There’s a surprise at every turn when dining at

The Empanadas de Huitlacoche are blistery crescents of pastry filled with charred sweet corn, black beans and corn fungus (a Mexican delicacy) at in Raleigh // Juli Leonard

Way back in 2010, a restaurant with the peculiar name of bu.ku brought a new concept to the area: global street food in an upscale, casual setting. (Seven years is, after all, practically a geologic epoch in downtown Raleigh, whose culinary landscape has utterly changed in that time span.)

The restaurant’s name, an international phonetic play on the French “beaucoup,” is a clever reference to the menu’s celebration of the world’s many cuisines.

Many, that is, but by no means all. For all its variety, bu.ku’s menu skews decidedly to the Eastern Hemisphere, particularly Asia.

Turns out owners Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins weren’t finished with their global exploration. In March, they set sail for the New World, teaming up with veteran chef Todd Ohle to open in March in Cameron Village. The new restaurant focuses on the cuisines of Latin America and the Caribbean – or, as’s name cryptically suggests, South of the Tropic of Cancer., in Cameron Village, offers a variety of outdoor and patio seating in addition to its cosmopolitan dining room. // Juli Leonard

Read the full review by Greg Cox here
2130 Clark Ave., Raleigh
Cuisine: Latin American, Caribbean

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