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Tribeca Tavern

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Cary locals have kept their secret long enough. In just months, Tribeca Tavern has become a mecca for fans of gourmet burgers, craft-brewed beers and televised sports, which can be seen from any seat in the house.

Menu highlights include mushroom pizza with garlic oil, goat cheese, red peppers and a liberal sprinkle of fresh thyme ($11); sesame-seared tuna salad with Napa cabbage, wasabi peas and ginger-soy vinaigrette ($13); and 12-hour French dip with short rib and Dijon mustard cream ($12). Inventive appetizers—like homemade chips topped with blue cheese, sriracha and rosemary, dipped in gorgonzola fondue (seriously, it works), or cheesy poofs, made of puff pastry, Brie, cashews and bacon—mean that you, too, can achieve the gastronomic excess of South Park's Cartman.

But wait. There's a separate burger menu with 16 custom burgers and enough artisan cheeses to clog every major artery. Because the meat is ground on-site, burgers can be ordered to taste. Many will appreciate that the Beaufort County cows were, as the menu explains, "hand fed all-natural feed, mother's milk, Bermuda grass & hay twice daily" and that the cows never ingested "growth hormones, additives, antibiotics or chemical feed ... EVER."

Burgers ($12–$14) come with one side (skip the peppery onion rings and bland sweet potato fries; aim for the twice-baked potato or homemade chips). The Blue Devil is hot as hell, with Cajun spice, Wisconsin buttermilk blue cheese, fried jalapeños and pepper bacon. Jimmy the Greek is a sumptuous variation on the gyro, with ground lamb, Chapel Hill feta, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives and tzatziki sauce.

Next time I'll conquer Mastering Augusta: homemade pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and three bacon slices, or the Breakfast Burger's 5-ounce ground beef, 5-ounce sausage patty, Ashe County "Hoop" cheddar, sliced ham, oven-roasted tomatoes, pepper bacon and fried egg.

Decor is high-end, and product has been thoughtfully sourced, with lettuce and heirloom tomatoes from nearby counties, Mt. Olive pickles, Neomonde buns and desserts from sister restaurant Twisted Fork.

Televisions are everywhere. Most booths have flat-screen TVs at eye level, and the walls above are lined with screens, each playing a different sporting event, plus one maniacally flickering music-video station.

Parents who can bear the media blitz will find the best kids' menu we've seen. Five dollars will put a glass of milk, a delicious salmon filet and steamed green beans in front of your child, with a scoop of ice cream, chocolate drizzle and strawberries for dessert.

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