Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kalu brings chef Emperor to town

The upcoming Kalu (say kah-loo) in uptown is slated to bring with it when it opens in late April chef Bryan Emperor. Emperor may be best known for morphing from a Wall Street banker to a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef specializing in Japanese-and-more cuisine, with experience at Nobu and with superstar chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Gray Kunz.

Kalu owner Jason Vicks says Emperor wowed him with food he prepared at Vicks' first place, Red Lion at Ayrsley, including sushi that was "unreal" and stellar presentations of things as simple as salad in a clay pot.

Emperor has been around, with stints opening a Japanese place in Beijing, at Mr. Jones in New York and, recently, Departure in Portland. Here, he'll do Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Pacific Rim cuisine in a setting, says Vicks, unlike anything else in Charlotte: a two-level, 7,500-square-foot space done by N.C. designer Giorgios Bakatsias that features bars with a frosted-glass look that can shift to 200+ colors and an intimate upstairs space with leather couches.

Kalu will be on the ground floor of the 505 Building at the corner of Sixth and North Caldwell streets, with double-story windows and a view of the Time Warner Cable Arena.