By Emily Stringer
Is the bridge between Austin and San Antonio getting smaller? Or, is San Antonio getting weirder? Being that San Antonio is a hop, skip and mini-jump to Austin, it is a wonder we don’t have more collaborative dinners on our map
This year, the Austin Food and Wine Festival (or, at least its marketing team) visited San Antonio chef/restaurateur Jason Dady’s BIN 555. Dady had created a one-of-a-kind, Chinese-inspired pop-up meal called Umami Mi, meaning, “a savory taste” in Thai.
Fifty diners joined food-loving forces from the city inside a transformed BIN 555 dining room. The crowd included many food enthusiasts, including chefs, food writers, bloggers and caterers. The setting, in a transformed Bin 555 dining room, called up the ambience of a Nuevo American wine bar leaning toward red light-district dive. Yet, the food was a far reach from anything a dive could put out and more like just “plain” fine dining.
An aperitif of Bombay Sapphire Gin and tonic with a hint of kefir lime started the meal off. The food, served family-style, was a sumptuous spread with such items as Spicy Chicken Wings with fresh red curry paste, and a kick of lemongrass, and Wood Oven Mussels in a sea of lamb broth sprinkled with Thai herbs. Dady saved the best for last, ending the evening with a deconstructed brisket “taco.” Also owner of Two Bros. BBQ Market, the chef put his taco together using Asian-style brisket with a tamarind glaze paired with crisp scallion pancake, topped with spicy peanuts.
Dady will be the only San Antonio-based chef featured this year at the Austin Food & Wine Festival. He said Umami Mi was inspired by a recent trip to New York City and an 18-course meal at Mission Chinese.
“We were crammed into a packed house, and my most memorable bite was the spicy cumin lamb dish,” Dady said. “I wanted the cumin lamb to be one of the last flavors people (here) tasted so they could experience the pleasant fullness that I did in New York.”
Diners left “pleasantly full,” indeed.
Dady will be traveling to the Austin Food and Wine Festival April 26-28. The event features nationally known chefs, including New York’s Marcus Sammuelson, Austin’s Paul Qui, and Los Angeles’ Susan Feniger, along with a full schedule of events. Click here for tickets, more information.