Eastern Alley

Breaking away from a comfortable situation can be difficult, but necessary if you want to establish yourself and...hey, Mom, close the freaking door, I'm writing an email newsletter here! For bites from a guy taking a chance on his own, check out Eastern Alley.

A rustic sleeve appointed with exposed brick walls and copper pipes, dimly glowing lamp fixtures, unfinished wood beams, and dark wooden tables & back bar, Alley's a fresh pan-Asian spot from a guy who was, until recently, a four-star general in the ever-expanding army of Michael Huynh, aka Chairman Bao. Oddly intriguing pairings start at the "First" section, which includes noshes like crispy scallion pancakes w/ shiitake and chicken livers, twice cooked curry wings w/ passion fruit raita, brisket- and black vermicelli-stuffed pho summer rolls w/ marrow broth, and a papaya salad with dried shrimp and grilled pork jerky, which is actually just regular pork that's been harassed by Frank Rizzo. "Next" comes adobo potato-sided Kalamansi pork loin, soy braised oxtails w/ yucca cake, crispy chicken thighs w/ green curry lentils and cilantro, Half Duck Noodles w/ crispy egg and salted yolk, and wok-seared mackerel w/ fermented black beans, aka "douchi", which must always be passed on the left hand side.

Since they're next to the new Dessert Truck shop, end bites have been narrowed to three options: salted ice cream & black pepper marshmallow cookies, pan de sal bread pudding w/ dates & smoked almonds, and a yuzu tart w/ tamarind-coconut jam and...hey, Mom, close the freaking door, I'm masturbating!