Much of Chinese chow in the US is actually American Chinese cuisine. Beef & broccoli, chop suey, crab rangoon, General Tso’s chicken, fried wontons, sesame chicken, and fortune cookies, to name a baker’s half dozen, are American concoctions not found in China, conjured to meet minimal American standards. The chefs at Old Thousand (James Dumapit, formerly of Uchiko and now of Suerte, and David Baek, formerly of Uchi and Thai Kun and now of Oseyo) remixed American Chinese back with Chinese with a healthy dollop of Texas, hip-hop, and a chef’s touch.
The showstopper is the umami thrill-ride named Brisket Fried Rice (house smoked beef brisket, Chinese pork sausage, scallion, and egg; $18.50). The flavor is so smokey and beefy that I had to keep checking that the take-out box wasn’t on fire. This is a dish that coalburns into your memory like your first brisket (you do remember your first brisket, right?). The Chili Wontons (chicken wontons, chili relish, spicy chili oil; $6.5) are five pillows of pain (but not too much) and flavor, another menu standout.
The Xiao Mian (wheat noodles, peanut, szechuan peppercorn, spicy chili oil; $13.5) is one of Old Thou’s vegan dishes as is the Salt & Pepper Tofu (fried tofu, anaheim chili, pickled sweet pepper, onion, ginger, ponzu, and jasmine rice; $15.5), and both, although not as amazing as the brisket and wontons, are elevated versions of old Chinese-American standbys.
We’ve only been able to do take-out since, as of late May, Old Thou on Burnet had not yet opened up their dining room (the dining room is open at the original 11th Street location). It’ll be curious if Old Thou can recreate the soundtrack and energy of 11th Street.
Although named after a wildcard mah-jongg tile that’s also a term for an artful gambler, Old Thousand is far from a gamble–you can count on inventive reinventions of tired American-Chinese cuisine with a Texas twang.
web&where: interwebs; 4805 burnet road; (737)222-6637 (option 2)
what’s the deal? authentic Thai; table service
overall: *** (food***; instagrammability**)
cost: $$ (as long as you stay away from the specials)
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best] each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)
each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)
Brisket Fried Rice
Veggie Egg Roll