As a food blogger I often have restaurants reach out to me for a visit and a recent request piqued my interest. Northside Bistro and Cocktails had moved into the old Kamado Grille space in N. Raleigh and invited me for a visit. And while I don’t get up in that area that often, I decide to drop in for a couple of meals and was pleasantly surprised. Located in a busy section between Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road, Northside Bistro is a bit hidden but worth the driving effort. Here’s what to expect if you visit this bustling spot!
Northside Bistro & Cocktails- Location, Decor
If you’re familiar with N. Raleigh you might recognize Northside Bistro’s location as being the previous Kamado Grill! But that restaurant was so big, they split it up into TWO restaurants (Cape Fear Seafood Company). Northside has done a nice job with their half of the space bringing some modern flair and decor to the space. The entrance to Northside Bistro is simple and retains some woodwork up front and a slatted pergola overhead, remnants of the previous tenant. But step inside and you’ll find a modern, longish space with colorful glass pendant lamps and slate tiles underfoot. The dining room is very open with booths to one side and a mix of 2-tops and high-top tables in the center. An enclosed patio sits to the right, used primarily for events and parties and a long bar sits in the back with access to the kitchen area behind it. Overall Northside Bistro feels casual but a bit upscale, I can definitely see some business lunches happening here!
Northside Bistro & Cocktails- Food, Menu
Northside Bistro is open for lunch and dinner, my two visits have been for lunch which has a slightly shorter and simpler menu. I would describe the cuisine as Continental, a mix of Italian, French, and American. But there are definitely some twists on the menu, my eyes spy some crispy duck wings along with brie and brussel sprouts which sound like pretty unusual offerings! Prices for your main will range from $15 to the $30s so Northside is certainly not an inexpensive bite!
For starters, the Italian cheese dip is a nice option! A fontina fondue with garlic confit and chile peppers is loaded and luscious with flavor. Served up with some garlic toast pieces, it’s a tasty alternative to chips and queso. And I did cave in and try the crispy duck wings which were certainly unique. The wings are cooked confit-style (again) which means they are slow-cooked in fat and at Northside, the wings are then quickly flash-fried. Overall it sounds like a very time-consuming preparation and these wings are tasty, tender dark duck meat dipped into the pungent orange sauce gives you a classic flavor combination.
A nice lunch option is the seafood crepes which feature two thin, crepes wrapped around shrimp, scallops, and salmon sauteed in a white wine sauce. It’s a flavor-packed meal and paired with the tomato bisque (instead of the standard side salad) a luxurious treat. The steak fajita tacos on special were solid, nicely marinated beef with a smattering of green lettuce and a house-made salsa on the side.
Their blackened salmon caprese is served up with seared cherry tomatoes, roasted vegetables, and topped with a balsamic sauce. As you can tell by Northside’s offerings, the menu leans toward gourmet and elegant classic dishes served up with a little extra care.
Northside Bistro & Cocktails- Conclusion
Service at Northside Bistro is excellent. Your meal is coursed out and plates cleared regularly, it’s definitely a step up from the usual even though their staff is dressed comfortably and casually! And given the prices, I would have expected as much since you are paying a bit more. Overall I do like what Northside Bistro & Cocktails is doing. It reminds me of what you might find up north in NY state. The food is rich and sumptuous in a modern space that shows off some old-school throwback style! There are hints of Italian and French in the menu but the overall common thread is classic Continental eats where calories are NOT spared. And in the end, that works just perfectly, especially if you’re in N. Raleigh and looking for something a bit different for dinner. Northside Bistro & Cocktails will deliver something special for your meal, bon appetit!