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Juju Asian Tapas and Bar

Posted by DID 12 Feb 2015 One Comment

So it turns out Durham was longing for Asian tapas. Since it opened a few months ago, JuJu has pretty much been reservations required every night of the week. Don’t make the mistake of trying to stroll in for a table on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. The bar seems to calm down around 8:30 pm. Before it opened, there were plans for a dim sum cart and cocktail cart, but I’m guessing with the crowds the carts have been put on hold. Also because of the crowds and the nature of tapas, even with a reservation you may end up waiting for your table. Both times we’ve stopped in we’ve waited 20 minutes beyond our reservation time to be seated.

I’m not a huge fan of the decor as it feels a bit like walking into a chain restaurant on Glenwood South in Raleigh. Not sure why, but between the heavily manned hostess stand, the backlit rotating pictures above the bar and the large leather booths – I’d like a little more laid-back cool of somewhere like the Lantern than this over stylized space. It’s also incredibly loud. But none of that really matters – what matters is the food.

And the food at JuJu is pretty much fantastic. We’ve had the brussel sprouts (roasted crisp with peanuts with dried apricots), kale salad (least favorite dish, skip it and wait for kale at Pizzeria Toro), pork dumplings (solid), Juju bolognese (excellent flat rice noodles tossed with braised pork), pork buns (rivaled Momofuku), Shrimp shu mai (great, tender dumplings), short ribs with pear (the  Mongolian pork ribs spotted on other tables look like the better option). We’ve also had the Momfuku crack pie ice cream sandwich (a novelty worth trying once) and the sorbet trio (thai chili, hibiscus and mango – all excellent and balanced one another perfectly.

Note the menu seems to be evolving – banh mi sandwiches, kimchi pancakes have come and gone. They were out of ceviche one of the nights we were there.

Brussel sprouts

Shrimp shu mai

Kale salad

Pork bun

Tuna tar tar

Juju bolognese

Pork dumplings

Sorbet

Crack pie ice cream sandwiches

Juju
737 Ninth St
Ste 210
Durham, NC 27705

One Comment »

  • Natalie said:

    Try the Peking Duck! It’s $65, but could easily be a full meal for 4. Seriously, you wouldn’t need to get any of the other small plates (though you would probably want to because they are tasty). They present the duck and then take it back and carve it for you, making lovely piles of both the meat and skin (omg crispy duck skin omg). It is accompanied by several tasty components, including pickled veggies, julienned leeks, mint leaves, etc. The traditional pancakes are subbed for lovely steamed buns (a la pork bao), which were wonderful. They happily provided us extra buns when we ran out of the 7 that cane with the dish. This was all my dad wanted to do for his birthday, and to be honest, I was apprehensive about the dish being as good as it’s price. As it turned out, it is not only delicious, but a good value as well. I think I will be returning for another peking duck for my birthday this year!

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