2110 Environ Way
East Highway 54
Entrees: $18 — $26
Opened in the fall of 2012, elements is a farm-to-table focused venture of Chef Michael Chuong’s. He opened ăn in Cary in 2006. I have never made it to ăn, but it’s always been high on my must-dine list, so I was thrilled when I learned he was opening a restaurant just a 10-minute drive from my house. I had been to Achira Thai and Sushi, the spot’s former inhabitant, a couple of times. While that was a restaurant with delicious food, it had major problems with wait times for that food. This restaurant does not share that drawback, but it does share the same centerpiece of a table that Achira had.
Otherwise, the restaurant has been redesigned from the cool blues and greens of Achira into much warmer tones of medium wood, pink walls that appear peach in the dim lighting, and orange and red accent pieces. As for service, our waitress was quite pleasant and talkative, but she tended to disappear for significant stretches of time between courses.
As I’m sure will surprise you, I started out with a cocktail from element’s impressive list. The jalapeno cucumber sour is made with Tanqueray 10, jalapeno simple syrup, lemon and grapefruit juices, cucumber water, and a cucumber slice.
I’m pretty sure some cucumbers were muddled up in the drink as well. I am not a big gin fan, but it paired nicely with the cucumber in this elixir, and the spice from the jalapeno amplified the herbal qualities of them both. Using cucumber water in addition to fresh cucumber made a big difference in letting its flavor come through clearly.by