Suffering from a case of November chills? This week's news has the cure, in the form of a culinary cruise through the warm waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Jose Gomez has launched Las Cascadas (805 W. Peace St.; 821-7642) in the old Brisas de Acapulco spot in Raleigh, and is plying the culinary waters of his native Dominican Republic and neighboring Puerto Rico. The menu is especially strong in seafood, with nearly a dozen listings including camarones al ajillo, kingfish in a Dominican criollo sauce, and whole tilapia cooked in coconut milk. Passengers may also go ashore for dishes such as bistec a la plancha (steak cooked on iron), Caribbean style chicken or pork kebabs, and Dominican empanadas. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the offering expands to include soups such as sancocho, a rustic meal-in-a-bowl of chicken, pork, beef, plantains, yuca, onions, peppers and cilantro. Las Cascadas serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Fans of midnight cruises will appreciate the fact that the restaurant remains open all night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday.
In Hillsborough, Gulf Rim Café (111 N. Churton St,; 245-0040; www.gulfrimcafe.com) has set sail in the spot vacated when Flying Fish was beached. Skipper and first mate are Joe and Andrea Tullos, who had the uncanny foresight to move to the Triangle from New Orleans just before Katrina hit. True to the restaurant's name, the menu has ports of call all around the Gulf rim, from the Yucatan peninsula (fish tacos, seviche) to the Florida Keys (conch fritters) to the Cajun/Creole cuisine of the Tullos' native bayou country (crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, crawfish pie with andouille cream sauce). Occasionally, Gulf Rim Café even drops anchor in Caribbean waters, with options such as Jamaican jerk Cornish game hen and a Cuban sandwich at lunchtime. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Meanwhile in Durham, Papa Mojo's Roadhouse (5410-Y N.C. 55, in Greenwood Commons shopping center; www.papamojosroadhouse.com) hasn't left the dock yet. When it does, in December or January, owner/chef (and noted musician) Mel Melton will serve up gumbos, po boys and other bayou fare to the tune of live Zydeco music. I'll have more details when the restaurant's opening nears.