In its eleventh year, Triangle Restaurant Week, which runs through June 9, features three-course menus at a low fixed price at participating area establishments. The week-long celebration of gastronomical indulgence is an excuse to explore the Triangle’s richly diverse culinary scene, satisfy your curious palette, and, of course, get a high-quality meal at a reasonable price.
Each restaurant provides several options for each course: at Vin Rouge in Durham, you can select bibb lettuce salad, blue crab croquette, or lobster bisque as your appetizer; at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Raleigh, choose from entrée options like buttermilk fried chicken, a half rack of ribs, and shrimp and grits; at City Kitchen in Chapel Hill, dessert choices include Tahitian vanilla creme brulée, flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter and a roasted strawberry sauce, and wild berry sorbet.
Pricing at each restaurant is $15 for lunch and between $20 and $35 for dinner (excluding drinks, tax, and gratuity).
Here are a few more highlights to tease your taste buds:
In North Hills, you can try the miso grouper at Mura, the Japanese restaurant’s most beloved dish. Though they quickly eighty-sixed the green tea cheesecake on Wednesday night, fear not, Scherra Gebo, a manager there, tells us they’ve restocked. Mura has been an active participant in restaurant week since 2011, utilizing the event as an opportunity to test out certain dishes with guests to help inform their ever-evolving menu.
Also in Raleigh, the Midtown Grille is featuring its coveted shrimp and grits. Mark Johnson, a manager, says that each time they participate in restaurant week their sales increase around 25 percent. The only problem is, according to Johnson, at lunch, when many diners might be in a time constraint, some customers fail to realize how long a three-course meal actually takes.
At Capri, the seafood ravioli has been the most popular dish of the week thus far (restaurant week began June 3).
“The key is to cook the ravioli in the sauce,” says owner Dino Pinelli. “You take them out of the water one minute or two before, and then you let them cook in the sauce.” Capri’s modus operandi for the week is to showcase the very best they have to offer. “That’s the way to expose yourself, to meet new friends, to grow,” says Pinelli. “You want the people to come back.”
In Chapel Hill, executive chef Jessie Flores at City Kitchen has prepared a $35 meal that spotlights American flavors and techniques, from roasting to braising, preserving to smoking.
Meanwhile in Raleigh, at Caffe Luna, which has participated in restaurant week since its inception, you can get a three-course meal for just shy of eighteen bucks. Parker Kennedy, the owner, says they chose their fixed price at $20 to make it more accessible for people and to live up to, as he describes, “the spirit of restaurant week.”
“There are a lot of young people who don’t want to bother to cook, and you can have a three-course meal for $17.95, so it doesn’t make sense to drive to Harris Teeter,” Kennedy says. “It gives us a chance to give our customers who are regular customers during the year a deal—a special opportunity to dine with us, he said. “It also gives us a chance to showcase our food for other people who have never eaten here.”
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