With an ever-changing, globe-spanning menu and a wall-to-wall collection of culinary curios collected over a lifetime of travel, Nue may be the closest thing to the Gastro Obscura book in restaurant form. The name is a reference to a mythological Japanese monster with the body of tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog), limbs of a tiger, tail of a snake, and face of a monkey—a fitting image for a restaurant cobbled together from a dizzying diverse array of culinary influences.
Uyen Nguyen, who came to the United States at the age of 11 as a Vietnamese refugee, pooled her creativity with her co-owner Chris Cvetkovich, an avid traveler working in 3D animation, and chef Brad Kostelyk to create a kind of edible love letter to delicious things that rarely share table real estate. The trio have made it clear they’re not interested in fusion, but rather a faithful, thoughtful representation of flavors.
The choose-your-own-adventure quality inside this chimerical Seattle spot verges on extreme. Drink your way from the intersection of Ireland and Vietnam (the “McNguyễn” uses Irish whiskey and Vietnamese Coffee with sweetened condensed milk) to Scandinavia (don’t miss the Salmiakki cocktail).
Orchestrate a vegan feast that ventures from Egypt to Sri Lanka. Dive into a plate of South African bunny chow or Dutch patat oorlog—“war fries” fully loaded with mayo, peanut sauce, and other spectacularly messy toppings. Try balut and Thai giant water beetles, the latter of which is served both as a dish and a vodka martini, aptly named the ‘Beetle Juice’. We are, of course, partial to the Atlas Shrubbed, which uses ginger shrub alongside a melange of other ingredients.
Know Before You Go
Swing by for brunch, which ditches the boring eggs Benedict for Malaysian coconut curry and Ghanaian cowpea stew.