Shawn Darragh and chef Ben Puchowitz — who riff on Asian flavors at their Cheu in Center City and Fishtown and at Bing Bing Dim Sum in South Philly — are going after the Japanese izakaya experience at Nunu, opening Oct. 1 at 1414 Frankford Ave.

Nunu, in a new building a cross a small courtyard from the century-old police horse stable that houses Cheu Fishtown, was supposed to open last spring. But contractor issues — what's nu there? — pushed it back.

Like the partners' other eateries, Nunu is snug — seating about 30 people in semicircular banquettes, a few small tables, booths, and about a dozen seats at the bar. Rohe Creative set up the bar beneath a sea of red lanterns and opted for finely milled wood on the back and side walls. A neon fixture next to the restroom alternately flashes as a hen and rooster to symbolize that it's unisex.

The back of Nunu's bar has a drink rail built into the window.

Nunu's vibe is intended to be less frenetic than the others, as well.

Impossible Burger at Nunu, 1414 Frankford Ave.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Impossible Burger at Nunu, 1414 Frankford Ave.

Darragh says Nunu was as a preemptive strike in the white-hot neighborhood, which is now home to such destinations as La Colombe, Suraya, and Wm. Mulherin's Sons and soon will be home to Aether, a seafood restaurant, and a Japanese restaurant called Hiroki.

"We opened Cheu Fishtown [in summer 2017] and our landlord happened to own the building next to our patio," he said.

"At that time, it was a hole in the ground. Ben and I decided that instead of having a neighbor that we didn't necessarily like, [that we would] come up with a concept. Originally, it was supposed to just be a drinking area while people waited for Cheu. Since a trip to Japan in November, it's turned into its own restaurant, with a full-blown izakaya menu, cocktails, and a small beer list."

Nunu, 1414 Frankford Ave., as viewed from the street side.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Nunu, 1414 Frankford Ave., as viewed from the street side.

Puchowitz's menu includes yakitori, grilled items (including avocado and served with ponzu sauce, burnt bread crumbs, sea salt, and smoked trout roe), a toast, raw items, Japanese curry, and katsu sandwiches.

Don't miss the Impossible Burger, coated in panko and topped with a slaw of katsu sauce, mayo, and cabbage and served on milk bread from Lost Bread Co.

Dishes at Nunu: Chicken curry, Ouija fries, chicken skewers.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Dishes at Nunu: Chicken curry, Ouija fries, chicken skewers.

Besides the small beer list, beverage manager Kelly Brophy oversees plenty of sake. She also will make chuhai cocktails, which mixes a spirit like sake, shochu or vodka with seltzer and fermented fruit.

Through a deal with Suntory, Nunu also has a tap system that mixes seltzer with whiskey for lower-octane cocktails. It also draws the seltzer at 110 psi rather than the usual 75 psi for more bubbles, Darragh explains. It's then flavored. These drinks contain about an ounce of whiskey, opposed to an ounce and a half or more in a typical cocktail.

Chef Ben Puchowitz (left) and co-owner Shawn Darragh at Nunu, 1414 Frankford Ave.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Chef Ben Puchowitz (left) and co-owner Shawn Darragh at Nunu, 1414 Frankford Ave.

Hours will be 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Friday, and noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (kitchen open till midnight).