My visit to Oryx was a strange experience. Oryx has a cool, contemporary atmosphere that fits in well with its Glenwood South location. The service was good. The menu was interesting and the food looked good. But, I found the cocktails and food so quirky that I’d suggest that the chef do some tweaking to the menu.
I ordered the Scimitar Nectar, which the menu said was a blend of rum, bitters, lemon juice, and pear nectar. The menu did not disclose that it was “garnished” with bacon, and the bartender did not bring that fact to my attention. Now, I’m not very observant, but I do keep my drinks vegan and kosher. I was stunned when I saw the bartender adding a slice of bacon to my drink. The bacon did not impart any flavor to the drink, but it was disconcerting to see the level of my drink go down to reveal bacon in my glass.
While I was waiting for my dinner, a server brought me a plate of flat bread. The bread was warm and fresh and compared favorably to Neomonde or Sitti.
I ordered two appetizers: shrimp on spinach and scallops on lentils. All of the ingredients were fresh and properly cooked. The shrimp came with a drizzled sauce that had an intense smoky flavor and aroma that overpowered the rest of the dish. The sauce also did not blend well with the spinach.
The scallops were also fresh, seared just the right amount, and well-seasoned. The lentils, however, were bland to the point that they did not even taste like lentils.
Of the surface, everything about Oryx looks good. The staff was clearly well-trained. On paper, the menu is original but not avant-garde and should appeal to the general Raleigh public. But, the actual experience left me perplexed in a way that few restaurants ever have. With all of the positives that Oryx has going for it, I hope that some changes in the bar and kitchen will make Oryx a restaurant worth returning to.