Gregoria’s Kitchen, which was closed last year by a fire, reopens today as Gregoria’s Cuban Steakhouse in a different location. Owner Fares Hanna has tweaked the name for the restaurant’s new incarnation, but the addition of steaks tells just part of the story of a much more ambitious menu.
“The food at the old Gregoria’s was wonderful, home-style Cuban cooking,” says Hanna. “The new menu is bigger, and we’re taking it up a couple of notches.” Tasked with those “couple of notches” is new chef Michael Pirnik, who combines Cuban heritage with culinary training in France and work in restaurants in New York and Europe. Hanna proudly notes that the chef’s resume includes a couple of Michelin-starred establishments.
Pirnik’s menu faithfully covers the spectrum of traditional Cuban fare, from ropa vieja to lechon asado. There’s a Cubano sandwich, naturally, and at the other end of the spectrum a Cuban-style paella for two. The “Steakhouse” billing is represented by a grill selection that includes skirt steak with chimichurri, bistec de Nueva York, pork Porterhouse and pan-seared salmon with a salsa of red onion, tomato and olives.
The chef serves up a few surprises with a modern touch, too, such as beef-and-chorizo sliders and house-cured pork belly chicharrones with tamarind sauce.
Gregoria’s Cuban Steakhouse (2701 Hillsborough Road, Durham; 919-973-2717; gregoriassteakhouse.com) is open for dinner Monday-Saturday from 5-10 p.m. Beginning February 2, brunch will be served on Sundays from 10:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m.