This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:
Downtown Cary’s appeal as a dining destination got noticeably brighter on Tuesday, when Academy Street Bistro (200 S. Academy St.; 919-377-0509; academystbistro.comacademystbistro.com) opened its doors for the first time. The restaurant is the first venture for owner/chef Brian Fitzgerald, a Culinary Institute of America grad who cut his culinary teeth in New York (including Maxim’s and, most recently, the Harvard Club).
Fitzgerald has given the former Klara’s space a fresh new look (but wisely kept the attractive patio), setting a suitably upscale-casual mood for his French-inflected contemporary menu.
But don’t take “French-inflected” to mean stuffy of tradition-bound. Mixed in among the likes of goujonette of lemon sole, roasted vegetable Napoleon, diver scallops with carrot ginger puree, and grilled sirloin steak with truffled twice-baked potatoes, you’ll also find a cheeseburger.
Granted, the cheese is Vermont white cheddar, and it’s served on a brioche bun with caramelized onions, applewood-smoked bacon and a side of classic fries. But still.
The wine-list is appropriately bistro-sized: a dozen or so by the glass, and a handful by the bottle. The taps that once dispensed Czech beers at Klara’s are now for the most part devoted to local brews.
For now, Academy Street is open for dinner only, Tuesday-Saturday. Chef Fitzgerald plans to add lunch service in two weeks, followed a couple weeks later by Sunday brunch.
Send restaurant news to Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.