How do you feel about a Hip-Hop Chinese Restaurant? How about a BBQ place where patrons line up at 8:00 a.m. in hopes of snagging lunch before the brisket runs out?
You may have heard of Franklin barbecue, since it's been featured on several food shows, and luminaries such as President Obama make it a priority dining experience while in Austin. I haven't stood in line, but instead sneak over to Loro on the Southwest side for a quick taste of the world famous brisket. However, if you want the full experience, bring a lawn chair and make friends in the line at Franklins.
Old Thousand is a Chinese restaurant whose ambience music is Hip-Hop. The name means "hustler" or "long con" in Chinese slang, which further proves their sense of humor and embrace of satirical perspective. East Side Magazine describes the cognitive dissonance:
"The first clue that Old Thousand is serving up reimagined Chinese food should be the panda on the wall wearing a crown and chain. The second clue should be the menu."
The Buddha on the counter also wears a gold chain and a mask. The obligatory red lantern chandeliers complement and contrast with wallpaper that looks like it came from your grandmother's house. The brisket fried rice with burnt ends is a must to experience. We also had the sautéed brussel sprouts, which my friend really liked, but were too spicy for me. They also offer unusual and original cocktails, along with some classics. Mine had silver tequila, milk, bitters and pineapple. She had an old fashioned.
From another culinary part of the world comes Juan in a Million, where I've taken my son for brunch since he was three. He's now 28. The name itself makes it a destination breakfast/lunch place, and the food confirms it as one. It's been named Home of the Best Hangover Eats in Austin (Eater) and selected in the Top 50 Breakfast Tacos in the U.S. (Business Insider).
According to the website:
"Juan in a Million has been serving Mexican breakfast and lunch in East Austin since 1980. Opened by two school teachers, Juan and Myrna Meza, the restaurant values their homemade recipes and welcoming everyone like family. Juan still shakes hands with everyone who walks through the doors."
Kemuri-Tatsuya in Far East Austin is a Japanese restaurant with barbecue. That's not what makes it unique in Austin, however. It's unique because you can have.an entire meal consisting of bites or tastes of all the dishes. The final one is the most fun. Their website describes the experience.
"Eating becomes more of an experience at Kemuri-Tatsuya, where you get to try small bites of different dishes. This restaurant combines Japanese dishes with Texas bbq, including their smoked meats. They start you with some sake before moving to the experience. Each dish is full of flavor such as the hibiscus aguachile ceviche and the chicken meatball with a koji soy cured egg. The highlight was the last dish (before dessert) where you get to handroll your own sushi using their own smoked brisket."