Two East Dallas Restaurants Refresh Fine Dining Menus for the Takeout Era
We’ve seen everything in the restaurant world over the past year: the paused animation, the bated breath, the deliberate hibernation. Chefs had to reinvent themselves and then reinvent themselves again. But the restaurants were quick.
Petra and the Beast and Khao Noodle Shop in East Dallas and their two James Beard nominated chefs are simultaneously developing new concepts with more casual, accessible dishes that are suitable for delivery and takeaway.
Misti Norris and Donny Sirisavath, who closed Khao earlier this month to recalibrate, have weathered and adjusted, and now they’re switching back to passionate projects that were actually a long time coming.
Broad egg noodles snuggle up to soothing objects like a soft egg.
Pickled greens will be part of the list.
Petra and the Beast make their debut on Rainbowcat
“It will all be noodles and [snacks], Things that are really comforting and really good, ”says Misti Norris.
Name the experiment, well, experimental. Call them multifaceted. (Anything that comes out of the kitchen and thinks of Norris’ head chef.) These traits no doubt apply to her new concept emerging from Petra and the Beast instead of the roadside a la carte menu that was recently discontinued as the tasting menu nights have moved indoors with extremely limited capacity.
Rainbowcat (designed by Norris with all caps) will be a work of love. Since Petra couldn’t work with the usual model, Norris decided to start a new company.
It is influenced by many kitchens but emphasizes comfort.
The new items will be offered for delivery and collection on the roadside.
Norris doesn’t want you to think that this means they are less thoughtful or sloppy. “Everything is still made in-house, still the same philosophy, just simplified,” she says. “So the idea is that everything is done really well, but easier.”
“But of course we will still have fun with it,” she says. It’s “just stuff we want to see when we order” for a late night dinner or a calming snack.
The wide variety of dishes Rainbowcat offers can be delivered and taken away.
The menu focuses on five or six pasta dishes and around five bites.
It will contain wide egg noodles with curry aubergines. Hungarian dumplings with black pepper ricotta and a soft egg. A chicken noodle soup reminiscent of the soup Norris’ mother made for her. (You can even take a liter of broth home with you to make soup.)
Hand-drawn noodles will take center stage and take pride of place, “which I’m pretty excited about,” says Norris. She practiced the noodles, which had been kneaded for a long time and then rested before they were pulled. “I’m super excited about it.” However, the team is excited about exploring various methods of making pasta in general.
Casu-marinated chicken thighs are soaked in dried pepper for snacks. (For the uninitiated, kasu is a pasty ingredient made from leftover yeast from sake production.) You can sit on your couch and order in the smoked boudin links that are already iconic. The semi-iconic crispy pork tails will be available to take away as well as a farm carrot dish that uses all parts of the vegetables in powders and icings. A white bean dip with a rumble of seeds and a homemade lap-cheong vinaigrette accented with the Chinese-style smoked sausage features chicharrones. Or how about dipping pork rillettes beaten with rice flour in a sour vegetable and mustard emulsion. Sounds complicated? They are not real, she insists.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she says. “And this year kind of forced it. So we’ll try. “She envisioned this idea as a casual concept that would come to Petra.
And yes, “I would love it if it turned into a brick and mortar” – says Norris.
It is “not intended to replace, but to fill the gap for the time being, since Petra cannot be 100 percent at the moment and how it was built”. That is, a place to collect.
The calming delivery menu includes optional homemade seasonal pickles and a family-style package with protein, noodles, pickles and “all that good stuff”.
As for the name, Norris says, “We thought rainbows and cats were great.” It’s the team’s unicorn project – their feral rainbow cat. “The whole idea behind this concept is that there is no reason for it. It’s just things that we really like and that we find delicious and like to make. “
Rainbowcat will start in about two weeks. The Petra tasting menu, charcuterie and takeaway dinner will continue.
Khao Noodle Shop becomes Khao Gang
The curry is sultry gold with Yukon potatoes and white aubergines and carrots as well as breaded schnitzel drizzled with homemade chili oil.
