The shtick: Like your favorite brunch dishes took six months to backpack through Asia.
The vibe: Mott Street, Edward Kim’s follow-up to his neighborhood fixture Ruxbin Kitchen, takes its menu inspiration from all over Asia. The space captures much of that eclecticism—industrial-cool fixtures, exposed pantry shelving, a particularly lovely patio. At night, it feels sexy and lively and intimate, but during the day it’s as chic and cheery as the Wicker Park and Noble Square couples occupying every single table (seriously, at prime time there’s not a spare seat in the house, so plan for a reservation). 9 out of 10
The drinks: The menu emphatically makes the point that the Wicker Snapper ($12) is not a Bloody Mary in spite of its suspiciously Bloody Mary-esque ingredients list (gin, clarified tomato, black pepper, etc.). We’re forced to agree with this—it is indeed not a Bloody Mary but in the best possible way. It’s summery and refreshing (the tomato is more like an infused water than a straight-up juice, rendering the drink a lovely translucent red-orange) but packs a kick thanks to the addition of sambal. Also great: Leon’s Triumph ($10), which sips like a shochu-spiced milk tea. Ingenious twists on the classics—we’re here for it. 9 out of 10
The food: The ingenuity continues with the food. After a bowl of the silky congee ($10) studded with bits of Thai sausage, there was a platter of glorious (and gluten-free, if you’re into that sort of thing) coconut pancakes ($12) with a dollop of coconut cream dripping down the side—burnished to a perfect golden brown and dusted with toasted coconut flakes, they were some of the fluffiest specimens we’ve seen on the brunch scene. Then there’s the hefty kalbi and eggs ($15), with several meaty short ribs, well-fried eggs, and our new obsession, pungent kimchi-potato hash. Not a middling dish on the list. 9 out of 10
The service: Familiar and easy-going. You can tell there’s some genuine love for the brunch menu rather than it feeling like a burden for the kitchen to bear on Sundays. 9 out of 10
Overall: A winner. 9 out of 10
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