Fins to Become “bu•ku”

Chef William D’Auvray’s fantastic downtown restaurant, Fins, is no more and will soon reopen under the name bu•ku.  With its name coming from the mispronunciation of the French word, beaucoup, the restaurant will continue D’Auvray’s focus on Asian-influenced food, but will emphasize a “global street food” concept.  Small plates will be the norm at bu•ku in a manner “inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors.”  Fortunately, the restaurant will also focus on the lunch crowd.  bu•ku will have a dedicated happy hour along with a strong craft beer and artisanal cocktail program.

D’Auvray has always been one of my favorite chefs in the Triangle, but Fins struggled in its large downtown location.  With this new concept, I’m hopeful that more folks will discover this amazing chef.  More details to come after I get a chance to talk to Chef D’Auvray.

Edit:  Interestingly, D’Auvray intends at some point to have actual street carts downtown and to offer a dim sum brunch.  Now that’s very cool.   The web address is www.bukuraleigh.com.

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15 Responses to Fins to Become “bu•ku”

  1. burgeoningfoodie says:

    That is a shame as I was much wanting to try Fins as it was. I’m already getting tired of the small plates idea. Fins was actually a type of restaurant that I feel Raleigh downtown needed and the location to me was somewhat strange even though it was right on or near Fayetteville Street. and the building if you are driving by didn’t have any standout feature to say Fins is here. Will be interesting to see what the menu is like.

  2. fastcasual says:

    Am I the only one who isn’t surprised at the expensive restaurants not doing well? Raleigh restaurants have become more expensive than more well known big cities. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $12-$15 for a quality dinner. I want all restaurants to succeed downtown, but it worries me when the only options are high-end or fast food. Why can’t something in the middle succeed? That’s what the Raleigh Times has… and it’s the most popular place downtown. I’m excited about a new place on the corner of Martin/Saliabury, but when I hear that their prices will be $22-$25/entree, ugh.. it just kills me. I guess restaurants are still targeting the event driven crowd and not local residents.

  3. dmccall says:

    Me, too, burgeoning. I spend more at these small plate places than I do at traditional dinner places, and leave HUNGRY!

    I will miss that Chilean Sea Bass :(

  4. Chango says:

    Chilean Sea Bass, not going anywhere. See the “In off the Street” Entrée section of the menu.

  5. mindcrime says:

    Its a sad day when a restaurant of this caliber should have to change. They just won 2nd best seafood in the nation a year ago. Raleigh should appreciate more of these places that bring national recognition to the triangle for the food and not just the beer lists. William is in control so you know the food will be genius. Glad he’s still around!

  6. Alan says:

    I for one am excited. I never got around to trying Fins which is a shame for me, but at least Chef D’Auvray is still cooking.

    Small plates is the future of dining, like it or not. I much prefer cooking and eating in small plates/tapas style restaurants where the emphasis is on huge, bold flavors and inventiveness rather than here’s your starch, veg and protein in massive, fattening and boring quantities.

    And I’m down with the dim sum. I’ll drive over to Raleigh for that alone.

  7. well... says:

    So for starters I am baffled at the amount of people who think that $10 or $12-$15 still gets a “great” meal. I understand as a person with a family myself that we as Americans want to stretch out our moneys as far as they will go. This just in: a person cannot even get a sandwich, chips, and drink at a sub shop anymore for that $10. Whether we like it or not, the U.S. dollar does not go that far. Once everyone wraps their mind around that, it is possible that more than just one or two of these great local restaurants who attract national attention will have a better shot.
    Next- small plates have been invading the food scene for quite some time in the fashion of tapas, and in the form of tasting menus. This idea will not go anywhere as it gives the diner the opportunity to “piece meal” (no pun intended)a fantastic experience while simultaneously stimulating the senses instead of the mundane protein, vegetable, starch.
    Chef D’Auvray is a badass and I’m glad he hasn’t given up on this city where it is very tough to make waves with such finicky diners.

  8. Chops says:

    It is the same old story. Excellent small restaurant expands into large trendy place and does not do well. Whether it is an expansion or a move for whatever reason the “feel” is not the same. I’m sure many of those N. Raleigh regulars do not make it downtown. I usually go with the bigger the restaurant the worse the food. Fins food is great, but it lost the connection with the diner in the new space. I wish them well and hope the new concept works out.

  9. FuzzyT says:

    Fins will be missed, but I bet the new place will be enjoyed by far more people than were able to dine with them as Fins. I like the new concept. Both chef and diners will get to enjoy a broad range of dishes, hopefully at more approachable prices. The changes makes sense given the times. I’m looking forward to trying out the new offering.

  10. Oglethorpe says:

    Fins was one of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh. While not cheap, I always felt I got more than my money’s worth when dining there. I’m sure that their landlord’s insistence that the restuarant be essentially invisible to the public (no signage, smokey glass) didn’t help much–compare with the wonderful openess and transparency of Sitti which draws patrons in. Here’s hoping the new place is equally fabulous, and that they are allowed enough signage to give an indication at the street level that they exist.

  11. Tom from Raleigh says:

    I ate at Fins a number of times. It was usually very good and on one occasion, incredible. The new place was so big, I didn’t know how they’d expect to fill it. Perhaps they thought that all those mythical conventioneers would be their customers.

    I love the global street food concept. I can’t wait to try baku. Change in our food scene is good and necessary. On the face of it, this looks like what Charlie Deal has done with Jujube and Dos Perros, take “ethnic” favorites and reinterpret them or what David Chang has done with Momofuku. I love to eat all sorts of food from different cultures. It’s hard nearly impossible to get a decent glass of wine or beer at most “ethnic” places. Hopefully baku will fill that niche.

  12. Tom from Raleigh says:

    Sorry, I misstyped the name in my post above. Apparently, it’s “bu [dot] ku”. They may want to re-think the [dot] part. It’s confusing.

  13. burgeoningfoodie says:

    Don’t get me wrong I sometimes like small plates and tapas depending on the how inspiring they are and pricing. I enjoyed the concepts as Jose Andres does them in DC. Lets face it though it seems like one of the major gripes of the main Triangle cities is that there isn’t solid seafood spot and this seemed to fit the bill. For me, I could drive pass the restaurant and not even know it was there. It seemed to me to be in blackhole of sorts. I guess it’s go to one side of Davie and hit Five Star area, Jibarra, or Pit or hit Fayetteville street from Sono up to Capital Or you hit the Moore Sq. area from Raleigh Times over to Moore Sq itself. All this assuming you don’t wind up at Glenwood South or somewhere outside downtown. Maybe that doesn’t make sense but that is somewhat how I see it. City Plaza is close by and maybe that will help. I still think it was bogus to make the first installation of city plaza a sub shop chain (as oppose to a more upscale type place) instead of a local favorite.

  14. sally says:

    Burgeoningfoodie – To be fair, local favorites Krispy Kreme and the kebab shop opened before the sub shop chain!

    About Fins, though. I too forgot it was there. And agree that if you’d have been able to see in when you drove past, it would have helped……

  15. burgeoningfoodie says:

    Yeah I know. Also you can get subs, chips and a drink for under $10 at a sub shop.

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