A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains.
Curry Point Express
5400-100 S. Miami Blvd., Durham, 919-474-7447
• In a nutshell: A varied selection of regional Indian fare, authentically spiced and served up fast-food style, is quickly making this newcomer a favorite with the RTP lunch crowd.
• Try: Biryani (chicken or goat), lamb vindaloo, shrimp korma, bhindi (okra) masala.
1718 Walnut St., Cary, 919-460-6299
• In a nutshell: An eclectic mix of traditional deli fare and offbeat alternatives has kept fans coming back to this eatery through two changes of hands since it opened in 1999, and a relocation earlier this year.
• Try: Felix the Cat (tortilla-crusted catfish sandwich), muffuletta, Thanksgiving on a Bun, spicy pork burrito, Thai chicken pizza.
The Meeting Corner
135 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina, 919-346-1247
• In a nutshell: Hidden gem tucked into the back of a quaint gift shop surprises with authentic Puerto Rican fare, cooked up by the restaurant’s native chef-owner, Edna Morales.
• Try: pernil (roast pork) platter, fried sweet plantains, tripleta sandwich (Puerto Rico’s over-the-top answer to the Cuban sandwich), daily lunch specials.
117 Market St., Durham, 919-564-7999
• In a nutshell: After winning a loyal following by selling frozen confections out of a mini school bus, owners Yani and Vanessa Mazuz raised the ante in April with the opening of a brick-and-mortar ice cream shop.
• Try: Take your pick from a rotating selection that includes the likes of Vietnamese coffee, fig honey, sweet potato and labneh. I’ve got dibs on the salted butter caramel.
Multiple locations in Raleigh; see website
• In a nutshell: Sam Yehia, owner of downtown Raleigh lunch landmark Sam & Wally’s, opened the first Shish Kabob to satisfy a longing for his native cuisine in 2008. He’s opened two more since then, ample evidence that he wasn’t the only one craving a taste of Lebanon.
• Try: Chicken shawarma, lamb gyro, char-grilled kebab platters (I’m partial to the Lebanese style beef kofta, but lamb and chicken are also worthy).
South Philly Steak & Dogs
4412-109 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, 919-878-0069
• In a nutshell: Homesick for Philly? The Eagles memorabilia plastering the walls of this little strip mall eatery leave no doubt that owner Tony Luise feels your pain.
• Try: Philly cheese steak. Get it “wit” (translation: “with grilled onions”). Add mushrooms and peppers if you like. And, even if you’re a food snob, you owe it to yourself at least once to try it with Cheez Whiz.