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Nude Nu News


jamiemaw
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For those of you who may have missed the article in The Globe yesterday, here is my column on the development of the menus at Nu.

GOING OUT: The Dish

Next Nu Thing

By Jamie Maw

Harry Kambolis, the quietly affable proprietor of C and Raincity Grill, and a champion of culinary locality and sustainability, saw his main chance and he took it. But the opening of a new restaurant, no matter what the Food Network show Opening Soon might have you believe, is about much more than banging nails and hanging drywall.

At Nu, Kambolis’s new oceanfront dining room, the modern but detailed décor, False Creek views and expansive balconies will be important features, but the real work arrived in the form of menu conception and development.

Enter chefs Rob Belcham and Rob Clark, who cook nightly for Kambolis at the next-door C, the country’s most forward seafood restaurant. You might think that Nu’s waterfront location, under the False Creek Yacht Club, might inspire a downstream take on seafood. After all, every one else is doing it—extending their brand that is. Feenie’s and Go Fish! have enhanced cash flow for Rob Feenie and Gordon Martin, based on the reputations they gained at their respective Lumière and Bins 941/942.

But at Nu, which means naked in French, but sounds like new (but you knew that) in English, you’d be only half right. For the menus—as surprising and exciting as they are well-executed—are deconstructed New French, and although they wade into the Pacific, sometimes brilliantly, they’re not tied to it. Now, after several months of development and testing, and two trial runs that I sat in on, they’re ready to be green-lighted. Those menus, after yet more tweaking, will reflect how we local citizens want to eat today: casually, but with well-informed food and intelligent service.

But first, I wanted to know if they could cook outside the bento-box.

The menus are divided into amuses, then small and principal plates. The amuses, priced per piece from $2.75, will combine bites of smoked paprika-marinated octopus salad, crisped dry-cured ham-enrobed plum or smoked sablefish with apple salad. Snacks to drink with: Fried, lightly battered olives with chilli, mint and orange zest ($3.75) and extraordinary chevre-stuffed (drumlet roll, please) chicken wings rendered in a chilli-spiked sweet and sour sauce ($8.50 for four). Crispy pork ribs ($8.50) and C’s salmon candy ($6.50) are other deconstructed takes on bar-room classics, while deep-fried duck and foie gras croquettes, on a sexily unmade bed of Puy lentils, are as lusty as a quality drinking buddy.

It’s a rich menu (the Gruyere and onion, and oxtail soups, especially), but edited for lightness with a retinue of salads. One, of albacore, beets and arugula in a punchy vinaigrette, stole my breath. And another, which combined frisée, poached egg and warmed bacon vinaigrette, seemed just right for surveying the callisthenic view of the seawall.

Principal plates see a hearty duck confit over rhubarb ($18), flat iron steak a la béarnaise with allumette potatoes ($19), and a canoe-sized platter of caramelized lamb cheeks ($19) in a suave and refreshing minted sauce.

The menu sheds its clothing (and its French trace lines), one garment at a time. So does the new room. “I wanted Nu to be shapely and rounded,” says Kambolis, “like a good woman.” Where the menu gets actually naked, however, fittingly comes last, in the simple seafood I’d been anticipating. Unashamedly nude, chilled and served with a lemony olive oil dip (the jury’s still out on red sauce), you’ll see poached prawns ($12 and a welcome relief from those vulcanized Thai tigers served at lesser joints); marinated clams ($8), and steamed lobster and Dungeness crab, both priced at market. There is also a platter of local cheeses, and a French-tilted dessert card that includes a nifty lemon tart, some chocolate confections, and an exemplary, miniature tarte Tatin.

The room will be as pretty as the people who will undoubtedly flock to it. Onyx-topped tables will lift white napery, shapely white plates and black-handled German stainless steel implements, redundant for the entry courses of the handy menu. Stonework will rim the walls; elaborate chandeliers will punctuate the sightlines. “We want our customer to get involved,” Kambolis says, “and to stay interested.” The wine list, currently being assembled by the redoubtable Tom Doughty, will embrace the Okanagan, Alsace, Washington and other regions. Nu will be managed by Edwyn Kumar (ex-Lumière).

