Dining review: La Santa’s freshness, scratch cooking updates classic Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes

La Santa opened on Raleigh’s Glenwood Avenue in May. It serves an eclectic mix of Mexican and Tex-Mex fare with an emphasis on scratch cooking and updated presentations. By Greg Cox Originally published 10/19/2017 RALEIGH La Santa, open since late May in the former Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, is owned by a group of partners…

Dining review: The Lakewood’s inventive menu shows Lawless’ culinary chops. But definitely save room for dessert.

Chef Phoebe Lawless, owner of Durham’s Scratch Bakery, opened The Lakewood in Durham in May 2017. By Greg Cox Originally published 10/12/17 DURHAM Even the most ardent fans of chef Phoebe Lawless – owner of Durham’s Scratch Bakery – might not be aware that she has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years. She…

Dining review: Queen of Pho’s broth will satisfy you while banh mi is the star of pho’s supporting cast

Queen of Pho opened in Chapel Hill’s Timberlyne Shopping Center in spring 2017, serving pho, banh mi and other Vietnamese dishes. By Greg Cox Originally published 10/5/2017 CHAPEL HILL “That’s Ancient Town,” our server says, in answer to my question about a poster-size black-and-white photo — a bird’s-eye view of what appears to be a…

Dining review: so.ca offers a surprise at every turn in journey of Latin American, Caribbean cuisine

  so.ca, from the owners of bu.ku, is in Raleigh’s Cameron Village and explores cuisine charting a course from Mexico to Jamaica to Chile, with nearly three dozen ports of call in between. By Greg Cox Originally published 9/21/2017 RALEIGH Way back in 2010, a restaurant with the peculiar name of bu.ku brought a new…

Dining review: Paolo’s on 54 revamps longtime Italian restaurant, but keeps the classics

Chef Paul Zoccola renamed Morrisville restaurant Lubrano’s and has added a modern twist to the menu, in addition to keeping traditional Italian dishes. By Greg Cox Originally published 7/6/2017 MORRISVILLE For more than a decade after chef Paul Zoccola bought out founding partner Benny Lubrano, Zoccola was happy to continue operating the restaurant – Lubrano’s…

Dining review: Alley Twenty Six’s restaurant addition creates balanced blend of food, cocktails

Alley Twenty Six in Durham expanded into the neighboring space to add a restaurant to his bar. Owner Shannon Healy and chef Carrie Schleiffer have created the perfect balance By Greg Cox Originally published 6/29/2017 DURHAM There’s no telling how many cocktails Shannon Healy has made over the past two decades. Healy, the longtime head…

Dining review: At City Market Sushi, quality ingredients are stars of the show

City Market Sushi in downtown Raleigh features a menu that enthusiastically explores the potential of an evolving contemporary Japanese cuisine while remaining respectful of its traditional roots By Greg Cox Originally published 6/22/2017 The presentation that sits on the table before you might well be a display in an art gallery – a mixed-media composition,…

Dining review: You don’t need to search far for authentic Neapolitan-style pizza

Five worthy practitioners of the Neapolitan pizza craft have opened in the Triangle: Capp’s Pizzeria, Napoli, Pizzeria Faulisi, Pizza La Stella and Treforni By Greg Cox Originally published 6/15/17 Just a few years ago, searching for authentic Neapolitan-style pizza in these parts was, you might say, a pie-in-the-sky proposition. There were New York-style joints by…

Food Truck Review: Adobo Joe’s rendition of Filipino dish shines

Every household in the Phillipines has a recipe for adobo, the country’s national dish, but it’s hard to imagine them outshining the dish from Adobo Joe food truck By Greg Cox Originally published 6/7/2017 Adobo Joe’s Facebook page tells the captivating story of its origins, beginning with owner Geronimo “Ron” Blancaflor as a 6-year-old boy…

Dining review: Dig deep at Mekong, and you’ll find surprises among the Vietnamese classics

Mekong in Morrisville serves traditional Vietnamese fare but with some special additions. It’s hard to go wrong, whether you crave the comfort of the familiar or are looking to shake things up a bit. By Greg Cox Originally published 6/1/2017 MORRISVILLE  The first time you visit Mekong, you might get the impression that you’ve just…

Standard Foods

Standard Foods reopened in October 2016 in downtown Raleigh with new executive chef Eric Montagne. He has lost no time in establishing himself as a rising culinary star in his own right. Originally published 5/25/2017 If Raleigh’s No. 1 restaurant news story in 2015 was the highly anticipated, much-delayed opening of Standard Foods, then last…