The News & Observer
Published: February 18th, 2010
Written by: Greg Cox - Correspondent
On the wall behind the host stand at Bruno is a framed 1993 New York Times article citing the steaks at Manhattan Steak House as the best at a new restaurant in the city. The article is one of several glowing tributes to Bruno Peros, who came to the States from Croatia at age 15 and over the next three decades worked his way up from dishwasher to restaurant owner. Along the way, his resume included stints as a waiter at 21 Club and grill man at the venerable Peter Luger Steakhouse.
After a 15-year successful run as owner/chef of Manhattan Steak House, Peros succumbed to the allures of the sunny South. He opened Bruno in May near Wake Forest. No matter where you live in the Triangle, it's worth the drive.
Not surprisingly, the man can flat out cook a steak. The 14-ounce Delmonico steak is the most succulent slab of beef I've had in recent memory - perfectly seasoned, precisely grilled to medium-rare, properly rested - and a bargain at $23.50.
The Delmonico is one of a half-dozen or so steaks and chops on offer, including an American Kobe that frequently makes an appearance among the nightly specials. All are served with a vegetable du jour or potato, though you can supplement your order with a selection from a steakhouse-style list of à la carte sides ranging from haricots verts to sautéed mushroom caps.
But don't get the impression that Bruno is merely a steakhouse. The diverse offering is an edible travelogue of the well-traveled owner's life and career, from the grilled octopus salad that evokes the Adriatic shores of his childhood to the shrimp and grits nod to his new home.
Peros is clearly passionate about seafood, and his instinct for preparing it is razor sharp. You won't find better oysters Rockefeller hereabouts - or clams Casino, for that matter, or shrimp scampi. Fortunately, you don't have to choose, because an appetizer combination serves up a sampling of all three. As long as you're splurging, go ahead and treat yourself to one of the best Maryland-style crab cakes around.
Assuming you can resist the temptation to binge on more scampi for an entree, seafood options include trout amandine, grilled Atlantic salmon and dry pack sea scallops with a citrusy lemongrass sauce. Don't decide until your server has recited the nightly fresh catch, though, which can range from flounder oreganato to lobster fra diavolo to "Tuscan style" grouper with clams, shrimp and andouille sausage, served over cannellini beans in a white wine reduction. Or, if you're really lucky, whole Chilean turbot, filleted tableside by the chef.
As culturally free-ranging as the menu is, a recurring Italian theme gives it focus. Separate sections are devoted to the veal and chicken classics and to a handful of pasta dishes such as penne alla vodka and seafood Alfredo. I didn't get a chance to sample any of the veal or chicken dishes, but I can vouch for the excellent homemade gnocchi with pesto.
Desserts live up to the high standards set by the savory fare. The selection varies (apple tarte Tatin, a local rarity, makes an occasional appearance), but you can count on textbook renditions of crème brûlée and Italian ricotta cheesecake.
Kitchen miscues are infrequent, minor and cheerfully corrected - a rack of lamb ordered medium-rare, say, and served rare. In fact, there's little fault to be found with any aspect of the dining experience, unless it's your job to look for it.
A move to cheer
The friendly, well-trained wait staff can miss a beat when the restaurant is very busy (as it usually is on a weekend night), but chances are you'll be enjoying your meal too much to notice. The wine list is serviceable but seldom ventures beyond familiar labels.
My only complaint about the dining room - an otherwise inviting pastiche of earth tones, impressionist landscapes and white tablecloths - is the large, cold expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows that dominate half of the soaring space. That should change soon, when drapery panels are installed.
Looking at all those accolades on the wall on the way out, you're struck by the fact that Bruno Peros could easily have chosen to stay in New York and rest on his laurels. Lucky for us, he didn't.
Wakefield Above The Neuse
Written by: Ometrice "O" Morris
Photographed by: Lynn Cañez
Sensory pleasures are definitely the theme at this seductive New York chic restaurant newly opened in Wakefield. Bruno Seafood and Steaks, located in Wakefield Park at 11211 Galleria Avenue, has finally opened and I can say without a doubt that it represents "quintessential downtown Old New York dining" at its best. The stunning contemporary architectural building design, wrapped in ultra modern black awnings, makes for a very stylish entryway. The intimate, sophisticated city atmosphere of the restaurant is smooth, upscale and has a very cool upper Manhattan flavor. You can also add to that mix the crowning touch of excellent service, as the wait staff is personable, attentive and very knowledgeable about the food they are serving. Last but not least a thundering "bravo!" to the well choreographed food presentation because it is totally amazing.