Menu development (amidst the maelstrom that physically detailing a restaurant demands) is a series of small steps. In this case, “We may have started with a French dictionary,” Kambolis says, “but we’ve translated that into our very own and local lexicon.” I agree. Even in the two-week period between testings, the menu has markedly evolved and the chefs have deconstructed classics while adding their own imprimatur.

You should look forward—into the setting sun with a glass of good rosé in hand—and get a little excited, about getting naked at Nu.

Nu is scheduled to open mid-June at 1661 Granville St., 604-646-4668.

Arrivals and Departures

So very sadly, and too soon gone from here, Joel Thibault, who with Jean-Claude Ramond pioneered the renaissance of Gastown and French cooking in the early 70’s with his romantic Chez Joel, has died of cancer.

Ruy Paes-Braga, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver for many years has moved to his native Portugal for to manage the Canadian chain’s Lisbon property. Paes-Braga’s winemaker’s and producer’s dinners showcased his Chartwell kitchen’s outstanding brigade of chefs, many of whom now command serious restaurants of their own.

Local hero Michael Noble, ex-Four Seasons and who opened Diva at the Met before moving to Calgary to head up Catch, has taken on the role of director of culinary and product development at Earls Restaurants. Said Earls president Stanley Fuller of Noble, who has also been a stalwart Team Canada Bocuse d’Or leader, “We’re happy Michael found us and that we found him.” Fuller and Noble will open their new Paramount Place location this summer, and with Stewart Fuller, the Saltlik steakhouse concept on Thurlow (in the former Bruce retail space) near Burrard in early autumn.

The battle for downtown hotel dining supremacy is fully enjoined, with the Metropolitan’s brigade fully engaged under executive chef Ray Henry in dishes of pork gyoza and citron-foam, and house-cured halibut carpaccio with crab and shrimp fritters. At the nearby Wedgewood, Lee Parsons has rolled out his new menus; his fondant of salmon, which is also available in the bar, has become an instant signature.

EnRoute Magazine (Air Canada’s food savvy in-flight guide) will shortly dispatch food writer Chris Johns on a cross-country look in at The Best New Restaurants in Canada. Likely candidates in Vancouver: Chambar, Cassis, Rangoli, Shiru-Bay, Coast, Lift and Go Fish!, each of which describes our casual dialectic.

Mission Hill Winery proprietor Anthony von Mandl is being inducted into the Order of British Columbia next month for his contributions to the wine industry and the Okanagan Valley wine country. He has also been appointed as first Canadian president of the International Wine and Spirit Competition; previous presidents include Baroness Phillipine de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi. Von Mandl, whose own reserve chardonnay won the IWSC’s Avery Trophy for Best Chardonnay in the World in 1994, will take the reins from Wolf Blass in 2006.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Please don't get me wrong Jamie but how can a place get reviewed when it has not opened to the general public yet?

It seems to me that it is very easy to get a good review when you only have one person to take care of.

I am not trying to say it isn't good but the real test of a place is to see how they are when up and running.

Please don't get me wrong on this Jamie it just seems a little out of the ordinary to me.

I personally can't wait to try it myself.

O.G.

"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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Please don't get me wrong Jamie but how can a place get reviewed when it has not opened to the general public yet?

Please don't get me wrong on this Jamie it just seems a little out of the ordinary to me.

I personally can't wait to try it myself.

O.G.

Hello OG,

It's probably a good idea to differentiate between a restaurant review and the more general food writing that I try to transact. In this case, the Globe expository story-line did not review the restaurant per se but rather tried to provide insight into how a restaurant is developed--well beyond the "hanging of drywall and banging of nails". In this case that insight (hopefully) revealed the conception and development of the menu, something that might be overlooked by the media.

