Nestled deep in N.C. State’s Centennial campus, the new StateView Hotel brings a touch of class to the university with beautiful accomodations in a striking setting. Recently opened on October 11, 2017, the StateView is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel that is part of Marriot’s Autograph Collection. With a silver LEED rating, StateView offers 164 guest rooms, many which overlook a spacious pool and scenic Lake Raleigh.
Adjacent to N.C. State’s Alumni Center and across from the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, the StateView is a cozy hideaway with an excellent restaurant, Flask and Beaker. Whether or not you’re a Wolfpack fan, you will be delighted with the hotel’s décor, which focuses on textiles, chemistry, engineering, etc. and truly makes the StateView unique. Learn more about The StateView Hotel at http://www.stateviewhotel.com/north-carolina-state/
When I was invited to cover a recent media event and tour the StateView Hotel and sample some of the dishes from Flask and Beaker, I jumped at the opportunity. With two degrees from N.C. State, my blood definitely runs Wolfpack red and I was excited to be asked to participate in the event.
Our event started with cocktails in the main lobby, with servers bringing around a couple of hors devours and a delightful fruity bourbon drink.
Brad and I gravitated toward the library with its cozy fireplace, bookshelves filled with art and actual NCSU yearbooks, great wolf paintings and beautiful pieces from the College of Textiles.
We were separated into two groups and ours was led by delightful Dale Bullock, general manager of StateView. We were given a brief history of the hotel, shown some of the collaborative and high-tech meeting areas, and then led to the outside deck where we viewed other great meeting places that overlooked the pool.
Since it was dark, we couldn’t see how close the lake was to the property, so I went back a few days later and took some pics while it was still light outside. What a gorgeous setting, especially in the fall with the leaves changing!
We were then led back inside to take a look at some of the actual rooms. First stop, the presidential suite – ooh la la! Of course it had a great balcony overlooking the pool and lake, as well as two bathrooms, a spacious meeting room, a separate living space and a nice “den” (aka bedroom).
We were then shown one of the guest rooms, also quite nice and comfy. For a list of amenities and prices, please check out StateView’s website at http://www.stateviewhotel.com/north-carolina-state/
OK, now on to my favorite part, the food! Let’s head to the Flask and the Beaker, whose name is inspired by NCSU’s Chemistry Department.
Designed to be a modern-American gastropub, this restaurant features small and large plates at a reasonable price, with a focus on two of North Carolina crops, sweet potatoes and blueberries, plus other local flavors such as BBQ and seafood, for a true farm-to-table experience. Since we had a fairly large group, we were seated in a private dining room next to the Flask & Beaker. As we approached our beautifully decorated table, some of the servers were filling our champagne glasses with a Mumm Rosé, so I knew we were off to a great start.
Our first course was a crab cake that was out of this world and probably my favorite dish of the evening. With very little filling, the sweetness of the crab paired nicely with the rosé. The crab was so fresh and beautifully prepared with a red Thai coconut sauce on the side. Some of our tablemates thought the sauce was too spicy, but Brad and I begged to differ. Brilliant!
Next up, sweet potato gnocchi. I thought this was a creative use of North Carolina sweet potatoes with a great sage and brown butter sauce and a bourbon glaze. Tasty! This and the next dish were paired with a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc, both from Rodney Strong. It was recommended that you switch the wines with the gnocchi and the upcoming seafood entrée to see which pairings you liked best.
Our main entrée was a Catalan-based seafood stew (described as “kind of paella-ish but not”), with plump and tender shrimp, a scallop, squid, mussels and little hints of saffron. Loved, loved, loved the shrimp, but not so much the scallop. I’m not a scallop person for the most part and this one did not excite. Brad agreed. The mussels were good and the broth was nice. I would order this again if they would substitute the scallop with shrimp.
Our last course was one of the best desserts I’ve had in years. Bread pudding with warm caramel sauce and Howling Cow pumpkin-spiced ice cream, served with prosecco. Oh yeah, pumpkin ice cream from my all-time favorite ice cream maker ever, which I’ve been enjoying since an undergraduate at N.C. State. Wow. Just wow.
Flask and Beaker is lucky to have Chef JP Murcia at its helm. We were briefly introduced to him and his other sous chefs at the end of the evening, but I was lucky enough to meet him again when I went back to take daylight pictures. Born in Cali, Colombia, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1991, and enjoyed a successful culinary career in New York. Chef Murcia moved to the Triangle in 2007 to make a fresh start as the executive chef of a major university. He is owner/operator of the KocinA food truck, and is excited about his new position as executive chef at StateView.
He was more than willing to share copies of Flask & Beaker’s menus with me, plus he let me take some photos of him.
Thanks, Chef, I can’t wait to come back! Flask and Beaker is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner — check out its hours at http://www.stateviewhotel.com/dining
What a great experience. I’m so proud to be an alumna of such a progressive university that is taking great care of its past, present and future!