Buku provides all new global possibilities for Wake Forest residents

By Dathan Kazsuk

Inspired by street vendors from cities across the globe, Buku's latest location in Wake Forest is a visual array of amazing dishes dreamed up by Executive Chef Andrew Smith. The restaurant had its official grand opening on June 28, and I decided to pay the restaurant a visit to check out some of its top-selling and most delicious dishes.

Arriving at 5:30 p.m. that hot and humid Thursday evening, I met up with JNK Media's Jennifer Kelly where she introduced me to a couple other local bloggers as we all pulled up seats near the kitchen. Our server for the evening was gracious, funny and knowledgeable. After bringing everyone a free sample of the new Sangria that was on the menu – the 6 of us at the table decided it would be best to let the chef decide on the top dishes in his menu to bring out for us.

After a few minutes, dish after dish made its way to our table. Deep-fried cauliflower, pierogis, oysters and more started to fill the center of our long table. The first item I helped myself to was the Ostras Asadas. Spanish for oysters, the Ostras was local grilled oysters with apple mignonette, rocoto butter and a dab of chimichurri. The plate of 4 oysters would be a perfect start to any meal – and would pair well with a glass of Raats Chenin Blanc from South Africa or Mount Eden Chardonnay from California (both available by the glass).

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That was then followed up by some twice-fried cauliflower with pickled chickpeas, cucumber yogurt, cabbage and Thai chili. We also sampled the pierogi, which was filled with Muenster, goat cheese and local sweet potatoes. But my two favorite dishes, in the small plates menu, was the Hawaiian ahi tuna poke and the NC beef tartare. I've recently cut back on eating sushi, but this tuna almost fell apart in your mouth. And as far as the beef tartare ... I know it's raw beef ... but the beef on top of Buku's house toast was bliss.

Then came some of the restaurant's main courses – Argentinean Short Ribs, Jerk Chicken and a Black Grouper. Each dish was just as savory and rich as the dish before it. I started with the flaky, yet mild taste of the black grouper. This fish was paired with Japanese rice, papaya, cashews and an amazing Thai green chili sauce. Next was the chicken. This was one of the most tender chicken dishes I've had in a long time – and you almost get dessert with this dish with a side of caramelized plantains. The final dish, and my personal favorite, was the short ribs. With roasted carrots, smoked potato puree, chimichurri and an ancho-espresso mole – you just can't go wrong.

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Then came the dessert. We tried three different plates, and it's almost impossible to advise you on which one to get, because each dish had its own set of flavor profiles. From the light and almost healthy looking Citrus Fusion to the Espresso Terrine – you can't go wrong with any of these dishes to end the perfect night of dining. The Terrine was my favorite with its spiced truffle, rum glazed bananas and avocado ice cream. 

Buku in Wake Forest really has it going on. The food is incredible. They have an extensive selection of wine by the glass and bottle – and right next door is a bottle shop if you want to hang out there if you're waiting for your pager to light up!