A downtown chef swap aims to mix things up for two well-known Durham chefs.
Over two nights, Chef Billy Cotter of Dashi and Toast and Chef Matt Kelly of Mateo Bar de Tapas will take over each other’s kitchens for some neighborly fun and to celebrate Kelly’s newest and fifth restaurant, St. James Seafood and Oyster Bar, set to open early this fall in Durham in the former Fishmonger’s restaurant.
Kelly came up with the idea, but Cotter came on board quickly.
“Matt and I are good friends,” Cotter said in a recent interview. “My first reaction was that it would be super fun.”
Kelly will take over Dashi’s kitchen the night of Aug. 23, while Cotter and his team will set up shop at Mateo on Sept. 13.
“It will be nice to get out of kitchens and comfort zones and do a completely different menu,” Cotter said.
While diners can expect to see some of the usual offerings at both restaurants, they should be prepared for some surprises.
“I’ll be running a pretty extensive special board,” Cotter hinted, referencing Mateo’s ever-changing list of nightly specials. “I’ll keep it Spanish at its core, but play around with it.”
Kelly, meanwhile, will offer a private omakase menu at Dashi. Kelly’s evening at Dashi is reservation only and costs $70 per person. Call 919-251-9335.
When Cotter takes over Mateo, the offerings will be sold a la carte. Reservations are recommended. Call 919-530-8700.
For information on the dinners and to make a reservation, go to dashiramen.com/events.
Matt Lardie is a Durham-based freelance writer. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @matt_lardie.