On other occasions, for example, we have covered topics as diverse as farming, province-wide food distribution, cheese and winemaking, the indigenous coastal fishery, sustainability issues, and the economics of a restaurant, etc., etc., and hey, even wasabi ranching.

Although restaurant reviews provide a useful starting (and occasionally, finishing)point for the discourse on our food culture, it's my preference not to limit myself to them--there's simply much more here to report upon.

I hope this helps, and cheers,

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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In this case, the Globe expository story-line did not review the restaurant per se but rather tried to provide insight into how a restaurant is developed
emphasis added

I'm glad it wasn't per se you reviewed, as the title implied you were discussing Nu. :rolleyes:

I didn't get the impression that it was a review anyway ... a sneak preview perhaps ... an attempt to generate hype (a la Chambar) perhaps ... but not a review. Kinda hard to review a room sans drywall.

A.

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lightly battered olives with chilli, mint and orange zest ($3.75)

These sound excellent - are the olives stuffed with the chili, mint and orange (a kind of a riff on gremolata?) and then battered, or does the batter have those flavours incorporated into it?

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lightly battered olives with chilli, mint and orange zest ($3.75)

These sound excellent - are the olives stuffed with the chili, mint and orange (a kind of a riff on gremolata?) and then battered, or does the batter have those flavours incorporated into it?

Andy,

As I recall the chili and mint were incorporated into the batter and the orange zest was strewn. Delicious. Preserved lemon would work as well.

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I wonder how the notoriously territorial Granville Steet Bridge Pigeons feel about this invader?

I note no mention of terraces or balconies-will this place continue the past practice of closed window cowering under a relentless hail of.....you know :hmmm:

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I wonder how the notoriously territorial Granville Steet Bridge Pigeons feel about this invader?

I note no mention of terraces or balconies-will this place continue the past practice of closed window cowering under a relentless hail of.....you know :hmmm:

I had a tour the other night. 7' high seamless glass rails with two rows of the overhead pato heaters. It will be a major feature of the restaurant. If you had a good slingshot, you could pick off the cougars on the Sandbar patio :biggrin:

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Re: Lift

me thinks it may proove very hard to recoup 6.5 million CDN without the afore-mentioned 8% food cost and $13 pints.
It must have been "cougar hour" or "cougar's night out". I haven’t seen that many women with too much lip gloss and men with bad hair pieces wearing big nouveau riche watches in one setting!

Isn't this their target market? Middle-aged to antique urban money is what I'd aim at with those kinds of costs. :smile: BTW, I've been hearing the food has greatly improved in the last little while. But in the end it's about the food. I like that they take unique approach (though stemless glasses make me crazy :wacko: ). I hope to check it out again soon. I'll report back.

With the weather being the way it is, Lift's gorgeous patio is calling me, even if the the only person there younger than me (on Any Given Sunday) is the hostess. :shock:

Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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  • 2 weeks later...
What's the latest on opening dates?  Seems like a lot of work crews there right now.  Still pushing for a mid June opening?

Cheers!

Looks more loke the Canada Day weekend or so. And about three weeks or so for Watermark.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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  • 4 weeks later...

Is Nu open? If so, has anyone checked it out? I'd be interested in getting menu details since I don't think the menus are posted on their website yet.

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

~ Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Tara Lee

Literary and Culinary Rambles

http://literaryculinaryrambles.blogspot.com

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Is Nu open? If so, has anyone checked it out?  I'd be interested in getting menu details since I don't think the menus are posted on their website yet.

Please see Post # 51 on this thread for menu details. The restaurant is now scheduled to open right around the August long weekend.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Another push-back? Last time I heard it was early July  :sad:

When is the August long weekend?

Monday, August 1st. Watch for it as I hear it's going to be a very soft (i.e. no publicity, no launch party) opening. As for "push backs", I like the sign that Cactus Club puts on their under-construction locations "Opening Sooner or Later". :biggrin:

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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  • 4 weeks later...

