Les Roches, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, is one of the world’s leading hospitality schools. To those of us not in the Food & Beverage industry it’s like the pinnacle of education in the F&B world. To have one of its alumni owning, and personally running, an Asian fusion restaurant here in our small town is really exceptional. That’s exactly who we have in Nathalie Wu. She owns and runs Wicked Bao at the North end of 2nd St in downtown Fernandina Beach, FL, once the home of Wicked Davies, after having been housing for freight forwarders at the Port of Fernandina Beach.
Since the untimely passing of her husband Thomas Tolxdorf, the famous Executive Chef at the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton, Nathalie Wu has established a remarkable Asian Fusion restaurant that strives for the tradition of her roots in Taiwan. She describes Wicked Bao as a Fast, Casual Restaurant that features Asian street food, speed of service, and a wide-ranging menu from a variety of countries.
Bao means “bread”. To a culinary peasant like me a bao winds up looking somewhat like a slider with Asian ingredients instead of a hamburger. A culinary peasant I might be, but I recognize really good taste and excellent service when I encounter it.
The bao items most in demand are Bulgogi Beef (Korean BBQ beef) with home-made kimchi, Braised Pork Belly with pickled mustard green and cilantro peanut powder, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken with arugula and a home-made jalapeño aioli.
Our group of six felt quite adventurous so we ordered three items in addition to the traditional boas. 1. Chicken Satay, 2. Crispy Pork Chop, and 3. Sichuan Dan Dan Noodle. All of us gave the entire selection 5 stars.
I found the service setup to be unusual at first, but I soon appreciated how efficient it is. You order and pay for your items as you enter. You are then given a number to put on your table and the food was delivered quickly. I also saw how efficient it was to serve a large table of customers. I expected to get one number for the table and the ensuing confusion of what did you get? No! I order the… That confusion is eliminated immediately because each person is awarded their own number. Ergo, when the server arrives there is not rodeo of discussion about who gets what.
Wicked Bao is certainly on my list for future visits. It should be on yours as well.