Here’s our guide to several notable new restaurants in Cary, plus the skinny on a few places still to come.
Oiso Sushi & Korean
In a small, stylish space with bamboo window shades, chef-owner Young Cho Kim churns out an inventive assortment of sushi, nigiri and sashimi along with select Japanese and Korean specialties.
Spicy sashimi don with avocado, tamago, masago and nori.
The namesake specialty sushi roll melds spicy lobster and deep-fried lobster with asparagus. It’s crowned with tuna, salmon, tobiko caviar, eel sauce, wasabi mayo and spicy mayo. The Hurricane roll consists of tempura shrimp, lobster and avocado encased in crispy, shredded potatoes.
“Chef Kim believes presentation is as important as the smell and taste of the food,” said General Manager Sang Lee, who hails from Korea.
Chef Young Cho Kim, left, takes pride in skillfully preparing dishes like the spicy tuna salad.
Signature Korean dish bibimbap features rice, vegetables and choice of meat with a fried egg. Noodle-centric Japanese udon soup is available in seafood, kimchi and tempura varieties.
Recommended: Chef Kim’s sushi roll involving tuna, salmon, lobster salad, chives, cilantro and masago caviar in daikon wrap topped with citrus-tinged ponzu sauce, truffle oil and seaweed.
Korean bibimbap features rice, vegetables and choice of meat with a fried egg.
Oiso Sushi & Korean
1305 Northwest Maynard Road
Maynard Crossing, Cary
Big Mike’s Brew N Que
Mike Markham’s brick-and-mortar extension to his popular food truck resonates with the locals, especially at lunchtime and on weekends.
Fans of Big Mike’s Brew N Que come out for the tasty smoked meats and the 300 craft beers available in bottles and cans.
Besides delivering heaping helpings of pasture-raised pork, beer-brined chicken and Texas-style beef brisket, the restaurant also serves stellar side items such as smoked potato salad, blue cheese coleslaw and fresh collards.
“I buy local and organic whenever possible because it’s the right thing to do,” said Markham, who was raised in Concord, N.C.
A wide-ranging selection of 300 craft beers is available in bottles and cans. Thanks to a nifty in-house chiller, any of these becomes frosty in just 60 seconds. There are also nine craft brews on tap.
“We plan to start a small-batch brewery really soon,” Markham said.
Big Mike’s platter of smoked meats includes beef brisket, chopped pork barbeque, smoked potato salad, collards, blue cheese coleslaw and cornbread.
Recommended: Barbecue egg rolls with pork, collards and chow chow or buffalo chicken with buffalo blue sauce.
Big Mike’s Brew N Que
1222 Northwest Maynard Road, Cary
It’s not often Pakistani, Indian, Mediterranean and American cuisine merge in the same kitchen, but you’ll find it all at this full-service hideaway. Owner Samreen Nawaz and her husband, chef Syed Yousuf, focus on serving wholesome, inspired provisions.
A sampling of delicious offerings including the tandoori platter, biryani, Kababish shrimp appetizer and a fruit smoothie.
“It’s important to us that people get healthy food,” said the vivacious Nawaz, a native of Pakistan. “We can even cater to people with dietary restrictions. Every dish is custom made.”
Nothing is deep-fried. Kebabs are cooked in a tandoor oven. Vegetables come from the Raleigh Farmer’s Market. Fruit smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices confirm a devotion to health consciousness.
An eclectic menu ranges from Mediterranean hummus to Indian vegetarian to Pakistani nahari, a zesty lamb stew.
“We have burgers, wraps and chicken apricot salad. We love to fuse it up!” said Nawaz.
It’s all served in an inviting space with turquoise walls, Moroccan light fixtures and local artwork. Don’t miss the daily lunch specials and weekend brunch.
Samreen Nawaz and her husband, chef Syed Yousuf, focus on fresh, wholesome food at Kababish Café in Cary. Each dish is custom-made, so they can accommodate special diets.
At dinnertime, feel free to bring your own beer or wine, as Kababish doesn’t sell alcohol.
“We’re happy to provide glasses and a bucket of ice at no charge,” Nawaz said.
Recommended: Tandoori platter featuring a savory assortment of lamb and chicken with grilled onions, sautéed bell peppers and basmati rice.
201 W. Chatham St., #103
Veteran restaurateur Sam Zein serves up legit Mediterranean fare at his airy, counter-service bistro. Cement floors, exposed ductwork and mosaic tile evoke a casual vibe.
Classics are all well represented, from gyros and shawarma to lamb shanks and kebabs. The house sampler platter contains hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, falafel, spicy feta cheese, grape leaves and pita bread.
“We’re using Old World recipes, and we always use the freshest ingredients possible,” said Zein, a soft-spoken native of Lebanon. “Nothing is precooked.”
It’s hard to choose between the Greek and the goat cheese salad.
Among the accessible brick-oven pizzas, standouts include spinach and feta and pesto chicken with sundried tomatoes.
Pita Bon Mediterranean specialties include the chicken shawarma platter with rice, hummus, pickles, tahini and pita bread.
The Greek salad is a tempting side for your meal.
Try the scratch-made baklava or the baked galaktoboureko, an egg custard infused with lemon zest, orange blossom and cinnamon nestled among layers of phyllo dough.
Recommended: Chicken shawarma platter with rice, hummus, pickles, tahini and pita bread.
1207 Kildaire Farm Road
Kildaire Plaza, Cary
This fun, funky, full-service Tex-Mex concept made its debut in April.
1035 Parkside Main St.
Parkside Town Commons, Cary
A national chain, Newk’s has opened its first eatery in the Triangle at the former Hibernian Pub location and serves scratch-made soups, sandwiches, pizzas and salads.
1144 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary
Sassool Mediterranean Café
With an original location in North Raleigh, this family-owned café offers traditional and modern Lebanese fare.
1347 Kildaire Farm Road
The Shoppes of Kildaire, Cary
Situated inside The Mayton Inn boutique hotel, the restaurant plates up inventive, Southern-inspired casual cuisine.
Verandah’s chicken and waffles are served with brown sugar butter and maple syrup for brunch.
301 S. Academy St., Cary
Eggs Up Grill
A franchise concept popular in the Myrtle Beach area, the breakfast-and-lunch spot will open sometime this spring.
“This will be the first Eggs Up Grill in North Carolina, and there is no place I’d rather be than in Fuquay-Varina,” said co-owner/operator Scott Johnson.
1436 N. Main St.
Sexton Commons, Fuquay-Varina
Mason Jar Tavern
A sister location to the acclaimed Holly Springs southern-food outpost is projected to open in May.
“We are overjoyed with the opportunity to serve the Fuquay-Varina community,” said co-proprietor Jonathan Pierce, who shares ownership with his wife, Maggie. “Our menu will be the same, but we will have 30 beer taps, a large bar and a private event space.”
305 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina