If you’ve ever had the chance to meet Souheil Al Awar, then you know how rad of a cat he is. If you haven’t, go find this guy ASAP. Need travel advice? Want to talk about art, design, architecture? Or even chat about new wave music or 60’s pop culture? The list of information this guy has to offer goes on and on. In my opinion, he is one of Raleigh’s most unique and interesting people.
As of recently Buzzfeed listed Souheil’s newest project, as one of the top 19 bars you must go see before you die. Named Clockwork after the infamous film by Stanley Kurbick, this place is by far one of the coolest spots I’ve ever been to. Every detail is unique and precise. From the wallpaper screen printed by hand from England, to the mid century Danish furniture, all of the subtle but vibrant color palette chosen is such a gem when you are invited into the bar by the amusement sign shaped like an arrow at the entrance. (***Sidenote*** I came so close to buying that sign….YOU BEAT ME TO IT BUDDY!!!)
So last week my right hand man Joe Bruno AKA U-TURN Man and myself had a chance to sit down and not only enjoy the beautiful interior, but also had a chance to try some impressive Clockwork vittles. We started with the Deep Fried Cauliflower which I learned from Souheil, is a Lebanese staple. It was served lightly fried and accompanied with fresh homemade lemon flavored tahini. This Appetizer was full of fresh and inviting flavors that kept us stuffing our faces until we had finished every last bite.
Next we were served the fresh Housemade Gnocchi. Coming from an Italian background I’m usually a bit weary of trying gnocchi at most places I’ve dined, you know how Italians are, we know what we like, and we aren’t shy to tell you. After trying the gnocchi at Clockwork, I can say this with ease. My nana would of walked back in the kitchen in her moo moo and kissed the chef. True Story.
So at this point I’m already getting stuffed. Suck it up boys!!
More food is on the way. Next the largest Nachos in the history of earth were delivered to our table. Not only were they Godzilla like, they were absolutely amazing. They were so full of flavor and as fresh as food could get. It wasn’t your average lackluster sports bar nacho. It was the nacho that you talk about, the nacho you have to see, a nacho you travel far and wide to taste and the Nacho named Camacho. Absolutely delish!
While trying to nurse my food baby, I turned my head for two seconds and a pizza appeared just out of thin air. Now once again you know how Italians are with food. Especially pizza, pasta, breads and girls with mustaches.
We always go in cautious, but this pizza was one of few pizzas I’ve had that stopped me in my tracks. Topped with fresh mandarin oranges, sliced jalpenos, pistachios, premium mozzarella, and complimented with a rich cream sauce. I looked over at Bruno and we didn’t even have to say a word. Two Italian kids from above the Mason-Dixon Line nodding with smiles at each other with cheese all over our face. You’ve officially impressed us.
But wait, its not over! There are two to three more chapters in this story. How about a sandwich??? AHHH. Now this is the part of the story where you are so full but you have to keep eating because everything is so delicious.
Here comes the Carnitas Sandwich. Carnitas is a slow cooked pork with a citrus finish. This sandwich is loaded with this house-made pork and topped with fresh homemade cheese, perfectly ripe avocado slices, red cabbage, grilled onions, pickled jalapenos, homemade salsa and locally baked ciabatta bread. LIKE WHOA!!!! YUP thats on my top 5 list of best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Game Over!!
At this point we are stuffed and literally feel like we can’t eat another bite. And here comes Souheil yet again! “But, you have to try the Falafel Tacos” he said. Well Souheil, if you insist.So here comes the cherry on top of the food induced coma. Fresh made falafel, pickled beets, pickled jalapenos and tahini served on corn or flour tortillas.Yes please!!!
I could go on and on about how everything tasted so good, but you honestly just need to make your way down to Clockwork to give it a try for yourself.
All this amazing food, paired with killer original cocktails like the Fire and Dandy will light your palette up.The Interior will further make your senses vibrate. Service and hospitality that would make anyone feel at home, and an owner that just plain out rules. Souheil, hats off to you my man and congrats on your success!!!! Clockwork is truly one of Raleigh’s gems. Don’t make yourself suffer through the ordinary, when you can have some of the best in bar scenes. You will not be disappointed.