M is for MMMM

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. As you consider plans for how to honor your mom this year, we’re committed to helping you find just the right place to treat her to brunch, lunch or dinner.
You can thank us later!

Academy Street Bistro

Left: White asparagus with mushroom, tomato and red pepper salad

Right: Flourless chocolate cake garnished with raspberries

Executive chef/owner Brian Fitzgerald cooks seasonally-driven New American dishes at his farm-to-table haven in downtown Cary. By sourcing local rations and cultivating herbs on site, he manages to offer the freshest possible cuisine.

“I love growing herbs like thyme, rosemary, mint, basil and tarragon,” he said. “I am also participating in a community garden so I can grow tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables.”

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Fitzgerald takes dishes like seared diver sea scallops and braised short ribs to new levels. Even his Black Angus burger is a universal crowd pleaser.

The bistro’s interior melds a casual bar and lounge space with an upscale dining room. Then there’s the popular patio for al fresco dining on temperate days.

Mother’s Day brunch will showcase multi-course selections like shrimp and crab cocktail, white asparagus with a mushroom, tomato and red pepper salad, and smoked salmon with spinach Benedict and fingerling potatoes.

“I also plan to serve waffles, an omelet with avocado, bacon and tomato, sautéed North Carolina flounder, soft-shell crabs, prime rib and rack of lamb,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also crafts desserts that keep pace with his inventive gastronomy. Try his superb flourless chocolate cake. Order the crème brûlée made with Tahitian vanilla beans, and you’ll indulge in one of the best creations you’ll ever taste.

Prices will vary, and brunch will be served beginning at 10 a.m. Call early for reservations.

Academy Street Bistro
200 S. Academy St., Cary
(919) 377-0509


Paisan’s Italian Ristorante

Lamb stew garnished with herbs and roasted bell peppers

This authentic family-owned bistro will make you wonder why you haven’t discovered it before now. Chef Ralph Sitero, a native of Rome, turns out heaping platefuls of pasta, veal, seafood and Italian meatloaf all served with a distinctive touch.

“We want to encourage people to forego the typical chain Italian restaurant and come enjoy a great local dining experience,” said Doreen Turgeon, director of marketing at Paisan’s, who works alongside General Manager Don Ferstler.

Turgeon points to photos on the wall featuring members of the Ferstler family, proprietors of Paisan’s, who hail from Long Island, N.Y.

Inside the warm, cozy dining room, an oasis of calm awaits. Service is welcoming and first-rate.

Sunday brunch is a standard weekly affair. The typical buffet involves egg dishes, pancakes, salad, an assortment of Italian specialties, breads and dessert.

For Mother’s Day, though, chef Sitero plans to pull out all the stops. Prepare yourself for splendid offerings like succulent lamb stew, seafood primavera, antipasto, ham, breads, artisan cheeses and much more. Do not miss the house-made tiramisu, which is a dessert of dreams.

Bottomless mimosa, Bellini and Bloody Mary cocktails are available for $9.

Served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mother’s Day brunch is $24.95 per person; $10.95 for children under 10. Reservations are strongly suggested.

Paisan’s Italian Ristorante
1275 Northwest Maynard Road
Maynard Crossing Shopping Center, Cary
(919) 388-3033


The Matthews House

Left: Oven-baked cinnamon French toast and home-fried potatoes

Right: Baked salmon with dill cream sauce

Built in 1915, The Matthews House provides one of the most enduringly romantic properties in Cary. No wonder it’s the setting for so many weddings and special events.

Executive Chef James Murdock, a New York native with more than 40 years of restaurant experience, cooks classic dishes with aplomb.

“We serve a bistro lunch on Mondays that’s all-inclusive for $9.95,” said Elizabeth Parker, who serves as the venue’s sales and marketing coordinator. “This includes a main entrée, soup or salad, side, drink and dessert.”

These weekly provisions range from chicken and cheese taquitos to Carolina pulled turkey sliders with sweet potato rolls.

On Mother’s Day, share the love with mom by way of a buffet brunch either in the stylish ballroom or, weather permitting, on the patio. A recently remodeled house and gardens in full bloom make for a lovely locale in May.

The tempting menu will feature quiche Lorraine, oven-baked cinnamon French toast, applewood smoked bacon, home-fried potatoes, baked salmon with dill cream sauce, spring salad with candied walnuts, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette dressing and beyond.

Envision a roast beef carving station with horseradish, wholegrain mustard, mayonnaise and balsamic onion marmalade. Cheesecake, lemon bars and cream puffs will all merit attention. The meal includes coffee, tea and orange juice. Mimosas are $5 each. Cost is $30 per person; $10 for children under 10.

Brunch will be served from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Reservations are accepted online or by phone.

The Matthews House
317 W. Chatham St., Cary
(919) 467-1944


Rey’s Restaurant

Left: Filet mignon

Right: New York-style -vanilla bean cheesecake with fresh berries

When it comes to fine dining, consider Rey’s Restaurant among the most beloved white-linen standard-bearers.

“Our restaurant is elegant but not stuffy, and we have a New Orleans flair,” said proprietor Rey Arias, who is originally from Cuba but grew up in the French Quarter.

Rey’s is esteemed for its impeccable service, romantic ambiance and — of course — outstanding cuisine.

“The ambiance is second to none, the service is done nicely and the food is phenomenal,” said Arias in a matter-of-fact tone without conceit.

Start your meal with a top-flight hors d’oeuvre such as crabmeat cocktail and remoulade, chorizo stuffed mushrooms or bacon-wrapped scallops. Main courses are all winners, from broiled lobster tails and filet mignon to grouper Lafayette and rack of lamb.

For sides, choose Lyonnaise potatoes, green beans with almonds and creamed spinach.
“The au gratin potatoes also are popular,” Arias said.

Bananas Foster, which is flambéed tableside, or chocolate raspberry truffle cake makes a fine finish.

Rey’s is open for Mother’s Day from noon until 9 p.m. See menu for pricing. Six private dining rooms are available. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Rey’s Restaurant
1130 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh
(919) 380-0122


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