Said Bouleqcha, owner of Serendipity Gourmet Deli in downtown Cary, has opened Atlas Mediterranean Cuisine on Kildaire Farm Road, in the old Pizza Hut building most recently vacated by Unaabi Grill. For his latest venture, Bouleqcha has teamed up with his wife, Fatima Analaoui to showcase the cuisine of their native Morocco. Joining Analaoui in the kitchen is co-chef Youssef el Hanouch, also from Morocco.
Atlas is a casual eatery, so elaborate tajines and dishes such as the famous sweet-and-savory meat pie pastilla (squab or otherwise) are not in the offing. But with a menu that offers Moroccan-spiced lamb steak, an assortment of kebabs (including the spicy North African sausage, merguez) and sundry other specialties ranging from the signature Atlas dish (lamb or chicken simmered with tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices) to Zaalouk (eggplant salad), culinary adventurers wont lack for an itinerary.
Last stop on that itinerary is a selection of sweet tooth delights such as briwat (honey-dipped pastries filled with almonds and pistachios) and Moroccan delight (deep-fried phyllo dough filled with vanilla cream, roasted almonds and chocolate syrup).
For those seeking the comfort of more familiar fare, the menu also offers a sampling of Greek cuisine and a few variations on the burger theme. A kids menu offers a choice of chicken nuggets, cheeseburger or grilled cheese pita with choice of side (rice, fries or - a welcome healthy alternative - carrot) for $4.50.
Atlas Mediterranean Cuisine (914 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary; 919-234-1982) is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday-Monday (lunch only) from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Greg Cox, the N&Os longtime restaurant critic, also reports restaurant news. Tune in to his radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.