Don't let the generic-sounding names of two of the area's newest restaurants fool you. The restaurants themselves are anything but.
101 Lounge + Café (444-101 S. Blount St.; www.101raleigh.com) is unlike any other watering hole we've seen hereabouts, starting with an ultramodern decor that looks like the sort of place where George Jetson might stop off for a drink after work. The restaurant's name refers in part to the suite number it occupies on the first two floors of Palladium Plaza, a new upscale condo building in downtown Raleigh. It also refers to the back-to-basics business concept (as in "Restaurants 101"), according to Hans Huang, who owns the restaurant with partner Dave Reynolds.
That translates to a compact downstairs café/bar and a larger upstairs lounge whose combined purpose morphs as the day wears on: a streamlined breakfast menu in the morning, sandwiches at lunchtime and a modest selection of tapas and entrees (some supplied by Moonlight Pizza, which Reynolds owns) in the evening. Liquid refreshments follow a similar pattern, with coffee and espresso drinks giving way to an after-hours selection of cocktails, four draft beers and a modest assortment of wines by the glass. The upstairs space, which is equipped for multimedia presentations, is available for private functions.
In Durham, 1013 West Main (680-8048) has finally opened at its namesake address after months of delay. Fans of Bread & Kabob, the building's previous occupant, will be happy to know that the owners of the new restaurant and the old one are one and the same, Afghan native Bashir Loynab. Loynab's son, general manager Ghouse Loynab, says he plans eventually to offer a limited selection of the family's locally famous kebabs.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But that's pretty much the only thing that 1013 West Main and Bread & Kabob have in common. The new establishment was conceived primarily as a cocktail lounge and restaurant featuring a large selection of house specialty martinis and a menu of steaks, sandwiches and traditional pub fare to match. Well, mostly traditional. Burgers are made with extra-lean ground Angus beef and served on ciabatta. Other surprises you'll find sprinkled among the Buffalo wings and fries include a vegetarian portobello melt, grilled chicken with lemon sauce, and the 1013 Wrapito, a wrap filled with cilantro, onions, salsa, lime and your choice of chicken or beef. And soon, we hope, kebabs.
Finally, a note from the good-news-bad-news department. First the bad news: Bistro 607 has closed after more than a decade on Glenwood South. Owners Heath Holloman and Henry Burgess closed the restaurant to concentrate on Globe (510 Glenwood Ave.; 836-1811; www.globeraleigh.com), their new restaurant across the street. Now the good news: Barely a month after closing in North Raleigh, Tasca Brava (607 Glenwood Ave.; 850-9080; www.tascabrava.com) has reopened in the bungalow vacated by Bistro 607. Owner Juan Samper is offering an abridged version of his Spanish tapas and entree menu.