In recent years, the cluster of unassuming strip malls near the intersection of E. Chatham Street and Maynard Road in Cary has earned a reputation as something of a culinary United Nations. Within a couple blocks of that intersection you can explore the cuisines of some dozen cultures, from the familiar (Little Tokyo, Super Wok) to the esoteric (Himalayan Nepali Cuisine, Baghdad Bakery).
Two newcomers in Chatham Square Shopping Center promise to build on that reputation. It seems somehow fitting that, as different as these restaurants are from one another, they’re next-door neighbors.
At Taqueria La Herradura, tacos are made with house-made corn tortillas and your choice of ten fillings — and they’re a steal on Tuesdays, when they’re a dollar apiece. The bilingual menu over the counter also lists tortas, gorditas, empanadas, flautas, burritos and quesadillas, and is supplemented by a handful of daily entree specials such as carne asada and enchiladas rancheras. If you have any questions, just ask Maria Rivera, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Adolfo Padilla. She’s always there, and she speaks excellent English. Taqueria La Herradura (748-B E. Chatham St.; 919-465-1435) is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pending inspections, a trio of partners from New York hope to open Tibetan Restaurant (748-A E. Chatham St.) “as soon as possible,” according to Konchok Tsultrim, one of the partners. Once the doors are open, the plan is to offer a menu made up mostly of familiar Chinese and Indo-Chinese fare initially, with Tibetan specialties such as momo (dumplings, which I’m told are subtly different than the momo served at Himalayan Nepali Cuisine nearby) and yak butter tea accounting for some 20-30 percent of the offering. As customers become accustomed to Tibetan cuisine, the goal is for the menu eventually to live fully up to the restaurant’s name.