When Fuzu, a customizable combination of handcrafted noodles in addition to other ingredients and a signature dish at Bethesda, Maryland’s Newton’s Table, took off, its creator, Executive Chef Dennis Friedman, transplanted the dish to its new Dupont Circle home. Set to open on Sept. 25 or 26, pending some permits, Newton's Noodles may blossom into a lunchtime sensation.
The restaurant features a streamlined and high tech ordering system and a hip vibe — complete with lime green and chrome décor — that adds a futuristic feel to the experience. A flashing LCD screen asks, “Do you FUZU?” before spelling out menu options to those waiting in line.
Feeling picky? Good, because you’ve got plenty of options here. Choose gluten-free rice or buckwheat soba noodles; select original soy or coco-curry sauce; handpick the veggies, proteins, toppings, and even the spice level. Or default to the eatery’s signature fuzu creations, which are flavorful and texturally diverse. Craving more? Enhance the experience with an appetizer or a salad. Highlights include soba salad — chilled soba noodles and thinly sliced veggies coated in tangy dressing, with an optional addition of fresh scallop and shrimp ceviche — and tuna bites — cubes of ahi tuna coated with crispy Nigella seeds and served on white or brown rice with a tart soy-mustard vinaigrette.
But the choices don’t stop there. At Newton’s Noodles, diners even get to pick how they’d like to eat their cuisine with its versatile, hybrid utensil. Chef Friedman’s own contraption, the plastic “chork,” serves as a “cheater” chopstick with its sticks adjoining at a tip to form a fork. More experienced users can snap the sticks apart and show-off their traditional chopstick skills.
Newton’s Noodles is, above all, a fast casual joint where both eat-in and carry-out dishes are served in eco-friendly Chinese-style takeout boxes. Ideal for a quick work lunch, the noodles can be thrown together and served in seconds. And here, the quality does not suffer due to speed. Each dish is made fresh-to-order from locally sourced ingredients and kept relatively light and healthy.
I’m happy to report that on my way out, I had a clear-cut answer to the question that greeted me shortly before. “Do I FUZU?” Yes, I do.
Lili Kocsis is currently working as the Media and Event Coordinator at DC Metro Food Tours. She graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a B.A. in linguistics. She dedicates her spare time to purposeful travel, food photography, and writing about regional cuisine under the penname MyAmusedBouche.