Around The Circle Featuring Chef Chris Terrazas of Noodle Bar Uptown
In our new series, Around The Circle, follow along as we uncover interesting facts and stories of the neighborhood spanning fashion, food, arts, culture, local businesses and so much more.
We are excited to kick-off this series with Chef Chris, whose upbringing in Mexico & Colorado add new influence and perspective to the Asian-American cuisine at Noodle Bar Uptown (NBU). Beginning his career with Momofuku as a line cook for Noodle Bar East Village, he quickly climbed the ranks to Executive Sous Chef of NBU.
When did you know that you wanted to be a chef?
I was in middle school when I realized I had an interest in cooking. I used to make little snacks and sandwiches for my little brother and enjoyed it, always trying to make them nicer and nicer with what I had. Right after high school I started cooking out of necessity but that interest was still there and it grew and developed into a passion and eventually a career.
What influence does growing up in Mexico & Colorado have on your cooking at NBU?
A lot, if not all, of my food has Mexican influences. I try to recreate some of my favorite dishes that I grew up with, so it’s an interesting mix of Korean and Japanese ingredients we have in the restaurant that I incorporate it into my more traditional Mexican recipes, creating some exciting dishes.
Most surprising ingredient that you use?
It should not be a surprise because it is so tasty but, fish sauce!
Favorite item on the menu & why?
The spicy tomatillo rice cakes! I am not alone in this; it is a staff favorite and a really popular dish at NBU. Seared pork belly with crispy and chewy rice cakes, tossed in the tomatillo sauce that is rich and spicy and then hit with fresh lemon juice to brighten it up. So delicious.
3-5 staples you always keep stocked in your fridge?
Rice, Beans, Beer, Pork Chops.
If you were coming in for dinner service at NBU, what would be your perfect meal from start to finish?
This is what I always recommend. Start off with the Crudo, snack on the Japanese Potatoes while drinking any of our delicious cocktails. Followed by an order of Shrimp Buns, and either the Beef Cumin Noodles or the Spicy Tomatillo Rice Cakes. To finish off the meal, Buttermilk Soft Serve with Strawberry/Rhubarb compote.
How are you inspired to come up with new menu items?
I like to try out new restaurants and see what is trending. But traveling is where I get most of my inspiration. Trying new flavors, new cuisines, new ingredients.
Restaurateur and chef, David Chang, opened Momofuku Noodle Bar at The Shops at Columbus Circle in 2018 serving a constantly changing roster of noodles, steamed breads, soft serve, and daily dishes.