San Antonio – Tuk Tuk Tap Room
One of the most interesting things we did while in San Antonio was attend a Pop-Up Dinner at a restaurant slated to open in the month following our trip. Chef David Gilbert with Steve and Jody Newman, have paired up to open Tuk Tuk Taproom just north of downtown across from the Pearl. The restaurant and bar will serve Asian street fare and offer more than 60 craft beer taps. Also on tap will be 2 different types of kombucha.
“The combination of street food in Asia and beer is the most common food and beverage pairing amongst the locals across the ‘eastern creek,’”. Gilbert, who was executive chef at Sustenio inside Hotel Éilan Resort and Spa, was a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef-Southwest this year. He also was named 2007 Rising Star Chef by StarChefs.com and authored “Kitchen Vagabond,” a description of his food travels through Southeast Asia.
I could barely believe we were invited to dine at a restaurant that had no kitchen, no tables, and no air conditioning and was smack dab in the middle of construction. We ate our dinner in the front lot of the establishment sitting at giant spool tables with folding chairs. The moment we met Chef Gilbert, I knew why we were here- the food. Interesting plates of Asian street fare paired with craft beer is quite a delightful match. Steve paired the beers for the courses and it all made sense- simply prepared foods with fresh ingredients prepared in traditional styles made for delicious, delectable delight. Our dinner included Shrimp & Pomelo wrapped in Bette leaf, a Green Papaya Salad, Satay with Chicken, Chiang Mai Sausage, & Tofu, Banh Mi, Green Curry, Larb, and finished with Asian fruits like Rambutan & Lychee. Everything we sampled was flavorful and unusual with authentic ingredients. Such joy & delight! It was truly a magical night- the food definitely transported us to far away lands and the entire group raved about the experience.
These guys are really committed to their respective crafts- food and beer. The partners are calling the restaurant/bar “the first chef-driven Asian food and craft beer concept” in the country. By the time you are reading this article- the restaurant will be open. I’ll call it a “definite do not miss” while in San Antonio. Nightwire wishes the partners much success and with such an interesting concept- look forward to it being standing room only in no time! I bet you’ll be reading about it somewhere else soon. Keep up with them on Facebook & Twitter or follow their progress at www.tuktuktaproom.com