the menu and maybe catching a World Cup game or two on one of the large TVs that overlook the bar.

Oval Park Grill
1116 Broad St.


  • AC said:

    Unfortunately we had a very disappointing experience. Food was fine, but the wait for our food was close to an hour and forty minutes. Wait staff was clearly undertrained and less than professional in terms of explaining the wait. Repeatedly told our food would be “right out” until our waiter just began avoiding our table altogether.

    Manager happened to be the one who cleared our plates when we had finally received and finished our food, and when we praised the food but said we wanted to let him know about the wait and our poor service, he was defensive, rude, and honestly condescending–said there is nothing he can do because the restaurant is new, that’s just how things are in the first few weeks, and that we should try opening a restaurant someday and we will understand (!!!) He also proceeded to name area restaurants where he has experienced long waits, as if that justifies their poor service! Unapologetic, did not thank us for our feedback and ask us to return in the future. No problem, we won’t be!

    Food was mediocre at best (though the couple dining next to us had more complaints about their order than we did!) and overpriced for the portions you get. Would have been willing to give the place another chance but after the way the manager handled things, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere and suggesting that all my friends and family do the same.


  • Div said:

    I think they’re still working out the menu, but we had a pretty good experiences with some hits and misses. Cauliflower appetizer was just awful–half a head of soft unseasoned cauliflower swimming in olive oil and tahini with a few capers. A very weird dish. Burger was ok, but not great, especially in a town of great burgers, and the lentil salad was incredible. We’ll be back, but hopefully they’ll continue to tweak the menu.


  • ace parking said:

    ace parking…

    Oval Park Grill | Carpe Durham…

  • Sant said:

    Please make photos of the menus in articles larger. They are useless at their current size.


    kdghty replies on June 19th, 2014 at 10:05 pm:

    they are clickable and enlarge


  • BDDR said:

    Won’t be back due to the rude manager/owner?. Also, because of the sub par food and long wait time.


  • Joseph D. Eater said:

    For the person who wants bigger pictures: click through twice.


  • Kelly said:

    I ate there on Saturday and it was great. I would go again and would recommend this place for foodies ;-)


  • Edith said:

    Overpriced, mediocre food locally sourced, but lots of that hipster attitude. If that’s your thing, go for it.


  • Sue said:

    I ordinarily think you’re spot on with your reviews but I really disagree with you on this one. We had a terrible, overpriced meal at Oval Park Grille. The $14 scallop appetizer was cold, unappealing, and the flavors we’re terrible. The main dishes and sides were bland, dry, and definitely not worth the price. Our waitress was super nice and I like the ambiance but I won’t be going back!


  • ERDavis82 said:

    Even though I had not been planning on trying it, ended up at Oval Park for a friend’s birthday last week. I thought the service was definitely good and for the most part the food was perfectly serviceable.

    Duck liver mousse was a generous portion and tasted appropriate, though I don’t understand why it would be served with soft pretzels and two different types of house-made mustard. Kale salad was interesting and fairly good except for the oysters which were served at the same, not-very-hot temperature as the rest of the salad which was a bit strange.

    I also didn’t understand why they called what is obviously an apple tart a “freeform apple pie” (though it tasted fine).

    Overall I had low expectations for Oval Park and it definitely surpassed those, but I doubt I’ll be back.


  • rats said:

    I think the food is great. Something has been off lately though — wait staff is all new and not great, music is loud, fewer specials, not as many people eating there, bar tender isn’t friendly…

    Hope they fix whatever is going on and get back to what they were.


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