Feb 2, 2024 - Food and Drink

Authentic Indonesian restaurant opens in south Charlotte

Inside restaurant with mural that reads "Indonesia"

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Nusa, a new Indonesian restaurant by the owner of Prime Fish, recently opened in the Arboretum in south Charlotte.

Why it matters: Nusa is Charlotte's first Indonesian restaurant, according to owner and Prime Fish executive chef Robin Anthony.

  • Chef Robin is originally from Indonesia and has tapped Indonesian native Hendra Tjiey to lead the kitchen.
Outside of restaurant with signage that reads "Nusa" and "now open"
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Zoom in: Unlike Anthony's other restaurants, Nusa has a more fast-casual vibe. The restaurant is about 3,700 square feet and fits about 50 people.

  • You'll find traditional Indonesian dishes like beef rendang (braised beef) and "gado gado," an Indonesian salad made with boiled vegetables, boiled eggs, fried tofu and tempeh, topped with peanut sauce dressing.
  • They serve daily lunch specials that come with rice, sauce and two small sides for $12.
three dishes of food on a table
Indonesia is primarily Muslim, so you won't find many pork dishes there or at Nusa. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Context: Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia. It's an archipelago in the Indian and Pacific Oceans made up of more than 17,000 islands.

  • Because of the country's geographic location and history in trade, its cuisine has been influenced by other cultures such as India, the Middle East and China. Its food is flavorful, often spicy, and contains many rice and noodle dishes.

Our thought bubble: I've never tried Indonesian cuisine before, so I visited the restaurant with Adrika Lazarus, who runs the @culturallyvibrantcharlotte Instagram account and lived in Indonesia for six years before moving to Charlotte. I let her do the ordering and asked for her hot takes.

  • Of all the dishes we ordered, the gado gado and "happy soda" (Cocopandan syrup, jelly, condensed milk and Fanta) reminded her the most of her time in Indonesia.
  • I especially liked the "ayam kremes," or "crispy chicken," which is essentially fried chicken served with a side of fried noodles and balado egg.

Here's everything we ordered:

dish with green beans, boiled eggs, tofu and cucumber
Gado gado, AKA, Indonesian salad ($10) made with boiled vegetables, boiled eggs, fried tofi and tempeh, topped with peanut sauce dressing. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
fried chicken
Ayam Kremes, AKA crispy chicken ($15) — fried marinated chicken (dark meat) with crispy flakes, with fried noodles on the side. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
meat dish with a ride of rice and green beans
Rendang daging, AKA braised beef ($18) — braised beef on coconut spices with a side of green beans and coconut rice. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
red drink
Soda gembira AKA happy soda ($6) for dessert — Cocopandan syrup, jelly, condensed milk and Fanta. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Details: Nusa's address is 8200 Providence Road, located next to the Malaysian restaurant Malaya Kitchen Asian Fusian.

  • It's open for lunch Monday, Wednesday-Saturday from 11:30am-2pm and reopens for dinner from 4:30-9pm on those days. On Sundays, it's open 12-8pm. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

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