Baijiu has to be one of, if not, the most anticipated/hyped restaurants to open up for 2017. I remember first hearing word about it back in June so fast forward 8 months later, it’s finally open. They did a slick job with their social media and it showed as it was slammed on opening Friday night.
Sister restaurant to North 53, you already know the aesthetics and vibe is on point.
The inside has a massive bar (25 seats), a “family” table (6-10 people that you can reserve) and about 6-8 tables makes up the rest of the space. It’s dark and intimate with sweet hip hop/rap beats on repeat. My kind of music.
Our group of five arrived a bit before 6:00pm and had to wait for a table to open up. Seems like this place will be a hotspot for the after work downtown crowd. Good ’cause Etown is in desperate need of those.
Cocktails make up most of the drink menu but there are other libations.
The food menu is a mixture of Asian fusion, small plate sharing dishes.
Last days in Vietnam ($14.00)
Soju, cognac, sherry, black pepper & Thai basil syrup, lime, lemongrass, soursop and bird’s eye chili. They had me at soju; it went down smoothly. Cocktails are pretty legit. Friends tried the milk punch, lazy Suzanne and champagne cocktail.
Hennessy & green tea ($9.00/shot)
What’s a Friday night without Hennessy? Best part about this shot was the green tea. It must be homemade or something ’cause it was the best chaser I’ve had with shots…
Deviled tea eggs ($6.00)
Black tea, crispy shallots, pickled chilies, togarashi, wasabi, scallion and sesame seeds. They only come in fours so two in the group had to share. I like the addition of the shallots on top to give the deviled eggs a crispy element but they were pretty typical.
Mi krop salad ($8.00)
Shredded vegetables, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, palm sugar, fish sauce, fresh lime and cilantro. It seemed like they were going for a Thai style papaya salad but it was a big miss for all of us. It was missing that spicy fire AND it really needed some acidity. The fresh lime wasn’t cutting it.
Pork and shrimp lion’s head dumplings ($11.00)
Pine Haven pork, white shrimp, soy, garlic, cabbage, sesame and a ginger-soy dipping sauce. Sure, these were good dumplings but you only get 5 pieces and it’s small. Worth it? Mehhh…maybe go to Chinatown to get your fix instead.
Pine Haven beef carpaccio ($12.00)
Grass-fed chuck, sesame sauce, jalapeno ponzu, crispy shallots, scallions and lotus root. The carpaccio was nice; beautiful thin slices and jalapeno ponzu sauce was well balanced. Again, crispy shallots and the lotus root added a nice texture to the dish.
Char siu pico fried rice ($14.00)
BBQ pork, tofu, egg, bean sprouts, 5 spice, hoisin and pico de gallo. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the fried rice. It was smothered with a lot of bean sprouts (aka. filler) and someone was a bit too heavy handed with the salt.
XO squid noodles ($18.00)
Squid “noodles”, carrots, bok choy, Pine Haven bacon, dry chilies and pork floss. Now these were something different and unique. The noodles were actually the squid; tender, juicy and chewy. A well executed fusion spin.
Tom ka clams ($15.00)
Coconut milk, kaffir lime, fish sauce, Thai chili, coriander, lemongrass and rice noodles. The clams were freakin’ legit. I could smell the lemongrass the moment it was set on the table. I’d happily order a bowl for myself.
Whole fried ocean perch ($32.00 medium)
Sweet and sour peanut emulsion, coriander, shaved peppers, pomelo, lime and fish sauce. The price depends on the size of the fish. Our waitress told us a medium is about $30ish while an XL would be $40 something. We ordered this as we were still hungry and lucky we did because it was probably the best thing we had all night. Comes full fish, with head and eye and all. Perfect if you’re Asian, maybe not so much if you’re not used to that. Anyways, the peanut sauce it came with was super addictive while the fish was tender, flaky, perfectly cooked.
Fried bao ice cream sandwich ($7.00)
Fried steam bun with coconut milk chocolate semi freddo. Our one friend D ordered this for himself and literally couldn’t stop. One of those stuff your face moments. But he must have the worst taste buds because he thought he was tasting strawberries. M and I took a bite and could clearly tell it was coconut…oh boy. The bun is fresh and pairs perfectly with the ice cream; it’s an excellent dessert.
You can tell Baijiu is going to do very well. Sweet beats, friendly staff, solid drinks, this will be the hot spot to bring a date or hang with the homies.
#103, 10359 – 104 Street