The Kale Caesar Salad at Nu Kitchen is a riot of colors, flavors, and textures. Tender dark-green shredded kale is tossed with crisp pale romaine, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, pickled carrots, crunchy chickpeas, watermelon radish, and vegan Caesar dressing, making a dish that is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Top it with a fillet of the slow-cooked salmon, and you have a complete, fresh delicious meal—or keep it vegan with sriracha organic tofu or vegan “chicken” on top.
It’s easy to tell from that salad that Nu Kitchen, which recently debuted its third location in Newburyport, is doing everything from scratch, right down to shredding produce in-house, and sourcing locally and organically wherever possible. The kale in that salad has that moist bitter-sweet balance that can only come from leaves that have not been processed in advance then traveled via plastic bag. The pickled onions and carrots retain a nice crunch, in addition to a bright flavor. Even the salad dressings and the mayonnaise are made in-house. They’re also 100 percent vegan, but you wouldn’t guess it.
Owner Joshua Van Dyke has two other Nu Kitchen locations, in Worcester and Somerville—and when he was shopping around for his third, it coincided with discovering the charms of Newburyport after day trips with his wife, Erjona, from their home base in Charlestown. After the couple moved to Newburyport with their two kids and dog, they realized their healthy, fast-casual concept would be a good fit in town.
With a bright, stylish space—high-ceilinged and artfully decorated—it’s inviting to dine in, with cool murals and an urban vibe. Order at the counter, and the staff will deliver your food to you.
The menu makes it easy to eat healthy, no matter what your dietary restrictions or preferences. Nearly all the offerings are gluten-free or can be made without gluten, with bowls packed with quinoa and other grains, and gluten-free bread available on request for sandwiches. Mix and match—pescatarians, carnivores and vegans can all find something to suit.
Nu Kitchen is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with offerings from acai bowls and cage-free eggs—available all day—to burritos. Which means that you can enjoy a Superfruit Waffle for breakfast—or for dessert. The scratch-made waffle is gluten-free, from batter made with house-toasted quinoa that they mill into a flour, mixed with chia and flax seeds. Topped with fresh strawberries and bananas, granola, maple syrup, and house-made gluten-free, vegan fudge sauce, made from cacao powder—believed to promote healthy digestion—it’s a treat that you won’t regret.
At lunch and dinner, the salads are very good, but the restaurant goes well beyond raw veggies, with grain bowls like the Chipotle Avocado and Lime Bowl—a mix of organic quinoa, brown rice, steamed kale, corn, black beans, fresh salsa, and avocado, topped with spicy chipotle lime dressing. Choose to top it with the tender, moist, slow-cooked short ribs from the selection of protein add-ons for a hearty main course.
Nu Kitchen also offers burgers (turkey, veggie and salmon) and sandwiches. The Pesto Chicken Flatbread is made with all-natural chicken—or vegan chicken as you like—along with house-made pesto, sliced tomatoes, pickled red onions, spinach, and melted mozzarella. Grilled on flatbread, it is delicious.
About half of all the pastries—available from morning until they run out each day—are gluten-free. Chocolaty peanut butter protein balls will give you a boost of energy. Grab the house-made Pop Tarts if you find them, or the London Fog cookie, gluten-free and vegan, flavored with Earl Grey, cardamom and bergamot—it’s the perfect treat to accompany a cup of coffee or tea. Looking for something stronger? The restaurant sells a selection of local beers from top breweries, and was planning to add wine and cocktails at press time—along with a parklet and outdoor seating along Pleasant Street. Perfect for people-watching in Newburyport’s busy downtown.
19-23 Pleasant St, Newburyport, 978-954-3271, thenukitchen.com