It’s hard to keep up with all the new restaurants in Durham! One of the newest is Mothers & Sons Trattoria brought to you by Matt Kelly-Josh DeCarolis (Mateo) and right next to their other new restaurant, Lucky Delicatessen. Given their success at Mateo, I was curious to try out Mothers & Sons and its Italian eats. Luckily I was able to convince a couple of friends and grab a reservation (the place is popular) and here’s how it all went down…
We show up at about 6:30pm on a Sunday night and the place is about 2/3 full. I really like what they’ve done with the interior here. Wood plank flooring, red stamped metal roof with matching air ducts along with a large section of stacked wood up by the kitchen. It all feels cozy, rustic and very well done, just like Mateo! We’re brought to a 4-top on the side, grab our menus to figure out a plan of attack for dinner. Mothers & Sons has a shorter list of hot and cold apps, pastas and entrees which is fine if it’s well done. And be aware that the menu relies heavily on Italian words so you may have questions for your server! Most of the apps and pastas are in the $8 to $12 range with entrees at $20 to $26. I go with some of my faves: arancini, cavatelli pasta with sausage along with the roast chicken.
After a short wait my arancini arrives along with some other starters for the table. The arancini consists of three perfectly fried balls sitting on I think, fava bean puree. The arancini (risotto balls) were a bit different here showing off a lot of toothsome density along with a smooth, crunchy coating. Good stuff! A plate of gnocchi next to me looked beautiful. Presented with prosciutto and a cheese sauce, the mix of colors and textures here are tantalizing to the eyes and appetite.
Next up was the cavatelli with sausage, rapini and calabrian chiles. A very light dish prepared in a bit of broth, note that Mothers & Sons makes their pasta in-house and you can certainly tell by the texture and less than perfect shapes on the plate! This dish is excellent with warm, supple pasta set off by the meatiness of the sausage and the bitter of the greens, a classic dish. And the chiles give it just a bit of pop and heat on the palate.
For the entree I went with a 1/2 chicken which is roasted over wood along with some seared cauliflower and broccoli. Very nice but let’s face it, it’s hard to do chicken in a spectacular fashion! But given how well the overall meal has run, we opt to eat dessert here rather than hitting up Parlour for ice cream. And it’s a wise choice! At the table we’ve got some zeppoli in caramel sauce along with a lemon polenta cake with blueberry conserve and both are excellent! The zeppoli are soft and springy, paired perfectly with a deep caramel sauce. And I LOVE the polenta cake, it’s amazing. Light on the plate and drizzled with some olive oil and contrasted against the rich, fruity blueberry. A dollop of marscapone cheese on top makes it a wonderful combination of flavors and textures, delish!
All in all I can honestly say that here in the Triangle we are seeing a wonderful resurgence for Italian food in the dining scene and you can add Mothers & Sons Trattoria near the top of that list. It offers up excellent and real Italian food in a very comfortable setting that’s casual but a bit classy. And prices are right in the middle for Durham, you can probably save a bit if you focus on appetizers and pastas. But definitely don’t miss dessert here! So thanks so much Mothers & Sons for the surprising meal. Out of the two new restaurants on the street (Littler), I think you’re doing things just a bit better…
107 W Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701