I was in the Durham area this weekend and mosied into The Federal solely based on the Yelp attention this joint has received. The reviews were dead on – delicious, beautiful food disguised within a dark, vintage dive bar. In retrospect, neither I nor my lunch mate had any complaints about our lunch – everything was perfect. As directed, we started lunch with an order of “Fed fries” – cut potatoes tossed in an oil/garlic/parsley mixture – good balance, the herbs were not overpowering and we easily polished off the entire basket.
My lunch mate and I split the chicken sandwich & grilled cheese sandwich. The chicken was so tasty! – The Federal can really work with herbs. They don’t monopolize the entree, but subtly highlight flavors in the food. I didn’t ask for any accessory sauce – which is usually the cause w/chicken, so truly tasty marinade. The grilled cheese was introduced as the menu favorite by the waitress – if I was still vegetarian I would have been turning cartwheels, but the chicken sandwich was undeniably superior. Both sandwiches were grilled like paninis (my fav) and were generously garnished with tomatoes, avocado and spring greens. The side mixed green salad was selected as our sides, since we carbed up earlier. Beautiful greens – there’s always something elegant about mixed baby greens with balsamic dressing – a bit out of place considering The Fed’s motif, but delicious none the less.
The Fed featured several beers on its chalkboard, and by the traffic in&out to its barstools — its a decent little bar for a drink(s).
Overall: Raleigh > Durham… but The Federal definitely has it going on… stop in.