Consider Pepper Smash to be Vijay Sadhu’s playful little cocktail den located in the Shops at Legacy in Plano. We took a look at the place while it was being built and gathered plenty of background, but today Pepper Smash is open and ready for business and we were hungry.
The atmosphere is built for comfort and the form takes full advantage of every nook in the smallish restaurant in true shotgun shack style. Hot woods and metals surround the atmosphere giving the new restaurant a clean updated vibe. A garage door allows the crowd to spill out onto the active parking lot inviting passerby’s to stop in for a look-see.
Inside guests will enjoy an extensive list of hand cooked cocktails created by Keith LaBonte, owner of Four Lounge in the State and Allen section of Uptown. The drinks, like the signature Pepper Smash, are created behind the bar much like chef Vijay would in his kitchen using sautéed peppers and herbs to make a powerful and boastful libation.
There are plenty of drinks to choose from, and you could get lost in the selection. It is suggested to ask the bartenders for the hot drink of the moment and run with that one.
To the far end of the restaurant you will see Vijay’s very open kitchen laid out suspiciously close to his former digs at Stephan Pyle’s Samar. You will even find a few of his former dishes on this new menu such as Blistered Shisito Peppers sprinkled with the very same smoked salt ($7).
There are plenty of small plates to choose from, and they are quite good and very sharable. Vijay’s signature Almond Crusted Soft Shell Crab ($9) made the list and is a must try.
Also noteworthy is the flatbread. Note this is made using the same dough Vijay would make with his naan and even uses his tandoor oven to crisp the bread. The ingredients are really nice, but on our visit we would have been pleased with a crisper crust. Order this, and ask for it to be crispy.
Winners on the big plate side of the menu include the Striped Bass served with potato and bacon hash and watercress ($21) and the Grilled Quail served with black-eyed peas and porcini mushrooms and rice ($14).
Sadly, there are no Indian dishes to be found. Perhaps with enough coaxing chef Vijay will add those or offer a good curry as a special.
Pepper Smash is worth a visit. There are plenty of kicked up bar fare and fun cocktails to choose from and would be a fantastic and unusual evening out on the town.