Opening Thursday, October 21 for dinner and drinks, Harwood Hospitality Group’s newest concept, Elephant East offers guests an adventurous and lively escape from the ordinary. With layered and ornate design and a menu that focuses on technique, flavors and signature dishes from Southeastern Asia as well as stylish cocktails, sake and soju, Elephant East promises to be the next new hot spot in The Harwood District.
Located at 2850 N. Harwood St, Suite 120, the new restaurant, bar, and lounge neighbors Harwood Arms. Elephant East is the second concept to debut on La Rue Purdue, the European-inspired alleyway at the base of the office tower Harwood No. 10, and the tenth concept by Harwood Hospitality Group.
Elephant East’s Executive Chef Thomas Griffin draws inspiration for the dishes through his years traveling across Asia where he was able to explore remarkable destinations including Bangkok, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Shanghai, Vietnam and Taipei. He says, “My mother, being from Singapore, ensured that we traveled across Malaysia, Indonesia, China and part of Thailand. It was fantastic to use these inspirations on the menu.”
Having grown up peeling snap peas in his family’s restaurant, Chef Thomas chased his passion for perfecting pan-Asian cuisine. After traveling through Asia, he spent 5 years learning from Philip Tang, a James Beard-nominated chef. With that mentorship, Chef Thomas mastered the art of Asian noodle and breadmaking along with wok cooking and dim sum production. Chef Thomas brings a new outlook on Southeastern Asian cuisine to Dallas with Elephant East. His culinary philosophy is “authenticity meets locality.”
The Food Menu
Guests can expect starters such as house-made Baos with pork belly, cucumber, pickled shallots, apple char siu; Nems with pork sausage, glass noodles, carrots, sweet chili lime, gem lettuce, shiso, basil; shareable Korean Fried Chicken with rice-flour crusted popcorn chicken served two ways, soy garlic, gochujang BBQ, furikake rice, and kimchi.
Entrees include Singapore Noodles made with egg noodles, Chinese sausage, Napa cabbage, snow peas, yellow curry; Papaya Salad made with sweet potato flakes, green beans, peanuts, tomatoes, chili lime vin, herbs; Korean Short Rib with galbi boneless short rib, sticky rice, kimchi, sesame apple demi; and more. Playful desserts include Chinese Donuts with red sugar and a picturesque Bubble Waffle Sundae.
Steamed baos are made in-house, which is unique to the area. Another unique first for the District, Elephant East’s menu incorporates authentic ingredients from Asian purveyors such as Chinese lotus paste and kaffir limes native to tropical Southeast Asia. The restaurant has also partnered with Texas Sake Company in Austin that uses spent rice grains known as kasu to ferment Elephant East’s kimchi, pickles, sauces and more. Guests will also notice a special flavor incorporated in the food from Chef Thomas’ mastery of wok cooking known as wok hei.
A stylish and flavorful collection of cocktails complement Chef Thomas’ cuisine with spirits and flavors common in East Asia and Asia-Pacific.
Jonathan Sharp, Elephant East General Manager says, “Our cocktails showcase traditional Asian spirits such as soju and baijiu and feature recipes with ingredients such as lychee, guava, Asian pear, mango, star anise, cinnamon cloves, and ginger. We also mindfully curated our impressive sake selection, making sure labels from Texas found a home on our menu."
Bar menu features include the Spring Snow – Empress Gin, lavender-infused syrup, lemon, St-Germain; Singapore Sling – Gin, Herring Cherry Liqueur, fresh lime and soda water; Pear Mule – house-infused pear vodka, Texas ginger lime sake, St. George spiced pear liqueur, fresh lime and ginger beer; Asian Spiced Old Fashioned – Harwood Maker’s Mark, Elephant East bitters, house-spiced peach honey syrup; Lychee Martini – lychee-infused sake, Roku Gin, Benedictine, lime, luxardo cherries; and Margarita of the East – Exotico Blanco tequila, ginger lime agave, candied ginger.
Designed by HDF and Duncan Design Group, the 2,450-square foot space offers a journey to the liveliest corner of Asia in Dallas’ 19-city block Harwood District. This contemporary pan-Asian restaurant, bar and lounge is sure to send the senses on an exhilarating joy ride with seating for 66 inside, 12 seats at the bar, and 24 patio seats on the La Rue Perdue alleyway.
The design features hand carved wood, tropical and bamboo greenery as well as a symphony of rich jewel tones such as red, purple, saffron, and gold to provide guests with a vibrant and warm environment to drink and dine.
In Thai culture, the elephant is a symbol of fortune. Elephant motifs are celebrated in the restaurant with intricate hand carved wood Thai elephant panels adorning the walls. A striking red bamboo installation featuring a 7-foot elephant faces McKinnon Street, offering another striking, artistic, and engaging design element of Elephant East. Designed by Dallas sculptor Hobbes Vincent with Artist Uprising, the stunning work of art is an alluring invitation to Elephant East, while also inspiring a sense of wander, curiosity, immersion, and exploration.
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