"I love this thing because people think 'What, is that it?' And then they bite into it and they're, like, whoa," says Talde. It's a Thai-influenced appetizer, soft perilla leaves topped with toasted shrimp and coconut, a tamarind-bacon caramel, peanuts, and Thai bird chilies. "This is what Southeast Asian food is to me. All those flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, spice, umami. It all comes out in these bites."
Oyster-bacon pad thai ($15)
The thin, springy noodles here aren't blanched before they're used in the pad thai, but instead only soaked before they're stir-fried, "so that they rehydrate in the sauce, soaking it up almost like Italian pastas do." Thick chunks of bacon and fried oysters ride alongside bean sprouts and cabbage "and a ton of basil and cilantro to brighten it up. We get those flavors into the oil in the wok before we stir-fry; it perfumes the whole thing."
Pacquiao Punch ($10/16)
Served either for one or for two (yes, that's a double pictured here), it's a blend of Kracken rum, Brooklyn Republic vodka, curacao, and blood orange-lemon-lime juices; it's bright and acidic, less sweet than it might look.
Wonton noodle soup ($12)
The cracked-open egg shot.
Iceberg wedge ($9)
"I love eating wedge salads," says Talde. "And I love dipping stuff. When I was on Top Chef Season 4, Stephanie [Izard] and I would both end up dipping our food in stuff all the time—she'd have sriracha, I'd have ranch dressing—and we'd swirl them together and dip shit in that and I'd be like, do you do this? and she'd say 'Absolutely.'"
This "sri-rancha" dressing (made with "f***in'' banging" buttermilk ranch powder from Terra Spice) is the product of that friendship, here drenching iceberg wedges ("Don't you kind of love iceberg? It's cold and crisp and neutral, which is what lets the ranch dressing rock it. You taste more of every flavor because of it"). Sizable chunks of blue cheese and Chinese bacon join in. "There was a chef at Buddakan" (where Talde used to work), "and anytime he got Chinese bacon, he'd stick in the steamer for hours, all through service, and then pull it out before he stir-fried it with big hunks of vegetables, maybe a little oyster sauce. I loved those chunks of bacon."
Diplomatico rum and applejack blend with muddled limes, cherries, and brown sugar, strained and served up with black pepper on top.
Black Pepper Beef Brisket ($26)
"It's sort of barbecue, but sort of messy stoner food," says Talde. The brisket is rubbed with "all the flavors of pho—cinnamon, cardamom, fish sauce, palm sugar, tons of black pepper" before it's roasted at 200°F for upwards of 30 hours. "We just rub it down and wrap it up, leaving the fat on there, everything, and let it go." It's Talde's take on Texan barbecue, down to the toast underneath, which can't help but remind you of Texas toast. "I like the goofy pickled daikon on there, but what I really want to get is a mandolin that'll give you a crinkle cut. Like pickle chips."
Whole market fish ($25)
"When I was in Penang, in Malaysia," Talde said, "you'd see guys on the street just slathering chili on fish and wrapping it in a banana leaf and cooking it. I sort of wanted to replicate that... But I also wanted something like fish tacos." Here, it's a whole branzino rubbed in a turmeric-tomato jam, accented with coriander, ginger, and garlic, that's wrapped in banana leaf and served with mu shu-style pancakes. Dill and Thai basil ride on top. "With some Asian dishes, you can get sick of things served over rice. That's why I like these pancakes. There you go. Fish tacos."