Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Closer Look: Kudeta Asian Cuisine (New Haven, CT)

Fusion cuisine. Just hearing the phrase brings thoughts of chefs breaking out their creativity, innovation and imaginations to forge a meal that is all over the culinary map. This is a good thing . . . a very good thing indeed. It is with this type of glee that led me to Kudeta in New Haven.

Kudeta is one of those places you walk into and you think “Interesting.” From the aesthetics to the hearty aromas wafting from one corner of the restaurant to the other, Kudeta grabs your attention and doesn’t break its grip until you leave. Even then, there’s no guarantee you won’t still be salivating at the delightful meal you’ve just experienced.

Kudeta is Asian fusion the way Asian fusion should be done. The dinner menu is bursting with the tastes of Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Japan, Taiwan, China . . . and they each have a place that just feels right.

The appetizers ranged from enticing delights like Roti Canai, an Indian style crepe with coconut curry dipping sauce to Crab Meat Quesadillas. Our selections for the evening included Malaysian Curried Chicken Pot Stickers, small half-moon crescents of heaven, and crispy Duck Spring Rolls with sweet chili sauce.

These delicious bites were the precursor to entrées that left me wanting more long after I left Kudeta. Admittedly, my husband enjoyed my main course more than he did his own, but that minor fact does not detract from the wonders of his own dish. The Chicken with Crispy Spinach was an integration of savory flavors of garlic and hot peppers. While the spinach had lost a lot of its crunchiness by the time the dish reached my mouth, it was nevertheless a workable mix of textures.

The Indonesian Rendang Chicken was a plentiful stew of chicken, coconut curry sauce, potatoes, snow peas and carrots. It is unsure whether Kudeta was attempting to feed a small family of four with this robust dish, but it was large enough to be the one that did my husband in and had him crying “Uncle!”.

The vibe at Kudeta was a sexy-funky-cool one, but you don’t have to be one of the beautiful people to bask in the ambience. The music level was such that one could actually hear the conversation with the person seated next to or across from them, which is always a plus. The only irritant that I noticed within Kudeta—which wreaked havoc on my eyesight—was the ever-changing mood lighting which morphed from red to blue to yellow throughout the entire meal.

Kudeta is open seven days a week, Mon-Thurs 11a-10p, Fri-Sat 11a-11p and Sun 12p-10p. Price points (moderate to expensive): soup $4-$7; salad $9-$12; appetizers $7-$13; rice and noodles $9-$15; main courses $13-$48 (Peking duck); sides $3-$5.

Kudeta Asian Cuisine
27 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06510

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