Just in time for the new school year, a new dining option has sprung to life near the campus of Case Western Reserve University. NuJoy
(11311 Euclid Ave.) has opened in the space previously occupied by Ninja City, which closed in preparation of a move to Gordon Square in late winter.
This new casual restaurant further establishes this off-campus neighborhood as a sort of Asiatown East, with more than a half dozen options offering everything from sushi to ramen. NuJoy follows in the footsteps of places like LJ Shanghai, Phusian and Han that veer away from conventional Asian-American staples and toward more authentic regional cuisine. It also follows in its predecessor’s footsteps by sticking with the “bar with food” format.
The playful brick-and-steel-trimmed industrial space features a first floor bar and lounge that leads to an elevated dining room in the rear. A street-side patio bumps the occupancy up to about 75.
Owners Bowen and Lindsay Sun, who are partners in Szechuan Café at the Asia Plaza, offer up a street food-style menu that’s ideal for snacking and pairing with cold beer and cocktails. Nearly a dozen grilled kebabs, served in threes, are priced at $6 or $7. The ubiquitous lamb kebabs, slender pieces of meat redolent of cumin and peppercorn, are joined by skewered chicken, squid, sausage and off cuts like lamb kidneys.
The heart of the concise menu is populated by dumplings, buns and noodle bowls, largely priced between $6 and $8. Fried dumplings are stuffed with pork and celery or beef and carrots; baked buns are filled with grilled lamb or braised pork belly; and noodles arrive in the form of tongue-tingling cold Szechuan noodles, soybean-slicked noodles with pork, and savory beef noodle soup.
For larger appetites – or to share with mates – there are a couple entrees like a Szechuan-style hot pot loaded with shrimp, Chinese sausage, and fish balls, and a cumin-scented lamb stir-fry.
To drink, there is draft and bottled beer, wines by the glass, and a handful of classic cocktails.
For now, NuJoy is open for dinner and late-night bites Monday through Saturday.