This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:
After several successful trial runs, Garland (14 W. Martin St.; 919-833-6886; garlandraleigh.com) formally opens its doors this week in downtown Raleigh.
Well, not its doors, exactly. The dining room is still getting a makeover from its previous incarnation as Martin Street Pizza, and is expected to be ready by fall.
In the meantime, the first phase of the concept takes the form of a walkup window, sidewalk tables and a ledge along the storefront where people can grab a quick bite without sitting down.
“I got the idea from northern Spain, where little shops sell food that you eat standing up,” says owner Cheetie Kumar, a noted local musician whose credits also include mixologist for Neptune’s Parlour downstairs.
The versatile Kumar looks to another continent for inspiration for her menu, which covers a lot of territory with fewer than a dozen listings. Contemporary riffs on Asian fare range from bibimbap-inspired rice bowls with kimchee-style pickles to potato croquettes stuffed with shredded fresh coconut, cashew and raisins.
Indian cuisine is particularly well-represented, as are vegetarian options. Roti rolls, a twist on a popular street food that goes by the name of Frankies in India, are offered in both Heritage Farms pork and tofu versions. You can get chicken 65 or its cauliflower cousin. Wash either down with a beer or, if you like, slip downstairs to Neptune’s Parlour for one of Cheetie Kumar’s creations.
Initially, Garland will serve dinner only, Tuesday-Saturday nights. In the coming weeks, Kumar plans to expand hours to include lunch and late night.
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.