Sorry for missing last week’s review, but after being out of town, I just couldn’t bring myself to predict how many stars a Calabash-style seafood eatery was going to get. This week is another story, however, as Greg Cox is reviewing Raleigh’s bu•ku, the restaurant with a bullet point in its name. I’ve written about bu•ku, and many of you know I’m a big fan of bu•ku’s chef, William D’Auvray. He’s one of the most creative chefs in the Triangle, and I considered the food at his last restaurant, Fins, to be nonpareil.
bu•ku is a different restaurant, however. It’s not a quiet place, and that is intentional. bu•ku is designed to be a place for crowds to get together, order a bunch of small plates of the so-called “street food” bu•ku offers, and have a good time. Some critics argue that bu•ku does not serve genuine street food, that D’Auvray’s offerings are nothing like what they had on the streets of India, the Philippines, or Mexico. My brilliant, intellectual response to those claims is, “No duh!” Of course it’s not the same — you’re getting this food in a Raleigh office tower from a kitchen that could hardly be compared to anything found on the streets of Bangkok. This is William D’Auvray’s interpretation of street food, and it’s really quite good.
Greg Cox also like’s D’Auvray’s cooking, as he perennially listed Fins as one of his top restaurants in the Triangle, naming it his restaurant of the year not long ago. I also know Cox loves to write about cuisines from far-away places, and I’ve discovered several gems from his N&O reviews. Do I think Cox will give bu•ku the same 5 stars that he gave Fins? Absolutely not. Do I think he will like it? Yes, I do. I would be stunned if he gives it anything less than 4 stars. Adding another half star might be a stretch, particularly in light of the fact that bu•ku isn’t really trying to be that ultimate, fine-dining establishment that Fins was. But who knows, Cox has given 4.5 stars to other places that are quite comparable to bu•ku. This will be an interesting review, but I’m hedging my bets by listing co-favorites this week.
5 stars — 5 to 1
4.5 stars – 3 to 2
4 stars — 3 to 2
3.5 stars — 7 to 1
3 stars — 10 to 1
2.5 stars — 30 to 1
2 stars — 75 to 1
1.5 stars — 250 to 1
1 star — 500 to 1
How many stars do you think bu•ku will get, and what are your thoughts on this restaurant?
(Edit May 21, 2010) — Congratulations to bu•ku, as Greg Cox awarded it 4.5 stars. After having lunch there on Wednesday, those are well-deserved stars. This is a place where you can get in and out for less than 10 bucks if you want, or you can have a big-time night. And it will all taste great.