I finally got a chance to try the legendary Angus Barn. I’ve driven past the restaurant many times since we moved to North Carolina, and learned quickly from the locals that despite its appearance, this was the fancy place to eat in Raleigh.
The parking situation was decent if you park in the lot to the right as you drive in. Valet parking in a private lot seems unnecessary. The exterior looks much like a Cracker Barrel type of restaurant. The interior, at least the main floor, reminded me of an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Wisconsin Dells called Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty, with its checkered tablecloths, oil lamps and old farm equipment hanging from the walls.
We had made a reservation for 3, though I don’t know if it was required. I noticed the main room was very crowded, noisy and busy for a Sunday at 5:30pm. We were seated in the far back left corner of the main floor, and it was very cold and dark back there. My son kept his coat on for the entire meal. The corner we were seated in was fairly quiet, but the tables were still stacked pretty close together. The lighting was also extremely dark, and my photos all turned pretty terribly. They did seem very accepting of children, giving him a balloon, coloring book and crayons.
The tables have baskets of crackers and small pots of spreadable cheese, and a plate of various pickled items. They also brought out buttered, toasted bread later during the meal. The snacks were nice, but I suppose you could easily fill up before your entree even comes.
Since I really wanted the Angus Barn experience, I ordered their signature dish: the Chateaubriand. It’s a 14oz. tenderloin that comes with roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed vegetables, bearnaise sauce and red wine jus. It was $43, the most expensive steak on the menu, but I figured I would go for the best. I ordered the french onion soup with that, and some thin cut french fries. My husband ordered the 10 oz. filet mignon with the Caesar salad and the thick cut french fries. The children’s meals were all $11 each, and they come with applesauce or salad, a beverage, and ice cream for dessert. My son ordered the cheese ravioli with fries.
The appetizers were really good. I loved my french onion soup, but I was getting pretty full by the time I finished it. My husband’s Caesar salad was fantastic as well. He said it much better than most he’s had elsewhere, and he’s eaten a lot of different Caesar salads.
The entrees were brought out on large, flat iron skillets. For the price, the presentation looked pretty poor. I suppose they hope with low lighting most people won’t notice, but the plates were put together in a sloppy manner I’d expect from a cheap diner. The ravioli was just a simple white bowl that looked like sauce, and some fries on the side. My steak was arranged somewhat nicely, but the veggies were just in a giant pile. What they called “fingerling potatoes” were just some burnt, soggy, steak fries tossed in with the rest of the veggies. My husband’s entree wasn’t nearly such a mess. His steak looked pretty decent, and his thick cut fries were piled up high.
My husband was really happy with his entree. He ordered his filet mignon medium-rare, and he said it was cooked perfectly. He managed to eat all his fries as well. But the stuffed tomato-type object on the skillet didn’t get eaten. He tried it, didn’t like it. I tried it, I thought it was pretty bland and gross as well. Maybe it was supposed to be for decoration, but it wasn’t worth eating.
My son, unfortunately, didn’t eat most of his meal. That’s pretty typical for him, though normally I wouldn’t be paying $11 for a kid’s meal. He wouldn’t touch the ravioli, and just ate a few fries. He did like making the ice cream quite a bit though. They took him to the ice cream bar so he could decorate it himself. I ended up eating the ravioli during the week for lunch, and it wasn’t bad. Seemed like a large portion for kids though.
I wish my entree would have turned out as well as my husband’s, especially considering it was their signature entree. I ordered mine medium-rare as well, but mine was quite well done on the ends, and barely medium in the middle. The bearnaise sauce was phenomenal. I love getting bearnaise sauce with my steaks, it always tastes so much better than regular steak sauce. I didn’t like the red wine jus as much, but it would have been decent enough if I didn’t have the bearnaise. I ordered the Bianchi Cabernet Sauvingnon at the server’s recommendation, and I thought it went really well with the steak. They do have a very impressive wine list. As I mentioned before, the “fingerling” potatoes were a disappointment, so I only tried one of them. The other veggies were very good, but there were really a whole lot more than needed to be included. I didn’t really care much for the peas. The fries were tasty, but with so much food already, nearly all of them came home in a doggy bag.
We didn’t have any room for dessert, though I hear they’re very good. Frankly, by the end, I was a bit disappointed anyway. For the amount of money spent, and the hype of the restaurant, I was expecting perfection, start to finish. But the poor presentation and inconsistency in the food quality isn’t appropriate when you’re spending $43 on an entree. I also prefer the spacious, beautiful interior of a restaurant like ãn over Paul Bunyan’s kitchen. My husband really loved his dinner, so I’m sorry to say I probably won’t be putting this high on my list to visit again.