When you combine the elegant surroundings of Monet inspired paintings, eighteen-foot ceilings with exposed hewn beams; stunning black leather and mahogany seating, accented with exquisite white table linens, you have a restaurant with a wow factor that is just spectacular. Light flows through the floor-to-ceiling panoramic arched windows creating a softly glowing interior that keeps the look very captivating and is a big contributor to the restaurant's overall look and feel. Regardless of where you sit, the décor will play its quiet part in what is a seamless dining experience of fine food, service, and unbeatable ambiance. The owner, Bruno Peros, is very personable and very passionate about his food. He is a native New Yorker by way of Croatia, and has been a chef in some of the most famous kitchens in the Big Apple including Peter Lugers, The Monks Inn and Chatfield's of Manhattan.
Putting a label on the exact type of food served is difficult because yes, they do serve steak and seafood, but because of the variety of dishes offered I would venture to call the cuisine Continental. The menu includes wonderful European dishes using chicken, pork, veal, squid, grilled octopus and lamb. After savoring a wonderful glass of wine, start your meal with dishes like shrimp scampi, clams casino and oysters Rockefeller. They serve some of the best calamari I have ever tasted and after asking, I found out that it is cleaned and breaded fresh daily right in the restaurant. The shrimp and grits are delightful and so is the delicious sesame-crusted tuna that is served with mango, wasabi and balsamic reduction sauce-- and these are just a few selections from the list of appetizers! The pasta dishes penne ala vodka, cavatelli, bourbon rigatoni, lobster ravioli, linguine in clam sauce, penne rustica and seafood Alfredo, can be ordered in either regular or appetizer portions. Among the highlights of this trendy eatery are the steak selections. They include filet mignon and a New York Delmonico that is boneless, tender, and 14 ounces of buttery, silk-textured, nearly sweet age-inflected steak. The chicken and veal come in four delectable variations and the lamb chops are listed as a personal favorite of Bruno. The seafood selections include grilled tuna, and grilled Atlantic salmon that is served with sautéed spinach, onions, applesmoked bacon and buerre-blanc sauce.
There is a separate lunch menu that has a vast variety of salads but you can also order from the dinner menu if you choose and all of the dessert selections are exotic and delicious. There is also a charming private area that can be used for parties and special occasions. Bruno Seafood and Steaks is still in its infancy, as of this writing, he has not even had his grand opening. So there is still construction going on to add a lot of additional outdoor seating as well as a marvelous fountain being built beside a lovely cobble stone patio. If the outdoor décor is anything like the inside of this striking restaurant, we are all in for a wonderful treat. So indulge yourself; if your vagabond shoes are longing to stray come and dine. Start spreading the news! It's classy; it's sophisticated and lucky for us this charming restaurant is not located in the city that never sleeps.
The News & Observer
Published: October 13th, 2010
Written by: Greg Cox - Correspondent
There's no shortage of casual restaurants in and around the sprawling Wakefield complex in North Raleigh, but until recently residents in those upscale neighborhoods had to put a few miles on the car if they were in the mood for fine dining. Since the opening of Bruno (11211 Galleria Ave.; 435-6640; www.brunoraleigh.com) in Wakefield Park, they can stay closer to home.
For that matter, it's a good bet that the casually elegant white tablecloth Italian steakhouse will draw fans from farther afield.
Owner Bruno Peros comes to Raleigh from New York, where he once worked at the legendary Peter Luger and subsequently opened his own successful steakhouse.
Peros' experience shows in a menu that covers the classic range of steaks and chops, as well as fresh seafood such as shrimp scampi and trout amandine, and an assortment of chicken, veal and pasta dishes.
Appetizers include oysters Rockefeller, clams Casino and, in a nod to the owner's new home, shrimp and grits. Oysters and clams are also available raw or steamed on the half shell, on request.
Homemade Italian ricotta cheesecake and tiramisu are "just like my Aunt Mary made," says manager/bartender Jim Foglia, "and I'm from New York."
The restaurant has a full bar, and Foglia is developing an ambitious wine list that already offers 12 wines by the glass. Bruno is open for lunch Monday-Friday, and dinner Monday-Saturday.