Hoping that his success on the basketball court will translate into a championship in the kitchen, Michael Jordan has opened 23, a restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C., where the NBAs five-time Most Valuable Player spent his college years.
Teaming up with Jordan are director of operations Peter Grills, who has spent more than 15 years in restaurant management, and Patrick Robertson, executive chef of one sixtyblue, a hot new restaurant in Chicago and a winner of Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for its wine list. (Jordan is a silent partner at one sixtyblue, in addition to licensing his name for Michael Jordan's Restaurant in Chicago and Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in New York.)
Robertson was instrumental in the menu planning and kitchen development of 23. Steve Permoll, who worked alongside Robertson at one sixtyblue, is now spending most of his time at 23, working to maintain the style of food from the Chicago restaurant. Also joining Permoll in the kitchen is chef de cuisine Stephanie Valentine-Gross, who has done a stint at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago.
The menu at 23 features appetizers such as white bean soup with ham hocks and greens, and barbecued rabbit with polenta and pickled okra. Entries include chicken pot pie served with sweet corn bread and macadamia-nut-crusted sturgeon with fresh crab. "Some of the things we've been wanting to try were received very well," said Grills. "The rabbit dish is one of the most popular." Appetizers range from $4.50 to $10, while entrees are priced from $14 to $26. Currently, 23 serves only dinner, but Grills hopes to open for lunch starting in December.
The wine list offers about 80 selections, predominantly California wines, with a few selections from around the world. Prices start at $20 and go up to $180 for a non-vintage Krug Champagne Grand Cuvie.
200 West Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516
Telephone: (919) 960-9623
Fax: (919) 960-9023
Open: Dinner, daily
Read restaurant critic John Mariani's review of one sixty-blue: