Welcome to Friday Night Bites, your weekly roundup of local food and drink news and events. Have a tip for us? Email food@indyweek.com.


Burial Beer Co. Will Open in Transfer Co. Food Hall This Saturday

Asheville’s Burial Beer Co. will open in Raleigh’s Transfer Co. Food Hall this Saturday, January 5 from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. The intimate boutique-meets-gallery retail space, called The Exhibit, will offer explorative cans and rare bottles previously available only in Burial’s Asheville taproom as well as a selection of art. Burial’s website describes it as a place to sample beers and take a four-pack home kind of vibe most days, and on release days, a communal marketplace to access killer limited beers and hang with other craft explorers. On opening day, there will also be a cart specifically for to-go beer and merchandise at the front of the space, and Long Leaf Swine will be slinging ‘cue to keep line-goers sated.

Sushi Mon is Now Open in Raleigh

Sushi Mon, a new sushi restaurant on Raleigh’s Friendly Drive (off Hillsborough Street), quietly opened in December with a menu of classic and contemporary rolls, hot and cold dishes, and a sushi bar omakase (a steal at $78 for seven courses). To celebrate its grand opening, Sushi Mon will offer diners three complimentary pieces of nigiri and pear cider throughout January (dine-in, dinner only). The restaurant is currently open for dinner but plans to add lunch service beginning January 7 and expand the menu to offer traditional Japanese ramen soon.

Jack Tar Launches Fried Chicken & Bubbly Sunday Supper Special

On January 6, Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter in Durham will launch a recurring Sunday dinner special of fried chicken paired with a rotating menu of three family-style sides. There will also be a selection of sparkling wines, available by the glass or bottle. Chef Gray Brooks’ debuted the special menu on New Year’s Day with fried chicken and Southern sides such as maple-braised collards, black-eyed peas, and corn bread pudding. The fried chicken dinner plus three sides is $24 for a half chicken and $44 for a whole chicken.

O-Ku Sushi Rolls Out Lunch Service

O-Ku Sushi, which opened at The Dillon in Raleigh’s Warehouse District in October 2018, will begin lunch service on January 7. In addition to its signature O-Ku makimono rolls and chef specials, the menu will also offer lunch-only sushi bar items and bento box sets, such as one with three pieces of nigiri, house salad, and a California roll, or another with Korean short ribs paired with house salad and steamed rice.

Triangle Restaurant Week Kicks Off January 21

If, like us, your New Year’s resolutions include checking off more restaurants on your hit list, Triangle Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse to get started. From January 21 to January 27, more than ninety Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and surrounding area restaurants—including newcomers Papa Shogun and O-Ku Sushi—will participate in Triangle Restaurant Week by offering special three-course, prix-fixe menus. Lunches are typically priced at $15 and dinners at $20, $25, $30, or $35 (excluding beverages, tax, or gratuity). For a list of participating restaurants and sample menus, visit Triangle Restaurant Week’s website.


Celebrate Three Kings’ Day with Churros and Hot Chocolate at Durham’s Second Annual Chocolatada

On Saturday, January 5, El Centro Hispano de Durham will celebrate Three Kings’ Day with its second annual Chocolatada Luisito. The event was inspired by local author Rafael A. Osuba’s book Luisito Celebra El Día De Los Reyes (Luisito Celebrates Three Kings’ Day), which talks about the story of the Three Kings’ Day, also  known as the Feast of the Epiphany in the Catholic Church. Osuba will read from the book, and there will be churros from Cocoa Cinnamon, hot chocolate, Three Kings’ bread, as well as arts and crafts for children. The event is free and open to the public and goes from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Sling Soil and Learn How to Compost with CompostNow and Ungraded Produce

CompostNow, which collects food scraps from residents and businesses to help them reduce waste and support local gardens, is teaming up with produce delivery service Ungraded Produce to offer a hands-on composting workshop on January 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Compost Kitchen at Raleigh’s Camden Street Learning Garden. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the Facebook event page for more details.

Sip “The Beyond” at NCMA until January 19

To celebrate the final weekend of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s exhibit The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe, Iris, the museum’s restaurant, will host a special Saturday version of Iris after Dark on January 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with drinks, food, and live music. It’s also the last time that visitors can order “The Beyond” cocktail, a gin, lemon, ginger and lavender syrup-tipple inspired by O’Keeffe’s painting Petunias. The museum’s galleries in the East and West buildings will be open extended hours on January 19, until 9:00 p.m. To make a reservation for dinner at Iris, call 919-664-6838 (reservations are not needed for the lounge and bar area).


Even when I’m dining out for fun (and not “on assignment”), I have a hard time turning off my food writer brain and critically evaluating every dish I taste. Regardless of cuisine, style, or technique, all chefs talk about balance in their dishes. That means appropriately seasoning a dish, sure, but it also means finding that sweet spot of balancing flavors, specifically fat, acid, and heat. It’s something that I’ve paid attention to even more since watching chef and food writer Samin Nosrat’s Netflix series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, based on her James Beard Award-winning cookbook of the same name (if you’ve got some holiday gift cards to burn, I highly recommend picking up a copy). Both the show and the book have made me a better home cook, for sure, but it’s also made me pay even more attention to how I taste and eat restaurant dishes.

Perhaps that’s why I was so taken with Poole’s appetizer, Carpaccio of Beef Tenderloin. It’s a simple appetizer of raw beef, usually thinly sliced or pounded thin, that shows up at a multitude of eateries, from Italian restaurants to bistros to steakhouses, usually paired with arugula and Pecorino, maybe a drizzle of balsamic. At Poole’s, the combination of accompaniments was so unexpected, but the formula was right there on the chalkboard menu: crispy squid (salt), malt mayo (fat), pickled carrots (acid), and chili-garlic crunch oil (heat). It ate almost like a fancy surf and turf but just when the flavors crested to the brink of savory, the tangy crunch of pickled carrots shook things up before the chili oil crashed the party (in the best way possible). The dish was part of my last restaurant meal of 2018, and the kind of balance I intend to continue seeking out in the year ahead.