Nue is the brainchild of Chris Cvetkovich, a self-proclaimed travel aficionado and all-around food geek, who turned his lifelong passion into reality. After a career in 3D animation and food science, Cvetkovich opened Nue almost two years ago, as a culmination of a new dream; one where he could share his favorite dishes from around the world with Seattle. While toying with names for his new venture, Cvetkovich decided on Nue, which is a supernatural Japanese creature, and cobbled together a menu with selected dishes from different countries. While it’s not a restaurant you would frequent often, it’s one that you should try in order to taste global flavors.
We tasted a variety of dishes, from Vietnam to South Africa, and there were winners and some that were just so-so. Some were palatable, while others had shock value. We started with the South African Bunny Chow, a dish with Indian origin. It consisted of chicken breast, Indian masala, lime, and cilantro, served in a Pullman bread bowl. The curry was a flavorful chicken tikka masala, with good spice and complex flavors. It was better than any chicken tikka masala we’ve ever had in the western hemisphere. We found the bread bowl to be hearty, but too much, yet we kept coming back to this dish, even after other dishes arrived.
Photos by: foodolish.com
The stand out for us was the Thai Mang Da Na, or three large Thai Water Beetles, for the uninitiated. These were sashimi-grade beetles, clocking in at $4 apiece, and arrived with a rice ball rolled in what appeared to be black sesame seeds (don’t quote us on that). There was a trick to eating these; you first pull off the wings, detach the head, open the cavity, and eat the guts. Yum. Straight up, the beetles were intensely floral and unlike anything we have ever tasted. Our first reaction was that they tasted like salty apple, or a jolly rancher. For you highly adventurous eaters out there, we highly recommend trying these.
Amongst the dishes we tried, the Laotian Nhen Khao (crispy rice salad) also stood out. It consisted of crispy fried curry rice, house-fermented pork sausage, peanuts, betel leaf, shallot, mint, coriander, fried chili, lime juice, and fish sauce. Scoops of the salad were placed in cabbage leaves, with a drizzle of fish sauce, which gave the dish texture and contrast. Bits of crispy rice and sausage permeated the dish, and we found it perfectly refreshing. If fish sauce isn’t your thing (it’s not everyone’s), avoid it at all costs.
Lest we forget, the alcoholic beverages! If you love Vietnamese coffee, the McNguyen is for you. It’s Nue’s take on an Irish coffee, and we dare say, it’s better than the original, with Kern Irish Whiskey, Vietnamese coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and simple syrup. We could’ve drank 10 of these. No joke. The rest of the cocktail menu is spins on classics and puns, such as the Lerma Drop (lemon drop), the Disgruntled Gabor, and the Violette Femmes. We found the Violette Femmes to be incredibly sweet and heavy on the lemon sherbet, and the habanero infused tequila in the lerma drop was an acquired taste.
Cvetkovich is currently scoping space in South Lake Union for a lunch spot, and starting January 9, 2017, will be hosting ‘One World’ dinners consisting of 5-6 courses, with a focus on a specific country. First up is Indonesia, and tickets are available online.
Nue | 1519 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 | Open 7 days a week