Second restaurant from the makers of Xiao Bao Biscuit, Tu, is ready for its public appearance. Here’s what patrons should know before they go.
1. Did you say cheese ice?
Restauranteurs Duolan Walker-Li, Josh Walker, and Joey Ryan have found a new way to dazzle diners with at Meeting Street restaurant Tu. It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint one influence behind the cuisine served at this newcomer, but that’s the magic. From Middle Eastern influences with the lamb with freekeh to Mexican inspirations with the crisp pozole trotter, surprising flavor combinations are to be expected in each dish. The menu items and small plate style will most definitely be appreciated by food-focused friends.
2. Setting the Scene
The restaurant is housed in two contrasting buildings at 430 Meeting St. with two separate vibes. The discreet main entrance, which of course has no sign, feeds into a new modern space with a bright dining room, small bar, and outdoor patio. Walk next door into the first floor of a historic Charleston home, where patrons will find a private room to the left and a dark intimate dining area to the right. The mood inside the entire restaurant is trendy and young, yet sophisticated, with the menu mirroring this feel. The wait staff trots around in retro t-shirts and are happy to share the intricate details of the dishes.
3. Pancakes, Please
Fans of Xiao Bao Biscuit, the first restaurant curated by the trio behind Tu, won’t be surprised to find a pancake dish on the menu at Tu. It’s difficult to stand up to the crave-able okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake) at XBB, but the pastrami-filled scallion and sauerkraut edition at Tu comes close. Find large chunks of pastrami, prepared in a smoker out back, within each bite, and a refreshing buttermilk dressing layered on top that adds a background tanginess.
4. Menu Musts
The small plate menu at Tu is meant for sharing. It’s split into three parts, and plates from each section are similar in size. The first portion contains appetizer-like items, such as the early fan-favorite crudo. A raw fish of the chef’s choosing, it was mackerel this week, is showered with shavings of “cheese ice,” showcasing the magic occurring in the kitchen. A deep, salty cheese is in snow cone form (how do they do that?) and melts as diners enjoy the dish. The second part of the menu has items like fried corn fritters and eggplant with salsa verde that are closer to side dishes. Finally, the third section highlights proteins such as the aforementioned pastrami and a chicken fried hanger steak.
5. Friday, November 24
The official opening date for Tu is today, November 24, at 5 p.m., and it will be accepting mostly walk-ins. Parking is limited outside the restaurant, but the Visitor Center parking garage is only a few blocks away. An air of excitement, adventure, and curiosity echo through Tu. In a city filled with fantastic food options, this one will provide an experience not likely to be paralleled anywhere else in the city.
6. Late Night Fun
Tu will debut a weekly late night menu this weekend, happening Saturday nights until 1 a.m. This week’s menu includes pastrami milk bread sandwiches, fries with lobster mayo, and hazelnut milkshakes. The regular menu will be served until 11 p.m., and the late night menu starts at 11:30 p.m.