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604 West Morgan Italian Eatery – CLOSED

Posted by DID 28 Sep 2010 20 Comments

So last weekend Durham hosted the NC Gay Pride Celebration, which in addition to parades, parties, packed bars and various events meant that every restaurant in town was full.

Already parked in the general vicinity, our party of three decided to check out the newly opened 604 West Morgan (in the space that formerly housed Tosca). Off the beaten path and new enough, we were able to easily stroll in with no reservation and grab a table on Saturday night at 8 pm.

Inside, 604 West Morgan looks a lot like Tosca with a semi-formal Italian vibe. Note: Cinelli’s (which had to move because of the Whole Foods expansion) has also reopened in what was once Tosca’s private room. From the outside, Cinelli’s has a casual vibe, bright with lots of TV’s.

604 West Morgan has a menu similar to Tosca’s as well, traditional Italian with pizzas, pasta dishes and entrée selections. Prices vary from $12 for most pizzas, $17 for pasta dishes and over $20 for most entrees. The menu says all pasta is made in-house and there does seem to be some local sourcing.

I ordered the scallops, crab meat, lobster and mussels over squid ink pasta in a lobster cognac sauce. It was creamy, decadent and really, really good. A large bowl overflowing with scallops, shrimp, mussels and lobster hid the rich, slightly sweet squid ink pasta. We also ordered a Vessuvio pizza and the Lamb Ragu. The pizza (smoked sea salt shrimp, roasted tomato, red onion and tellagio cheese) was large enough for two and rivaled Pop’s in both flavor combination and quality of ingredients. And the ragu (braised lamb shank chick pea, cippoloni onion, roasted carrot over cavatelli)? Well all three dishes were winners, but on a cold, rainy night it’d be hard to beat a bowl of this rich, meaty stew poured over the fresh, doughy cavatelli.

There were a few missteps, towel lint in our wine glass and curdled milk in our coffee, but these seemed like the mistakes of a restaurant that is only a few weeks old and because the food was so tasty, worth overlooking. 604 West Morgan is definitely worth checking out next time you’re looking for a nicer dinner option near downtown and a welcome addition to the Durham restaurant scene.


(Note: The website seems very much under construction, and the menu online does not match the one they are using at the restaurant.)

604 West Morgan Durham, NC 27701


  • burgeoningfoodie said:

    Glad to hear a report. Saw someone else had a preview from their soft opening as well. Do you know when they expect to do their Grand Opening? I saw a picture of some Sicilian Style pizza which looked good. Will have to try it out soon.

    On another note, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of the curdled milk in coffee mistake (I mean unless the milk was just curdled as oppose to coming out like cottage cheese).


    Ilene replies on September 28th, 2010 at 5:25 pm:

    Hi There
    They already had their opening this past Thursday—by invitation only. i was out of town but my husband went and said it was wonderful. We have eaten there about 15 times since they took over Tosca’s space. We just love the food and the service. They actually have two restaurants in one–604 West and Cinelli’s. You can order off either menu or both from your table. Our favorites have been the Risotto of the day (best deal in Durham at $11!!!!) and the Nonna’s Pizza.


    burgeoningfoodie replies on October 1st, 2010 at 12:29 pm:

    How is it you’ve eaten their 15 times if the restaurant has been open for only 7 days?


  • Ted said:

    I am a bit confused. Is there any relationship or shared kitchen between Cinelli’s & 604 West Morgan?

    If there is not, it seems very odd to have two very similar restaurants adjacent to one another — and a stone’s throw from the new Pop’s space!

    Is this now Durham’s Little Italy?!?


  • Gregor Samsa said:

    No, it does not have a menu similar to Tosca’s. Tosca was faux Italian, and its menu never changed. I have been to 604WestMorgan a dozen times and there are frequently new items on the menu. It’s a welcoming place.


  • Ted said:

    Thanks Gregor… I agree that the 604 menu looks very different than Tosca. That’s not my question. I understand Tosca is gone and the staff / owners have departed.

    I was wondering if there is any shared kitchen or relationship between Cinelli’s & 604. They are adjacent, yes? Tosca’s private function room didn’t have its’ own kitchen, did it?


