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Washington Duke Inn’s Fairview Room, Durham NC

5 out of 5 stars

There are many places that I enjoy going to, each one for a different sort of mood. But when I need a meal that will be relaxing and luxurious, the Fairview Room is my choice.

I don’t want to burden you with this, but, I haven’t had the chance to go to as many luxurious meals as I used to. You see, I’m a parent. Of a three-year-old. So generally my dining establishments are limited to those that list chicken nuggets or quesadillas on the menu.

When you have to pay a babysitter by the hour to go out on a nice date, you’ll normally opt for a places that are pretty close. But I keep end up going over to Fairview Room in Durham, although I live in North Raleigh. It started with a few press lunches to unveil new seasonal menus, which are always an exciting experience. We even ended up hosting our company’s holiday party at the Washington Duke.

Dessert Sampler, Fall 2012 from Press Lunch at Fairview Room, Durham

I’m a fan of variety. A little savory, a little sweet, a little of everything. That’s why when I’ve come, I think I’ve been the happiest with the tasting menu or fixed price menus. Sample a little of everything and indulge in tastes of more than one dessert. Because my valhalla is where I have one meal per day that features two desserts. (I covered the Spring 2012 menu here.)

On our last visit, hubby ordered the Pan Roasted Duck Breast and I ordered the Seared Salmon. We also each enjoyed the fall salad which was an option with the three-course happy hour menu. As always, our meats were perfectly and tenderly cooked. My salmon came with a oyster leek bread pudding and asparagus.

Salmon with Oyster Leek pudding

Hub’s duck came with turnip puree and rillette confit. As far as I can tell, rillette confit is a combination of duck meat and fat that has a fairly rich taste. Honestly, though, I have no idea what the majority of this is: “Pan Roasted Duck Breast and Rillette Confit, crisp mire poix, turnip purée, black garlic sauce bigarrade.” Turns out it doesn’t matter because we ate every bite.


If two desserts are good, three are better. I dutifully ordered the cronut which everyone has been raving about.

Hello mega-indulgent dessert platter.
Cronut, Lava Cake, and Baked Alaska
My all-time favorite dessert, the molten lava cake, accompanied by marshmallow ice cream. A cranberry baked alaska with orange merengue. Last but not least, the much hyped (by my fellow food bloggers) cronut with root beer ice cream and poached cherries. Surprisingly, I liked the cronut the least (although I loved the root beer and cherries that came with it). My reasoning is that deep fried doughy things all end up having a similar taste. Still, I’m a sucker for trying food trends. Deep-frying a croissant is just something that must be done, for science.

I had never had a baked alaska before and I loved the way that each flavor worked together so well. And how the meringue contrasted in texture and taste with the cranberry ice cream inside. It reminded me of the meringue on my mama’s lemon meringue pie. Coincidence that the cross-section is heart-shaped? Nah.

Baked Alaska Cross-Section

You might heart Fairview as much as I do, so come visit and see for yourself.

In addition to brunch or afternoon tea, you may be interested in checking out the Thanksgiving Buffet.  Or Cookies with Santa on Dec 8th.

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Note: For the record, I’ve been to the Fairview for complimentary meals as well as for meals I’ve paid for. Not every meal I’ve had has been perfect, but when they weren’t, they were quickly rectified. Andrea Weigl writes about the current fall menu here. Foodalicious Follies seemed to enjoy it as well.

The Fairview Room
3001 Cameron Boulevard
Durham, NC 27705

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