Everybody loves a good makeover story, especially one that doesn’t involve a bullhorn-toting tool Ty Pennington or months of reassuring your friend that the swelling will go down eventually and that, of course, the “Michael Jackson” nose is still all the rage.
But now we have an ugly duckling that’s turned into a delicious swan over on Lemmon Avenue. Where Thai Nipa used to churn out tasty fare in a decidedly dumpy atmosphere that encouraged a what-you-don’t-see-crawling-in-the-kitchen-won’t-hurt-you attitude, Manow Asian Brasserie has emerged and taken a vat of Clorox to the place.
Not only is the space now dimly lit and definitively chic, the food is fantastic and affordable.
Serving sushi, curries and Asian dishes from varying regions and countries, there’s something for every foodie fetish. The sushi freaks in our group let out “oohs” and “ahs” over the eel sashimi and spicy tuna rolls, while the rest of us marveled as the mohawked sushi chef brought out large slabs of fish to show us its freshness.
For the non-seafood eaters, the Pad See Eew with beef features a generous serving of vegetables over flat rice noodles that finds a perfect balance of salty, sweet and spicy.
And while we were dying to try the Japanese Curry, the small-batch sauce had already run out for the day. But the Red Curry with its creamy coconut milk and aromatic spices was a more-than-acceptable substitute that we poured over sticky rice to dutifully absorb every drop.
Best of all, the prices are dirt cheap for the quality of the food (one of the benefits of a swank spot hiding out in a dingy strip center) and the restaurant is eager to reach out to the hungry gays and lesbians of the neighborhood, so feel free to have a full-on same-sex make-out session over your Miso.
Or show some decorum and just enjoy your food. On second thought, we like that idea better.
Manow Asian Brasserie
4315 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas