After many visits to the Durham Performing Arts Center, I finally made it to L’Uva Enoteca! Located in the American Tobacco Center next door to DPAC, this place is small but prepared for the show-going crowd. My call in for a reservation elicits a “are you going to a show?” response and I’m hopeful that they’ll be ready to move quickly. But if you’re visiting for the first time, L’Uva can be a bit tricky to find. Head towards the far end of ATC by the ballpark and on the lower floor you’ll find this chic looking restaurant. The front glass facing has opaque paneling hiding the insides and the stylish interior. But the space is long and oddly shaped into an L, the patio is probably a nicer dining spot but not tonight. We start off with the sangria on special which was a decent serving for the price.
Our opening appetizer of bruschetta with eggplant and sofrito was really refreshing! Three large, crunchy toast rounds topped with flavorful sauteed eggplant and tomato. A nice opener but not sure if it was worth the money. My main of braised short-rib over goat cheese grits comes out flanked with some grilled asparagus. I do love short-rib meat, it tends to be sinewy and when slow cooked, imparts such rich beef flavor and texture it’s hard to go wrong. And L’Uva does a decent job here but I found the seasoning a bit simple and the cheese grits didn’t have much flavor. Service at L’Uva started well and was very personable but I think the waiter was a bit in the weeds given the party of eight at the table next to us. By the end of the meal we had to flag him down for the check to make our show time.
L’Uva Enoteca is definitely a decent choice if you need to head over immediately afterwards for a DPAC show. The food is well done, if not super flavorful. The interior and ambiance is mature and stylish but you will pay for it. And I did find out that the owners of L’Uva are the same as Revolution down the street. Not surprisingly, I have the same opinion about both. Nice food but not a great value. Good if you want to show off a bit but overall my thoughts is that you can find more exciting options at lower price-points. In all honesty, I’d probably prefer to eat at Toast even if it’s a far more humble restaurant. Not to say that L’Uva is bad at all, it’s actually decent. If you are eating around DPAC before a show there aren’t a thousand options and L’Uva Enoteca is definitely a serviceable choice if not the most scintillating.
406 Blackwell Street, Suite 406
Durham, NC 27701