Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where Yancy's used to be

Back in the Olden Days before GPS, before cell phones, before AAA, we got free maps from the gas station. Sometimes the Texaco man really did wave when we left, just like in the old TV commercials.

Those good old free maps would get us to the main intersection of the city we wanted, and then we would have to follow verbal directions from the person we were going to visit. Those directions rarely got us there, and we would stop and ask somebody. The new directions would often say something like, "Turn left at the corner, and keep going until you pass where the Howard Johnson's used to be, and turn can't miss it." The "where something used to be" only works for the locals, and I find myself giving that kind of direction too. In Raleigh, it's "where the Farmer's Market used to be." It moved to the new location in 1991. And "you can't miss it" is a guarantee that you will.

All of which brings me to our Valentine's date at The Prime Smokehouse, on Rock Quarry Road, where Yancy's used to be. That would be after Yancy's had a place downtown on Fayetteville Street, where Hudson-Belk used to be. And after Yancy's was known as Yancey's (notice the extra "e") and was in the Raleigh City Market. A lot of us have been following Yancey around Raleigh, when he did most of the cooking and we could hear live jazz on weekend nights, and Sunday afternoon for brunch. There are so few places in Raleigh where grown folks can go for an evening of dinner, dancing and Jazz, R&B. I liked Yancy's because he fit the requirements. After he ran into management issues and struck out three times, it was time for something new.

Last night's Jazz concert at The Prime Smokehouse featured "The Love Dr." Lovett & Gina Revae. The music and singers were great. "The Love Doctor" had a range from a deep Barry White bass to the highest tenor notes of Luther Vandross. And Ms Gina Revae set the mood for the evening and beyond. Tickets for the concert were sold in advance online, $25 for single, $40 for a couple. There was a choice of two shows, 6:30 and 8:30. I don't remember ever paying a cover charge at Yancy's...could be the source of his management problems. Some people used to sit all evening with a coke and listen to the jazz for free.

We were seated promptly at 6:30. The jazz combo was in place, and the singers did their mike-check. The special Valentine menu ($35 for three courses) had been posted online, a choice of red or white wine, a choice from 4 appetizers, main course was a choice of salmon, 2-meat chicken and ribs, or a pasta dish, with 2 vegetables from a list. And we had a choice of three desserts. Our server took our order and brought our wine before 7 PM. We had ordered the crabcake appetizer which didn't show up until 7:30. The crabcake was very good, all lumpmeat with no filler, just enough bread crumbs on each side to grill it.

Like I said, the music was very good, and people all around us were eating their main course. Our main course plates arrived around 8 PM. I had the salmon which was fresh and cooked the way I like it, not over-cooked.

Hubby had ribs and chicken, which he said was OK but not very well seasoned. I tasted his, and the chicken and ribs were over-cooked, like the roasted chickens you can buy at the grocery store and have reached their expiration date. I ate all of my salmon, he had enough leftover for lunch today.

By the time dessert came, the concert was over and the musicians had gone on a break. People around us were paying their bills, some others had not yet receive their main course. Hubby and I could not understand the delay since there were so few choices on the menu. When we waited another 10 minutes for our check, and had to chase down our server to pay, we concluded it was very likely the server's inability to handle five tables.

We'll probably return to The Prime Smokehouse for the music, but we'll eat dinner before we go.

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