Cost (1-4): 3
Location: The Gulch
Category: New Asian
Visual Vibes: Trendy and modern
Food Quality: 9/10
Sunda is one of the newest additions to the cornucopia of upscale restaurants in the Gulch. This self-proclaimed “New Asian” dining destination is nestled into the corner of 11th and 12th Avenues, about a ten minute drive away from campus. Originating in Chicago, Sunda expanded to Nashville in April 2018. With two kitchens for hot food and sushi respectively, the menu has plenty to offer for anyone wanting to explore a variety of Asian dishes. From classics like Pad Thai and Tuna Poke to adventurous choices like Lemongrass Beef Lollipops and the Crunchy Pig, Hidden Lobster sushi roll, customers can choose from a whole spectrum of Asian fusion creations.
From the blue exterior tucked into the corner, I would not have guessed that the space is so expansive inside. Multiple dining rooms with high ceilings and mirrors, sushi bar seating with a view of the chefs and an extensive bar with fish-themed wooden art hanging above it offer ample zones to enjoy the food and company.
The menu had so many enticing options like Hamachi Marrow nigiri, Adobo Braised Pork Belly and Tuna Truffle Pizza that I had a difficult time deciding on a dish. I would have sampled everything if it weren’t for the prices, which hovered around $15 to $20 and topped out at $65 for the Wagyu beef entrée. Ultimately, my friend ordered the Rainbow roll, and I decided on the Wagyu Signature Crispy Rice—a more reasonably-priced taste of the most expensive dish—and the Pancit Canton.
Our dishes came out in relatively timely manner, beginning with the Wagyu Signature Crispy Rice. This was served as nuggets of melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef sitting atop small but flavorful chunks of rice with a delicate topping of red chili and Asian pesto. This was everything I could want in a dish—tender meat, bursts of accent flavors and a hearty base and I would definitely order it again. Theoretically, it could be shared among a few people as an appetizer if you’re willing to sacrifice having it all to yourself.
My entree, the Pancit Canton, boasted generous amounts of pork belly, shrimp and egg noodles with various other greens mixed in as well. The flavors blended well once I cut the squares of pork belly and mixed them into the rest, ensuring I got a combination of elements in each bite.
The server had explained that all food is served family-style, meaning Sunda would be an ideal location to bring a group of friends or family to be able to get a bite of more menu items. With just two people and three dishes between my friend and me, I definitely want to return to get even more of their delicious food.
If you’re looking to check out this trendy new restaurant in a more hands-on way, try their sushi rolling class on the first Tuesday of each month. Sunda additionally hosts other special events every month like Sake Social, Happy Hour and Omakase.