Tonight is your last chance to dine out this decade. And it’s also a New Year’s Eve Blue Moon, which only happens every 19 years, so get out of the house and out to dinner.
We realize that many of you already have your reservations for $300-per-person Prix fixe dinners that on any other night of the year would only cost you $50, but in case you haven’t made up your mind (or paid off your credit card), we have a great suggestion, especially if you plan to hit the nearby gay clubs to ring in 2010.
Our on-the-cheap recommendation? WaiWai Kitchen on Lemmon Avenue. (“Wai” rhymes with “Thai.” And “Bi.” And “Caress my inner thigh” for that matter.) This order-at-the-counter restaurant is Dallas’ second location (the other’s over by SMU), and it occupies the former Manow space (Thai Nipa before that) at the corner of Lemmon and Wycliff, next to the newly red-ified KFC.
Sure, it’s far from fancy, but for the price, the food is every bit as good—and often better—than many other Asian spots in Dallas. For far less cash than less-than-authentic food at some place like P.F. Chang’s you can sample several dishes and have plenty of leftovers to keep in your car for that post-last-call hunger that usually leads you to a 90-minute drive-thru wait at Jack in the Box.
One of our favorite things about WaiWai Kitchen is that the décor is crisp, clean and modern. We loves us some Thai Noodle and Rice over on Fitzhugh, but we often feel like we need a tetanus shot before we dine there. Not so at WaiWai. We’d almost eat noodles off the floor to prove our point, but we’re allergic to Mop ’N Glo, so why risk it?
Everything we tried there has been delicious. The Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) is the one dish that’s our litmus test for determining the quality of any Thai restaurant (though WaiWai is not exclusively Thai; there are Chinese and Japanese dishes, too). WaiWai’s Drunk Noodles are excellent at a mere $6.95 for beef or chicken. (We recommend the chicken).
Funny enough, the Basil Stir Fry is one of the few items on the menu without a chile pepper symbol next to it. But Holy Great Balls on Fire! This is one hot dish. Delicious, but spicy with a capital OMFG. That’s because of the jalapeños, which should’ve clued us in, but without the little red icon, we were lulled into a sense of salivatory safety. Also, note that the chicken used in this dish is ground, rather than chunks of white meat.
Egg Rolls are crispy, not greasy. Summer rolls are huge and delicious. And the sushi is fresh and good (not great), but the price is definitely right.
For non-sushi offerings, nothing is more than $8.55 per plate, with most items ringing in at the $6.95 price point. You can add a drink and your choice of Edamame, Miso Soup, Fresh Summer Rolls, Crispy Spring Rolls, Dumplings or a Sushi Roll for just $2.99. Daily lunch specials are also a steal.
We called and both the Lemmon Avenue and Lover’s Lane locations are serving until 9:45 p.m. tonight, so consider a stop here before you fill up on Champagne. And if you’ve already got New Year’s Eve dinner plans, try WaiWai for lunch or dinner in early 2010. We’d love to see this hidden gem really take off.
4315 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas
11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., 7 days a week