Andrew Dilda’s long tenures at Reata and Lonesome Dove combine with his time spent as a barbecue consultant in China to produce a clever lounge and eatery. He hits all the right notes for patrons wanting delicious bites with a dive bar sensibility, with equal pampering for the omnivore and the vegan. Deviled eggs infused with green tea, hot mustard, and kimchi with a tajin-tagarashi dusting got our party started, and delicate wontons stuffed with chopped, smoked brisket and drizzled with black vinegar made a worthy sidekick. The salad starring king trumpet mushrooms fashioned as noodles with crispy enoki mushrooms on top, was bound with a creamy cashew dressing. Chicken-fried steak with green-curry gravy and sticky rice surprised with its success on the palate, and braised beef cheeks took on Szechuan seasoning and a poached duck egg over a mound of tater tots mingling with chopped red chiles and caramelized onions for over-the-top indulgence. Beware the stiff, exotic drinks (looking at you, neon-green Tokyo Tea); cheap bubbles and zero-proof cocktails make good options. Ample indoor and bar seating, with a breezy patio in back.
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Asian newcomer to Near Southside puts the fun in funky.