Last week we chatted up the delightful Uno Immanivong who will be opening up Chino in the Trinity Groves area of Dallas along with her spirited partner Adrian Verdin. Uno is also appearing on the new Bourdain television reality cooking program, The Taste. This past weekend we were able to gain a bit of insight into Chino, and was pleasantly surprised by what she served Saturday evening.
The pop-up dinner was held in the comfortable digs at Four Corners Brewing Company, also in Trinity Groves. I had the pleasure to dine with Four Corners owner Greg Leftwich, who is also a huge fan of Uno’s work.
The evening began with a cocktail reception hosted by Verdin, who also is working on a cocktail reality series that he is currently shopping to the networks. The program would be hosted by our local bartender to the stars Jason Kosmas, owner of the 86 spirits line. Verdin knows his way around a bar, and was tossing out some clever cocktails along with samplings of the Four Corners brews.
During the cocktailing we were served Srirachi truffle chips, which were waffle cut potatoes misted with truffle oil, then dusted with cojita cheese and chives along with srirachi. We also enjoyed a fried tamarind quail egg that was panko dredged and fried. This was served with a spicy tamarind sauce.
Later, at the tables, Uno offered a first course of lobster bisque shooters that had a hint of curry and a ball of crisped lobster tail.
The shaved papaya salad with fried chicken croutons was incredible, and surprising. This consisted of tart and spicy ribbons of mango and papaya topped with a Thai chile infused grapefruit and served with tiny balls of sticky fried chicken. This was an amazing dish.
What followed intrigued the table as much as it made us smile. Uno has a terrific sense of humor and it shined with the braised pork belly enchiladas that were served with a fried egg and crispy onion strings. The sweet five spiced belly was nestled in a rice flour crepe, similar to what you might see on any decent dim sum cart, but this was topped with the egg, and served with a Meyer lemon ponzu and pickled veggies. The accompanying spicy kimchee fried rice was a meal unto itself.
To finish the meal we were served a grilled banana with a home-made coconut ice cream and a salty dulce con leche and a pistachio brittle.
The meal was magnificently played, and showed off Uno’s talents fully. I am looking forward to yet another pop up before the opening of her restaurant, Chino. You are going to like this one, folks.