This past Saturday G and I went to a concert at UNC and we walked on Franklin before hand trying to decide where to eat. We settled on Elaine’s on Franklin and walked in around 6:15pm. The place was packed! Of course we didn’t have a reservation but we were lucky enough to find a spot at the bar. The space is smaller space with dark blue accent walls and a beautiful tin ceiling. It is a open floor plan with many tables in the small space so it was a bit noisy. But, the bar is a buffered a bit by glass partitions so it isn’t quite as loud.
The menu focuses on local ingredients and changes regularly. We didn’t want a big meal so we decided to share an appetizer, an entrée and dessert. From what we noticed going by the portions were a good size. We started with the fresh fried Mediterranean anchovies which were served with a lemon-garlic-bay leaf aioli. They were very lovely! The slightly salty fish had a nice crisp coating which was accented by the creamy aioli. For our entrée we finally (after much debate) settled on the Painted Hills beef shortribs which were served on buttermilk mashed redskin potatoes with brown butter brussel sprouts and gremolata. The short ribs were braised in a simple wine sauce and were fork tender. The mashed potatoes had a nice creamy rich texture with just the right amount of potato chunks. Overall, the dish was delicious and very well prepared but nothing wowed me. Finally, for dessert we had Lola’s ‘impossible cake’. It was a unique dessert with almond cake, flan and dulce de leche together in one cake. It was very sweet and also very dense. I didn’t love it but G managed to finish it off.
Overall, Elaine’s on Franklin is a lovely space with well prepared dishes and a nice menu. It is pricey so I would consider it a special occasion type of place for a full meal. But, it is perfect for bar dining and I am sure we will be back for another light meal at the bar.
Elaine’s On Franklin
454 West Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516