Durham >Bali Hai
Pile your dish high or go home hungry..
If it's your first time here, you'll get the spiel as soon as you walk in: You build your own entree. Foodies can find entertainment where a clutch of chefs saute nonstop behind a low wall. Spacious, stylish and simple, the restaurant courts romantic duos and large groups. All seem delighted by the novelty of do-it-yourself dining. Pay for one plate, then pile it as high as you can at the buffet line.
Beware the to-go box penalty. I've been going to Bali Hai since the day they opened and I've always found the food to be very fresh and flavorful. On my last visit I ordered 2 bowls and had some food leftover (like I always do), so I asked the waiter for a to-go box and the sullen owner/chef denied this request. I was a little upset as I've been taking home my leftovers from Bali Hai for years. I understand that it's the owner's prerogative and that some people do go crazy and overload their bowls (with dirt cheap ingredients mind you), but I don't think that he realizes that there is more profit in 2 bowls and that folks are going to wise up and start buying only 1 bowl if they can't take their leftovers home with them. That's what I'll do next time...if there is a next time.
Excellent food for a great price. The ability to mix and match ingredients and sauces ensure that your meal will be exactly what you want. If you don't pile your bowl twice as high as the rim with ingredients, they'll tell you to go back and add more, so save yourself the second trip and do it right the first time. The atmosphere is simple and warm, nothing to distract from the food. Service has always been appropriate, not too persistant but always right there when you need something. The grill master who cooks the food is always joyful and makes the whole experience fun. The owners run a very tight ship, resulting in excellent, inexpensively priced food, in a clean and laid back atmosphere.
Fantastic. I'm a big fan of the old place, but frankly I love the new Bali Hai. I love the spacious layout, the big windows, the draft beer and of course the great food. I tell all my friends and co-workers "You must go to the new Bali Hai"
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