Sunday, April 8, 2012

Location Review - Pop's

Location: Pop's (603 W. Main Street, Durham NC)

Overall Rating: 4
Food: 5
Drinks: (didn't try any)
Service: 3
Atmosphere: 4
Recommended for: First dates, second dates, casual dinners with significant others, meals out with friends and family.

For a second date, I recently went to Pop’s for a Sunday night dinner (6:30pm). I was excited to go because, I am ashamed to admit, I hadn’t been since they moved locations two years ago. Parking was easy (my date scored us a spot without having to circle), and the location definitely has curb appeal.

Inside, the hostess asked us if we’d like to sit in the dining area or at one of the high tops in the bar section. My date deferred to me, and I chose the high top because it was next to the window and had a pleasant view.

My entrĂ©e choice was the gnocchi with duck meatballs, and it was fantastic. The gnocchi was good, but what really delighted my tongue were the meatballs. Not always a huge fan of duck, I was very happy to discover this was delicious. (My date went with the salmon, but we weren’t at that “level” where I was going to ask to try his food, though the thought briefly crossed my mind. He seemed to love it, and didn’t leave a bit on his plate, so I’m going to assume it was equally as good as the gnocchi and duck meatballs.)

Being a Sunday night and having gone out with friends the night before, I opted to pass on having wine with dinner, so unfortunately I don’t have anything to say in that department. Perhaps a future date (sadly, with someone else – we lacked a “spark,” which I use as code for “anything to talk about”) will afford me this opportunity?

The atmosphere was pleasant, though not particularly romantic, which was fine by me as it was only a second date. The walls were painted red, which seems a bit obvious for an Italian restaurant, but it did look nice. Because it was earlier in the evening, it was very light out, so that may have contributed to the casual feel. I think it might have felt a tad more intimate if I had chosen a table in the main dining area rather than the bar. The bar was great in that it had a lovely view and there was a TV so I could glimpse college basketball highlights between the long and boring pauses in conversation as we focused on eating rather than talking. The huge drawback of sitting at the bar is that it’s right next to the open kitchen, so there is a TON of noise. I sometimes have random hearing trouble, so when that was combined with a soft-spoken waiter, it made things a little difficult. Plus, it’s hard enough talking on an awkward second date, so it would have been nice to be somewhere a little quieter. Oh well, you live and learn, and I take full responsibility for our seating choice.

It was a great meal, a good location, and has good date seating options, even though we didn’t take advantage of them. I would give this date location four out of five stars.

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