Chef William D’Auvray, who is well known to longtime Raleigh diners from his previous restaurants Fins and bu.ku, has returned to the Triangle.
D’Auvray is cooking at Boheme, the latest restaurant from longtime Triangle restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias, who co-owns Vin Rouge, Bin 54, Parizade and other restaurants across the state. “I was lucky enough to convince him to come back,” Bakatsias said Tuesday.
D’Auvray was the chef-proprietor of Fins, a well-regarded seafood restaurant in North Raleigh that opened in 1997. Fins earned a rare four out of four-stars review from Greg Cox in 2001. At the time, Cox, the N&O’s longtime restaurant critic, wrote: “Given the polish of the cuisine at Fins, it may come as a surprise that chef D’Auvray didn’t attend culinary school. Instead, he opted for lengthy apprenticeships with reputable restaurants and hotels (Ritz-Carlton, to name one). You certainly can’t fault that approach, as the food is on a par with the very best restaurants in the Triangle.”
When Fins moved to downtown Raleigh in 2007 to the space now occupied by bu.ku, Cox wrote, “In short, Fins is one of those rare restaurants about which I feel comfortable saying, “Order anything you like. You can’t go wrong.”
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Fins closed in 2010 and was replaced with bu.ku, a global street food restaurant that continued after D’Auvray left. In 2011, D’Auvray partnered with Empire Eats developer and restaurateur Greg Hatem to open the short-lived Fai Thai in what is now Bida Manda in downtown Raleigh. After that, D’Auvray worked on projects in Florida and Maine.
D’Auvray’s fans will recognize his love of seafood and Asian flavors at Boheme. Menu specialties include snapper crude with sweet lime, bird chili, coriander and charred corn; forbidden rice with fermented tofu, fried ginger, shallot and Siam basil; beef tongue, Milanese anchovy and farm egg; and trigger fish with heirloom carrots, Visalia soubise and ginger.
The Boheme’s location has been a troubled spot for other businesses. The former artist’s studio and residence is stunning but tucked away off Highway 15-501 and surrounded by a Wal-Mart and other big box retailers. Last year, Straw Valley Food + Drink, the last project, to go in there closed.
Bakatsias says he sees the space and its location as an asset. “When you are in there, you feel like you are transported to another place,” he said. “It’s also a center point from Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh. It’s easy to get there. I think the key thing is what happens inside the space.”
The restaurant, inside the former residence, is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday and for brunch on the weekends.
In the outdoor courtyard, what Bakatsias is calling the “Boheme Bazaar” will debut June 16 with music, wine and beer specials. Families and dogs are encouraged to attend. (The bazaar will be a series of events in Boheme’s courtyard featuring artists, music, farmers and more.)
A whisky lounge at Boheme is to be unveiled over the summer.
Boheme is located at 5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham.