Chino Chinatown is the culinary vision of chef Uno Immanivong and Adrian Verdin, further accented by the offerings of mixologist, Ian Reilly. Uno, known primarily for her role in ABC’s “The Taste” with Anthony Bourdain, is renowned for her ability to create elegant, yet impactful dishes.
The vibe of the restaurant leans towards an Asian theme; however, once the menus are presented, one can easily understand Adrian’s contributions from his homeland in Mexico. Of the countless fusion restaurants I have frequented, Chino Chinatown is distinctly unique, and is sure to please adventurists and purists alike.
Upon arrival, I was presented with one of Ian Reilly’s cocktails, known as “47 Ronin”. A Japanese-inspired blend of Yamakazi 12 Japanese whisky, goji berry groseille, yuzu, and charged sake, the cocktail had a pleasantly tart opening, which eventually succumbed to the depth of the whisky. The cocktail finished with a lingering sweetness, and just an essence of mint.
Elote, one of my favorite Mexican street food staples, was served in picturesque fashion. Sitting atop a banana leaf, each bite hit all senses by utilizing the provided combination of corn, cotija cheese, cilantro, bone marrow sriracha aioli and charred lime juice.
Our “shared plates” experience commenced with the lobster shooters, followed by Uno’s decadent duck fat fried rice. The poached lobster was stylishly presented in shot glasses, each of which our server filled slowly with a blend of coconut, guajillo and Thai curry. Each shot opened with an ocean-like salinity, chased immediately by a warm, butter-cream finish.
The duck fat fried rice was as enticing as it sounds – and even more so once you broke the fried egg on top. As the yolk dissipated and the egg whites slowly faded into the mix of rice, shrimp, peas, Chinese sausage and crispy BBQ pork, one couldn’t help but to admit that things were about to get serious. Willing to share or not, this is one plate that should not be missed!
With a few different “bowl” options to choose from, we selected the Phozole and Ramen. Phozole, a combination of Vietnamese Pho and Pozole, consisted of hominy and shredded braised oxtail in a bone marrow broth. Served tableside, the warmth of the broth brought out the aromas sitting patiently at the bottom of the bowl. Very enticing.
My personal favorite was the ramen, as the noodles were perfectly prepared al dente. However, it was the gochujang marrow butter with barbacoa and a hard boiled egg made the dish for me. The marrow butter provided the broth with an intensely rich and earthy flavor, which, surprisingly, remained thin and approachable.
While difficult to select a favorite final course, the picturesque sea bass, served atop Chinese broccoli and a Thai chili glaze, seemed to stand out. Sweet and delicate, with a beautifully browned crust, the sea bass provided the exact texture one desires when paired with the crunch and bitterness of Chinese broccoli. Artfully adorned with a sprinkling of colorful herbs, it is the perfect dish for anyone that enjoys a substantive and hearty seafood entree.
While the development is yet to be fully complete, Trinity Groves continues to impress. Each new addition complements the next, allowing for the optimal dining experience for those in search of new and innovative cuisine. Deservedly, Chino Chinatown is anticipated to be one of the best new restaurants in Dallas in 2014, however, I would highly recommend beating the crowds and making a personal appearance before this year’s end.