Donny Sirisavath and the Khao Noodle team turned the Khao Noodle Shop into the Khao Gang, a take-away delivery that deviates from the noodle-centered original to illuminate rice and soups. It will open gently next Wednesday.
“It’s about the street food. It has always been like that, ”says Sirisavath. Now with a different perspective and defined differently.
For Khao, he wanted to focus on noodles. Here he will highlight rice. “Khao” means rice. “Course” means stew, broth, soup or curry. Sirisavath grew up eating gangs in addition to eggs or egg whites and rice. (So in the summer he experimented with a chilled Laotian honeysuckle soup and tested everything that had to do with broth.)
He’s been planning the menu since November, but the idea was in the works long before that. When he was in Flushing, Queens last year to cook for an event that celebrated his 2019 Bon Appetit win as one of the best new restaurants of the year, he was already thinking ahead and knew, “We were going to open a rice shop “Says Sirisavath. “We wanted to do it for 2022.” Well, there is no time like the present when the future is not promised.
“We have a lot of curries that nobody knows about. We have a lot of soups that nobody knows about, ”he says of Laotian cuisine. Just like they have jeows (those intoxicating spices) that too few knew about until they were wonderfully made.
There will be nothing to be found off the beaten path. People want comfort. Comfort and alcohol. You will benefit from it too.
Items include bolder appetizers and snacks: a list of about five types of gang, five bites, and a dessert.
He has thought outside the box again. And you see his characteristic purple color, his skillful play with herbs and his love affair with the smoke of the grill (linked to his childhood).
Among the new dishes to look forward to: a yellow curry that is similar to a Thai curry but is more herbaceous, with macrut lime and galangal. Sweet and rich, it presents itself like Japanese curry with a fried schnitzel and a pile of purple-tinted rice – like a mix of tonkatsu and battleship curry, epitome of Japanese home cooking, with its own unique twists.
The curry is sultry gold with Yukon potatoes and white aubergines and carrots drizzled with homemade chili oil. Additionally, tomatoes roasted in coconut oil complete the circle of the coconut theme and add a little flavor. Served on a mix of purple and jasmine rice and garnished with super crispy, panko-coated and deep-fried Alaska pollock or chicken thighs. This will likely be a star.
This also applies to an egg roll with vermicelli on the outside soaked in purple rice water. Granny Smith apple, carrot, cucumber, mint, perilla leaf and lettuce tenderly hold a chicken patty filling. They come with a dipping sauce made from caramelized fish sauce, palm sugar, peanuts, garlic and shallots (for classic salty and sweet). The purple tinted vermicelli forms a soft nest that remains supple and structurally wonderful. (The idea came from an aha moment when you thought completely outside the box.) They are bouncy, with a fresh, sour, light taste. These will travel well and hit points that people yearn for: a little creative, mostly delicious, and comfortable.
Each meatball is umami-rich and coated with an almost sticky-sweet soy-based marinade.
The richness in chicken thighs transitions into grilled meatballs, which are hearty, funky, and a little chunky, and feature lemongrass, garlic, onion, and oyster sauce. Each bite is rich in umami and lacquered with an almost sticky-sweet soy-based marinade. They reminded him of the crushed skewers he ate on a trip to Bali last January.
And on the menu, which cuts prep time and maximizes inventory by not having as much protein (before they had beef, squid, shrimp, chicken, pork); Chicken is a marquee, whether in soup or grilled bite.
But you can also find a pork ball soup. The name “jued” means boring – it’s simple and clear, with winter melon and rice going creamy in a broth accented with dried shrimp and kissed with pork. It’s closest to congee for comforting simplicity, he’d bet.
The concept of Khao Gang brings together things that Sirisavath has always been about. It was born from the idea of what street food can be. First the pasta; now the rice and the gangs he grew up with.
“That was always the idea,” says Sirisavath. This small empire, but “not to saturate the market with our things”.
To get the delivery going, he brings them outside of Khao’s “family” and works with third-party vendors like Favor, Postmates and Uber Eats.
“If I can get five more people to order food,” he says, that’s a win.