Durham, North Carolina, has been called out a lot in the past handful of years as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” (Bon Appetit) and the “South’s Tastiest Town” (Southern Living), with frequent mentions by The New York Times. Juju, which bills itself as an Asian fusion tapas spot, opened its doors earlier this year and is another top-tier arriviste in this former tobacco town. The dinners I’ve enjoyed here have been the perfect combination of delicious, good value, and a happy-go-lucky zeitgeist.
Just a block off of Duke University’s East Campus, Juju sits at the heart of Ninth Street, which is also home to Monuts donuts, the Regulator Bookstore, and a thriving street scene. Among my favorite Juju dishes are any of the dumplings (from wild boar to poulet rouge), the salad rolls, the crispy Brussels sprouts, the Vietnamese-style grilled shrimp, the Thai-style short ribs, and for dessert, the macadamia almond tartlette (my favorite dessert of 2015 so far).
And don’t pass on the drink menu, which includes beer on tap, carafes of sangria, flights of sake, a well-put-together wine list, and some novel featured cocktails, including the beguiling “Love Child.”
Kudos to co-owners Julian Benfey and Charlie Deal for adding yet another jewel to Durham’s thriving dining scene.