  • 9/9 said:

    This place opened last Thursday, and we have someone here who has been there 15 times and another who has been there 12 times?


    peanutbutter replies on September 29th, 2010 at 8:10 am:

    It is true! I have eaten there 24 1/2 times myself. I mean, where else can you find $11 risotto?!!


    judas_escargot replies on September 29th, 2010 at 9:16 am:

    24 1/2 isn’t bad, but I personally lost count after my 37th time. The secret? Finish your food, walk out, then immediately walk back in and get reseated for the next round. Eat quickly so you can pack in as many meals as possible during one service and remember–you have to completely exit the restaurant if you want it to count as a separate visit.


    Gregor Samsa replies on September 29th, 2010 at 9:28 am:

    Its “official” opening may have been last Thursday, but it opened for business several weeks before that.


    burgeoningfoodie replies on October 1st, 2010 at 12:31 pm:

    Sorry I didn’t catch this before I posted. My reply.


  • DID (author) said:

    see Greg Cox’s article about the attached spot.

    “The ink was barely dry on that column when rookie restaurateur Sean Shea announced that he had teamed up with veteran chef Gianni Cinelli to open yet another pair of restaurants with a common address.”

    I wasn’t saying it was the same menu, i was saying it is, like Tosca, Italian at it’s roots and many of the wait staff is in fact that same as that of Tosca. According to Bull City Rising the staff was offered positions in the new restaurant.

    “DM reports that one element in the agreement to sell was Shea’s willingness to give all Tosca employees a shot at employment with the new venture, so expect to see familiar faces at the Morgan St. location.”



  • DID (author) said:

    and the bartender told us they had been open for four weeks as of this past Saturday night.


    burgeoningfoodie replies on October 1st, 2010 at 12:36 pm:

    We went there the last weekend in August and they didn’t even have a menu yet.. so it may have been open, but their menu wasn’t finished. There was an article in Durham Magazine on the 20th of August..



  • Ed said:

    We went there on December 11. Good wine list, tasty appetizers (only one piece of bread per person). After 90 minites with no dinner and nothing but a “sorry” from the waitress, we left as we had theater tickets (which we had told her about). When we left no dinners had been served to any of the other tables either. No manager ever came to the table, no information was offered about what was going on. Nobody asked or seemed to care if we were satisfied. The menu looks good but we cannot comment on the food itself. I would say “buyer beware”. Something is clearly not working for this restaurant.


  • Ed said:

    Gotta give some credit here – the owner contacted me after I posted my experience on yelp.com and has apologized, explained what happened and made it right. We’ll go back and try it again.


  • Sabrina said:

    I eat at 604 West Morgan two times a week. Love the atmosphere, the new owners and the food. Check out the Grandma’s pizza…best in town. Also the homemade soups are wonderful.


  • Tooth said:

    The “Grandma’s Pizza” at 604 West is exactly the same as the “Nonna’s Pizza” at Bocci (Nonna is Italian for Grandmother). Someone once told me that the folks who run Bocci used to be involved with the folks at Cinelli’s, hence some of the same menu items. Most notably the pizza.


  • digimon said:

    We went there for the first time the other night. Unimpressed. My risotto was bland, the scallops didn’t taste fully cooked–and cost $24, not $12. One person got the clams with linguini and said it was just okay. What really bothered me was that they automatically added a 20 percent tip to the bill–I’ve seen this on parties of six or more, but there were only four of us, and there was no indication anywhere on the menu that this would be done. Don’t think we’ll be go back.


  • Heather said:

    604 has been one of my favorite restaurants since you reviewed it in Sept of 2010. Whenever my family is in town, we always go and everyone has their favorites. I went the other night with a friend who was visiting and was so disappointed to see that some of our favorites were no longer on the menu. Evidently, 604 has a new chef and he has switched some items out and made changes to others. Without paying attention, I ordered the ink pasta and was disappointed when it came out with a tomato sauce instead of the creamy, decadent sauce that it once came with. Everything in the dish was prepared perfectly, but it really couldn’t compare to the original dish. The amazing chopped salad is no longer on the menu, but the kitchen gladly accommodated our request for one. Yum! My friend’s risotto was unbelievably delicious. We also had an amazing strawberry tiramisu for dessert!
    As always, the service was outstanding! Overall, the experience was nice and the food was quite good, with the exception of the run-of-the-mill tomato sauce on the ink pasta. Just know going in that some of your favorites are no longer available. My mom is going to be so upset…


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