Monday, March 4, 2013

Gluten Free Raleigh - bu ku Global Street Food

Cambodia Roll
Saturday afternoon Chris and I had a date lunch at bu ku Raleigh, a really beautiful restaurant in downtown Raleigh. There's a large patio that would be a perfect spot to sit on a much warmer day than when we visited. While a very elegant restaurant it's also really comfortable.

The wonderful thing about bu ku is they cover so many cuisines that there is really something for everyone and the small plates are meant to be shared. Perfect for spending time together and catching up. What really impressed us was that despite the variety, each dish was true to its heritage. Nothing is dumbed down or homogenized - everything is fresh and full of flavor. Check out their video on their home page to see what I mean.

Their gluten free menu is really large and varied. We chose some small dishes to share and split dessert. It was hard to narrow down our choices to just a few. We decided to really vary our choices rather than sticking to one cuisine.

We started with the Cambodia Roll which is a rice paper summer roll full of shrimp, avocado, carrot, cucumber and lots of spinach and just a bit of fresh herbs. There was a nice creamy peanut sauce to dip. It was a perfect blend of flavors - more spinach that I would have thought could have worked in a summer roll - but it was perfect. It left me wanting to order another that I didn't have to share.

Aloo Chana Chaat
But the Aloo Chana Chaat and Empanadas were being served and I was easily distracted.

The Aloo Chana Chaat is an Indian dish with a twist. A crispy and spicy potato cake is topped with chickpeas, cucumber, cabbage, raita, tamarind and cilantro chutney. The mix of textures and components that ranged from crispy to creamy, very hot to cool was amazing. There was a bit of a fork war over that one, I will admit to that.

The Empanadas were really a treat as I haven't had one in a decade. These were filled with chipotle braised chicken and topped with guacamole, tomato and queso fresco. The crispy thin crust was to die for. The spicy but not too hot shredded chicken was so good - luckily there were two and we didn't have to battle.

While we were enjoying these last two treats we decided to really indulge and order one more item and chose the Massaman Hot Pot. A yellow coconut curry full of cinnamon and spice but not hot - just flavorful - and full of veggies. There was enough of this warming curry soup for at least two bowls for each of us.
Massaman Hot Pot

Not that we needed dessert after all those wonderful dishes, but we were easily talked into it. The only gluten free dessert the day we visited was the Trilogy of Creme Brulees. While Chris loves a good Creme Brulee but it's never been one of my favorite dishes. This dessert changed my mind.

As with everything we tried the presentation was beautiful. Each little pot was garnished with one berry to compliment its flavor. Between the pots were little slices of strawberry with tiny greens in a balsamic reduction. A nice treat between very sweet bites. The traditional vanilla was very good. The ginger was mild but with just enough ginger to give it a little delicious kick. The chocolate, however, was my favorite. A very grown up chocolate pudding flavor with a creme brulee texture. Perfect!

Our waiter, Alex was friendly, informative and professional and helped make our meal a really nice experience. I can't wait to go back.


Laura said...

Wow- nice pix and descriptions. I want to bring my man there right away. Sounds delish! Glad you and your sweetie got some time away- even though you battled each other for portions- haha!
I can see why. yum. :)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

I love your restaurant reviews! I'd go to this restaurant just for that cream brulee try! :-)


chacha said...

Laura, I think you and Bob would really enjoy it - can you believe all of our options downtown all of the sudden? Let me know when you go.

Shirley, if you're ever down this way I think you'd enjoy. I'd love to meet you there for dessert!

Mary said...

The food you've described sounds wonderful. It sounds like your "date" was a huge success. I hope you've had a great day. Blessings...Mary

weirdcombinations said...

Very cool restaurant, beautiful flavors. I have not been to North Carolina yet when I do I hope that I can check this place out.