Now, I’m a Blue Devil fan. Ok, ok. All my Wolfpacker friends, don’t faint. It’s not the team or the college in Durham NC that’s on the good side of my radar today. That, for reasons known by many, would never happen. But every now and then, you run into something that convinces you that the substance is a lot more important than the name. It happened last night.
It was our second visit to Tribeca Tavern at the corner of High House Road and Davis Drive in Cary. The first visit, soon after Rocky Top Hospitality, a Raleigh-based restaurateur with a total of six eateries, took over the spot from a failed effort of someone else, was good on service and attention but not so memorable to me with food and drink.
But, after reading an encouraging restaurant review by Greg Cox of The News & Observer, we knew there would be a second visit at an opportune time. Last night was apt for various reasons, the least of which was needing to spend the money out but the obvious of which was to get out of the house on a hot, steamy evening and enjoy someone else’s cool atmosphere and hot food.
The Cox review had proclaimed the burgers as above the worth of consumption, noting the delicacies are formed daily from “locally” raised cattle. As a matter of fact, Rocky Top and Tribeca uses locally produced bread and vegetables as well as beef. From the menu, which seems to have escaped the premises last night, but which can also be downloaded from http://www.tribecataverncary.com/menu/:
“At Tribeca Tavern we use all-natural Blue Ribbon Angus beef from Coastal Cattle Company in Beaufort County, NC. The cows are hand fed all-natural feed, mother’s milk, Bermuda grass & hay twice daily. No growth hormones, additives, antibiotics or chemical feed is EVER used. We grind burgers in house every single day adding ribeye & filet trimmings to obtain the perfect fat content for an over the top flavorful burger that will change your life! We are proud to support NC farmers & growers. This spring/summer we are featuring Romaine lettuce from PIK Produce - Kenly, NC & Trust heirloom tomatoes from Barham Farms – Zebulon, NC. All of our bread is baked daily at Neomonde bakery in Cary, NC. & all Burgers are served with Mt. Olive, NC pickles.”
While the fish tacos, made last night with locally harvested catfish (not sure which lake), were a delicious repeat selection for the other side of the four-top table in the quieter back room at Tribeca after asking to be moved from a similar selection just outside the noisy kitchen door, I went right to the Chef’s Burger menu, a miniature of the larger display and one that’s only for burger selections. I’m quick to stop short of saying “hamburger” because that refers to a patty of ground beef, and that mixture with the trimmings of ribeye and filet give the burgers at Tribeca a better taste than just ground beef or ground chuck, my when-cooking-at-home-on-the-grill selection of ground red meat.
But, it’s more than that. On the main menu, you’ll find veggie burgers, turkey burgers, crab burgers and salmon burgers. And, on the burger menu is a ground lamb choice, the Jimmy The Greek, with Chapel Hill Feta, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and tzatziki sauce. There’s “The” Breakfast Burger: 5 ounces of ground beef with a 5-ounce sausage patty, “Hoop” cheddar, sliced ham, oven roasted tomatoes, pepper bacon, and fried egg. And (are you seated with your heart-attack pills at your side), there’s Glutton’s Glory: 10-ounce beef patty, 8-ounce Kobe patty, 8-ounce lamb patty, 5-ounce spicy sausage, “Hoop” cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack & American cheeses, 8 slices of bacon & fried salami on batter brioche. While the Greek and the Breakfast burgers sell for $14 and $13, respectively, the Glutton has a $40 list price with this disclaimer: Only $20 of 1 person finishes it in house! Hand me those pills and call the EMT.
After reading about The Wolfpack burger—two 5-ounce beef patties, NC pepper jack, pepper bacon, BBQ sauce, topped with a beer battered onion ring, lettuce, tomato & onion for $11—and laughing at the appropriateness of the Tar-Heel burger—ground beef, red wine glazed onions, Carolina Moon Brie, lettuce, tomato & onion for $11 (if you don’t get it call former Florida State basketball player Sam Cassell)—and after studying the other unique burger selections and descriptions, I settled on the Blue Devil, a combination of ground beef with Cajun spaces, Roaring 40’s blue cheese, friend jalapeños, pepper bacon, lettuce, tomato & onion for $11.
It was delicious, just as is. I suggest that additional condiments are not required at first glance. No mustard; no mayo; definitely no ketchup. The Blue Devil (and I’m sure the other burgers) is tasty just as is. At the very least take a couple of bites before proceeding with the other junk that will change the taste from being life altering. And, it was cooked perfect for me. I requested medium, and it was pink and juicy, just how I like my burgers. One side dish came with it and the choice of sweet potato fries (the waffle shaped kind) with a small cup of rum maple sauce for dipping was excellent.
Tribeca also supports North Carolina beers on draft with at least nine selections plus Rocky Top’s own Mash House beers produced at its Mash House Brewery & Chophouse in Fayetteville. The Mash House choices are: Blonde, Red, IPA, Hefeweizen, Stout and Porter. As I’ve become fond of New Castle, the bartender, as we waited for a table, suggested I try the Mash House Red, described as light bodied and very drinkable, a traditional Irish Ale. Scrumptious is a good utterance. But do not be fooled by the words “light bodied” as the color is dark but the taste is as advertised.
An at the table, the combination of the Mash House Red and the Blue Devil burger was perfect, at least for me. I enjoy spicy food. The Cajun seasoning was not so piquant, and the fried jalapeños gave the burger a nice kick. The pepper bacon was a nice touch and the onion was just right. Overall, the burger and the beer were excellent. I’m now a fan of both, especially the Blue Devil, not easy for a Wolfpacker to admit, but, in this case, once tried, I’m sure some of my closest Red & White followers would agree.