Fort Lauderdale has come a long way in its dining scene over the past few years, but the city has been lagging behind in the Asian department all along.
Sure, there have been Chinese restaurants, a Vietnamese spot, a million Thai-sushi joints, and a recently opened modern Asian concept on Las Olas (Bao Las Olas); however, for those who crave the full-flavored fare found across the continent, there has been much to be desired.
The brand new Temple Street Eatery is now offering fast-casual modern Asian fare, craft beer, interesting sake, and wines at prices even the most budget-conscious can afford.
The vibe here is Asian-industrial. Edison bulbs hang over the slate bar; wood tables are set with bottles of chop-sticks and chili oil; menu items are written on chalkboard walls above the open kitchen; a koi-adorned fabric hangs between the dining room and the back of the house.
During lunch, the relaxed interior is filled with office workers slurping up noodles and noshing on dumplings.
Just debuted several weeks back, by Alex Kuk (nephew of Christina Wan) the new restaurant offers an array of new takes on traditional comfort dishes from across the orient: Korean bibimbap, Japanese ramen, Vietnamese bahn mi.
Dubbed Asian-American comfort food, the items here are unique. The menu focused on blending the Asian-techniques and ingredients with western dishes. The kimchee quesadillas ($7) are a perfect example. Lemongrass grilled chicken is mixed with kimchi, caramelized onion, cheddar jack, gochujang (a pungent Korean condiment) cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Wonton tacos ($8) are another. It features poached shrimp, guacamole, lettuce, gochujang cream, and pineapple salsa for a twist on the popular Mexican dish.
The noodles and rice bowls are on the more authentic side. The bibimbap ($10) comes with brown or white rice along with Inari, mushroom, pickled vegetables, scallion, marinated bean sprout, fried egg, gochujang sauce, for a vegetarian take on the traditional Korean dish. The bulgogi rice bowl ($12) is for the meat-lovers. Marinated beef is sautéed with onion, carrot, scallion, and shoga (Japanese-style pickled veggies).
Noodles are more on the Japanese-side, with choice of ramen or soba. Items range from carnivorous to veggie-friendly. The bún rice noodle bowl ($11) comes with choice of lemongrass chicken, tofu, pork, or shrimp (for additional $2), with rice noodles, pickled vegetables, marinated bean sprout, lettuce, mint, cilantro, cucumber, nuoc cham vinaigrette. Miso noodle soup ($11) combines pork belly, scallion, bean sprout, and seasoned egg in pork miso broth. The shoyu noodle soup ($10) is vegetarian-friendly, with inari, bean sprout, mushroom, scallion, seasoned egg, and soy broth.
Dumplings are another customary option. The menu features an entire section of the meat (or veggie)-filled pockets, for $3.50 to eight bucks.
And for the drinkers, the restaurant offers a selection of craft beer (think Funky Buddha Floridian and Hop Gun, ciders, Cigar City, OMG White), wine, and sake (ranging from nishiki to nigori to flavored options, like coconut lemongrass).
With flavorful reasonably-priced fare, served quickly, we think this place is going to do well.
Temple Street Eatery is located at 416 N Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. Call 754-701-0976, or visit templestreeteatery.com.
It's open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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