Restaurant Spotlight: Fairview Dining Room

A history-steeped setting for fine Californian and French wines

Restaurant Spotlight: Fairview Dining Room
Fairview Dining Room's traditional elegance reflects its storied past. (Courtesy of Fairview Dining Room)
Mar 12, 2020

The Fairview Dining Room’s story is inextricably linked to Duke University, and both institutions look to impress in Durham, N.C. The restaurant is set inside Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, a resort opened in 1988 and named for Washington Duke, an American Civil War soldier whose son went on to name the university after his father. Backed by a 2,800-bottle inventory, the wine list has held a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2000. The 300-label list is overseen by wine director Taylor Weber, and shows a sturdy range of bottles under $100, and a varied selection of by-the-glass options largely from California and France.

The restaurant’s bottle selection includes noted Champagne options, with accessibly priced bottles in addition to aged trophies like Bollinger. The list’s white wines lean toward top Chardonnays, with emphasis on Napa and Sonoma, followed by several white Burgundy options. But reds lead the way here, with Pinot Noirs from California and Oregon, including values like Stoller's Pinot Noir Dundee Hills. The considerable list of Cabernet Sauvignons carries noteworthy producers and vintages from Napa, as well as offerings from Argentina and local North Carolina wineries. Chef Jason Cunningham offers complementary dishes, with a menu the restaurant describes as “regional neo-American.” Complex American and steak-house dishes are supported by international options, including a beef and sweet potato empanada and a Korean spiced black grouper. A three-course prix-fixe menu is also offered for weekend brunches, striking a balance between regional classics like shrimp and grits and more modern takes, like cornflake French toast.

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