Glenwood Village Shopping Center
Raleigh, NC 27608
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 am-2:30 pm Sat: 10
Review Date: November 7, 1999
Reviewers: Mike Germano, Linda McGown, Donna Hughes, Susan Peterson, Dave Peterson, Manon Baratt, and Kathy Marx
Simple Pleasures is more than a restaurant; it also offers a specialty gift shop which is worth checking out. Gourmet coffee beans and chocolate truffles are among the items which may be purchased (but you cannot combine bills for the restaurant and the gift shop). I remember eating lunch at Simple Pleasures about ten years ago, and my recollection was that the food selection was creative. I still agree with that, although during the time since I was there previously, I have encountered quite a few restaurants that I thought had much more creative food. I would not classify Simple Pleasures as a restaurant that has the vegetarian in mind. For our review, we got together for brunch. The brunch menu is quite large, but it seemed to be somewhat disorganized, so I found it a little difficult to quickly survey the offerings. There was actually a fair amount of vegetarian dishes, but vegans would have to study the menu carefully to piece together a complete breakfast (but it could be done with some effort - there are a la carte options). Basically, the brunch menu has fairly typical "standard American" breakfast dishes, which I generally regard as bland and uncreative. However, the quality of the food at Simple Pleasures is certainly better than typical, and reasonable portions are served (the prices are also reasonable).
I called ahead to determine if reservations were needed. I was told that it is not necessary to make reservations for Sunday brunch. When I arrived at the restaurant, I was told that it is always a good idea to make reservations, and that typically there is a long waiting list for Sunday brunch. Fortunately we only had to wait ten minutes. "Organized" is not a term I would bestow upon Simple Pleasures. However, the cashier was able to easily separate the bill at the cash register.
One person ordered the Quiche Special ($6.95), which contains sundried tomato, green onion, and mozzarella, and was served with fresh fruit. It was described as, "very good overall, the sundried tomato was a nice addition. Crust was good." This was the special for the day and is not a regular menu item. Two people ordered Eggs Florentine ($6.95). It comes with a choice of hash browns or cheese grits. Comments were: "overall pretty good - did not like the onions in the dishes" and "Eggs Florentine very good, cheese grits average (grated cheese on top, not very tasty)." Two others had the Belgian Waffle ($6.25). It also comes with a choice of cheese grits or hash browns, and a side order of fresh fruit. It was described as "good," and "very tasty, nothing at all like the typical bland taste of most restaurant waffles. Very moist." The hash browns were "good, not greasy at all, actually the dish consisted of potato chunks rather than finely diced potatoes," and, "could have used some herbs or spices." Two others ordered the Blueberry Pancakes ($6.50), which also comes with fresh fruit and a choice of cheese grits or hash browns. One person did not comment at all about the pancakes, and the other said, "the pancakes were burned. I had to reorder. The hash browns were good. Fruit plate was OK." Several of us ordered coffee, which comes with refills. I thought it was very good coffee (maybe they get their beans from their adjoining shop). For those who ordered hot tea, a great selection of tea was offered. The waitress brought a large basket filled with tea bags, and left it at the table for quite a while, so that it was not necessary to choose immediately.
Overall, people seemed to have a similar impression of Simple Pleasures. It can be summed up as: good food, fairly limited selection of vegetarian dishes, poor vegan selection.