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May 4, 2010 03:40 PM

Lunch at Bu-Ku (Raleigh) - disappointingly dumbed down!

A friend and I tried Bu-Ku (the new Fins) in downtown Raleigh for lunch yesterday. We expected lunch to give us a preview of what we expected to be the more extensive dinner menu. But no... Lunch was completed different -- really just mainstream American lunch fare tweaked a bit. The menu includes: Burger, Philly Steak, Chicken Salad, Greek Salad and a few tamely spiced (based on our selections) ethnic offerings-- not a single dish that appears on the dinner menu. What a bummer!

My Malaysian Curry Chicken Sandwich was very bland and my friend"s "Banh Mi" wasn't much better. Much better to walk up the street to Spize Cafe for their delectable and more fiery Baguette version.

The waiter brought us the dinner menu which sounded much better. Too bad we couldn't even get a taste.

Spize Cafe
121 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

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  1. Thanks for saving me a trip! I rarely eat dinner in Raleigh, and with that menu - I won't be heading there for lunch.

    1. Oh, one thing I must give them props for. They have an interesting variety of sides (fries, pickles, fruit, etc.) for only $1.50.. The stir-fried spinach was marvelous. Very simple with garlic -- but delish. It was the best part of the lunch.

      1. Yes, the banh mi and shrimp roll sandwiches are nothing to write home about. The banh mi comes on soft, dense, doughy bread that's a chore to chew through. Inside you've got slices of pork shoulder with an odd glaze. The prices aren't bad, but I too would head to Spize first. That's too bad because I was hoping that their lunch would feature some versions of the dinner items, especially noodles and curries.

        Spize Cafe
        121 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

        4 Replies
        1. re: dinersaurus

          I will say that I too was surprised by the difference in the menus when I went for lunch the other day. Given the options, I chose the Philly Steak and side salad for $1.50 and both were excellent. I will definitely be going back for that when I'm in the mood for a Philly Steak. Look forward to trying it at dinner sometime soon too.

          1. re: Guilty Gourmand

            Don't think you'll find it at dinner since the menus don't overlap at all.

            1. re: TerryG

              Yes, I agree. I just meant I look forward to trying the restaurant in general at dinner and not the Philly specifically.

          2. re: dinersaurus

            After having lunch here, I almost don't want to head back for dinner. The smallish menu was not the problem, it was the execution and ingredients that made our meal below average. Prices are very reasonable, but do not make up for a terrible banh mi. Red roasted pork (Pork fried rice flavor, possibly purchased) sliced on a large, soft, very bready version of French bread. No pate or other pork, some cucumber, carrot and cilantro. Bland, not crunchy and way too much bread. My wife's burger was dry, even at medium, and lacked good burger flavor. Fries ordered on the side were tasty and homemade, but small bits and pieces made me question the quality control in the kitchen. We did order a sambal side that was killer, and improved everything on the table. It needed to be applied liberally to my banh mi to make it edible. I hope things are different when we go back for dinner, but there's no way I would do lunch again.

          3. Did dinner here for my birthday and everyone enjoyed what they had. My parents had never been to a small plates concept restaurant, but everyone enjoyed what they had. The Salmon entree was huge.