Wednesday, July 25, 2012

JD's Stands Out in the Crowd

In today's crowded sports bar and tavern maket, it's refreshing to find distinctive standout JD's Tavern in Apex. This is a neighborhood-style hangout where you fully expect the waitress to call you by name and bring you a beverage even before you order it. Think Salem Street Pub with less natural light and more noise, only JD's boasts a cozier vibe.

Two friends named Jim and Dave are the establishment's co-proprietors (thus the name JD's), and their goal is to provide a fun-filled atmosphere with quality provisions and first-rate service. Based on my weeknight dining experience recently, I'd say they are off to a fine start.

Atop the tempting sandwich options is the signature patty melt, a nine-ounce Angus burger served with carmelized onion, American and Swiss cheese and fresh-baked marbled rye bread from Neomonde Baking Company. Solid entree choices include sautéed tilapia with a sun-dried tomato citrus white wine butter sauce topped with feta cheese and diced tomatoes; sizzling fajitas topped with Cajun dry rub, Teriyaki, BBQ or Red Eye Hot sauce; and Asiago chicken bowtie pasta.

It's nice to see a tavern with such a strong commitment to serving quality provisions. Take, for example, the fresh fruit cup I ordered alongide my burger. The bananas, strawberries and grapes were as good as I've tasted anywhere. Even the onion rings are served with a house-made zesty horseradish dipping sauce.

When it comes to suds available on tap, JD's boasts a good balance of North Carolina beers along with ales like SweetWater 420, Hoptical Illusion, Fat Tire and Blue Moon. What's more, each month four of the taps are overrun by a unique craft brewery. A good-sized bar is easily accessible and provides seating for about 15 patrons. Check the website for nightly drink specials.

A plethora of flat-screen televisions are well-positioned throughout the dining room (and even on the outdoor patio). The main dining area features a cement floor with mixture booths and high tables.

Service is friendly and accommodating, and there's trivia available on Tuesday nights and live music several Wednesday nights each month (check the website for the event calendar).

Photos courtesy of JD's Tavern. Used with permission.

 JD's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Engrigo Satisfies

If you haven't checked out Cary's revitalized Waverly Place shopping center lately, you definitely need to pay it a visit. Upgraded landscaping, exquisite water fountains and spiffy new shops make it a first-rate destination.

Among the most notable businesses worth checking out at Waverly is Enrigo, a bona fide Italian eatery tucked away on the lower level. Plenty of people have managed to find the inviting bistro and the rewarding cuisine it dishes up.

When weather permits, al fresco dining is a refreshing alternative to the typical experience. Service is generally pleasant and attentive, though at times staff tend to get a bit overwhelmed.

At lunchtime, you can't go wrong with a panini served on delectable housemade bread. Among the half dozen offerings, the chicken pesto with sundried tomatoes stands apart. It's well worth the $10 pricetag.

Nearly a dozen selections of thin-crust pizzas give diners plenty of savory choices to consider. Standouts include  the namesake Enrigo (prosciutto, arugula, and three types of cheese) and salmone (smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese). A create-your-own pie is also a solid option.

I've yet to dine at Enrigo at dinnertime, but I look forward to trying a scratch-made pasta dish with one of nearly a dozen sauces (likely bolognese). Buon appetito!

 Enrigo Italian Bistro on Urbanspoon