Known mostly for breakfast tacos and brisket, the live music capital of the world is currently on a spring roll bender. The hottest tables in town, including Larry McGuire’s Elizabeth Street Café; Paul Qui’s newest food trailers (East Side Kings at The Grackle and Hole in the Wall, a live music institution on the University of Texas strip); and Ramen Tatsu-Ya, a tiny ramen shop with a cult following among noodle and pork belly enthusiasts, have Asian-influenced menus.
The most anticipated sriracha fix of the year is Sway, a modern Thai restaurant from the La Condesa team (owners Jesse Herman and Delfo Trombetta, chef Rene Ortiz, and pastry chef Laura Sawicki), which opened a few days ago. Designed by award-winning architect Michael Hsu, Sway (meaning elevated, delicious), has an open kitchen (“so the heartbeat of the scene will be exposed,” Ortiz says) and a clean, edgy style (a hipster’s take on a traditional northern Thai-style lanna house).
Don’t-miss dishes include Son in Law (crispy farm egg with braised pork shoulder, thick soy, and chili vinegar); Jungle Curry (Texas wagyu beef, red chili, baby corn, eggplant, peppercorns, coconut cream); Rose Apple Stir Fry (chicken with shiitake, holy basil, and red chili); Pad Kwetio (wide rice noodles, pork belly, Chinese broccoli, tofu, black wok water); and Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish.
Food & Wine’s “Best New Pastry Chef” Laura Sawicki is serving clever, vibrant desserts, including Frozen Miso White Chocolate Mousse (mango calamansi sorbet and sticky rice); Jasmine Tea Panna Cotta (lychee, grape, thai basil, cilantro, and coconut lychee sorbet); and an irresistible Tapioca Pudding with coconut, yuzu, basil seeds, puffed wheat, avocado sorbet.
She will also be offering a variety of house-made ice creams and sorbets with flavors like pandan leaf and milk chocolate 5-spice, and a family-style banana split. Which means over a kettle of jasmine silver needles tea, you’ll be plotting your next trip back.