When will this restaurant be opening and what exactly is their concept? I have heard some odd descriptions floating around and apparently their PR person has been biting everyone's heads off for second-guessing the actual concept (although it would appear she is somewhat unable to describe it herself either?) I have heard tapas, sharing plates, snall plates and - Naked Bistro! which I assume referres to either the food, or the room decor, though not I hope to the guests? Actually looking back at the earliest posts on this thread it seems that naked is going to mean food without sauces and raw foods? I guess we will find out when it opens. Is it a health food concept?

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When will this restaurant be opening and what exactly is their concept? I have heard some odd descriptions floating around and apparently their PR person has been biting everyone's heads off for second-guessing the actual concept (although it would appear she is somewhat unable to describe it herself either?) I have heard tapas, sharing plates, snall plates and - Naked Bistro! which I assume referres to either the food, or the room decor,  though not I hope to the guests? Actually looking back at the earliest posts on this thread it seems that naked is going to mean food without sauces and raw foods? I guess we will find out when it opens. Is it a health food concept?

FannyBay,

The concept, menu, decor and other features of Nu were shared a while back, especially on Posts #46 and #51 of this thread--hope you find the explanation helpful. A number of eGulleteers also toured the new space during the Sustainability Luncheon a month ago--we thought the bones looked pretty fine.

Nu is doing a soft F + F opening around the 12 - 14th and (final permits allowing) hopes to be charging cash money by the 15th.

Sue Alexander, who handles PR for Nu is quite capable of describing the concept. Let me know by PM if you would care to contact her directly.

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Well I just walked by today.. and it didn't look like they were ready to be opening tomorrow. Perhaps my judgement may be wrong. Still paper on the windows, and wooden boards on the floor.

C's patio was also completely packed today.. :shock: But i'm sure that's not unusual for the hot summer days.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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  • 2 weeks later...
Anybody have the skinny on when this restaurant will open for business?

This week, according to the City Food website. Official opening party, by invitation, on September 1.

They had the first of the F + F soft openings last night. They should open later this week for business.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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The other day my friend and I had a conversation about whether the food at Nu would be nude. We were trying to figure out the concept, i.e. revealing the natural flavors of food rather than over-dressing and over-saucing it. We wondered if food "au naturel" would be devoid of sauce, gravy or jus altogether, but the picture above answers the question. I'm glad to see they've kept the sauce, but shouldn't it be called BAREnaise? :-)

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Happened to be jogging by Nu tonight and found it open for business, so went back for dinner.

I was impressed.

The decor is perhaps the most controversial. Think 70's yacht for a theme. It divided my dining companions; 2 of us liked it, the other 2 basically hated it. None the less it's an interesting look that I am sure cost a million bucks (likely quite a bit more) [As an aside whatever your opinions on the theme the patio chairs seem quite cheap and inappropriate)

Food. Many of the dishes on the menu seem to be updates on some classic food items -chicken wings, dry ribs, ham & cheese sandwich, beef dip. We had the beer battered oyster with lager pepiche (~$4) as an amuse. It's simple and what's not to love about chewing a deep fried oyster while squirting beer into your mouth.

We then shared dry ribs & chicken wings. The dry ribs didn't do much for me -the smoke spice from C used on them was a little underwhelming, however the portion size was quite amply for ~$10 and they were certainly a cut above the usual casual restaurant dry ribs and yet the price point is pretty close. The chicken wings (~$10) -well I will admit that I have a thing for wings so I thought I had died and gone to heaven. They pull the meat out and then stuff with goat cheese (so it's a Popsicle).

And we shared a main of crispy braised pork belly with walnuts and apples ($19). Very tasty. Mains come sans sides.

I was drinking beer and didn't carefully scrutinize the wine list, but the price point is very friendly. If I remember correctly glasses from $7-$10. Bottles from $32 with most bottles under $80.

First night open, the food was great, service was attentive, friendly. Of course the view and the patio are killer. For the bar food alone I wil be back late night to twill a few drinks and munch (it's basically old style Earls appies for the same price but way better) I look forward to going back and trying some more of the mains.

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