Tu executive chef Josh Walker’s Indian menu has been full of surprises since its debut at the start of 2019. Last weekend, Walker once again refocused the Meeting Street restaurant’s menu on vegetarian cuisine, highlighted by five new curries.
The menu is now 85 percent vegetarian, with the chicken and fish curries listed as the only meat dishes. The entire “chaats & snacks” section is vegetarian. Tu also offers several vegetarian entrees and the option to choose three mains for $18.
While not a vegetarian, Walker adopted a more vegetable-friendly diet due to a desire to consume less red meat and utilize the Lowcountry’s bounty of local produce from purveyors like Spade and Clover Gardens and GrowFood Carolina. The chef feels that Indian cuisine offers a perfect opportunity to shift the ethos of Tu, as the bold flavors allow him to be more mindful of conscious consumption and provide a vegetarian menu with depth and substance.
According to Walker, the flavor profile of the cuisine gives him the ability to create dishes which leave people feeling as though they have simply eaten something delicious rather than dishes created to intentionally be vegetarian. Walker often made vegetables the star at sister restaurant Xiao Bao Biscuit. However, he found it was easy for those vegetable dishes to be overlooked on the menu by diners opting for meat options.
For Walker, the key to utilizing more local vegetables at Tu is finding sauces he can adjust slightly. The menu could include broccoli one week and cauliflower the next, depending on the weather. One of these base sauces is Baingan Bharta, made by incorporating roasted eggplant into a mixture of onion, garlic, tomato, and masala spices. Diners can find this eggplant curry on the current menu, along with dishes like a Cuban pumpkin with Sri Lankan black pepper curry and the classic coconut milk korma, which utilizes root vegetables currently in season in the Lowcountry.
Take a peek at the new menu here:
Tu is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. People can also stop by on Mondays for Jamey Fairchild’s Gingerbug pop-up, which features vegan noodles and other inventive snacks.