Bang Bang opens its doors tonight, unleashing a winning trifecta of housemade Thai curries, drinking snacks, and craft cocktails.
Chef Adam Kaplan, along with Aalto Lounge owners Kate and Alex Wood, win the award for most on-time restaurant build-out, finishing the transformation of the former Hoda's space right on schedule, even though they did most of the work themselves.
The restaurant's clean, modern look gives the small space a bigger feel. There are 36 seats, including 10 at the bar, plus another 12 outside when the weather is warm.
The menu is built on booze-friendly snacks like chicken wings and skewers, all with a Southeast Asian spin. Think chiles and fish sauce, coconut and tamarind, black vinegar and pickled greens.
But the mainstays are the made-from-scratch curries served over composed bowls of rice, vegetables, and proteins like cold-smoked beef tongue, grilled octopus, house-made rau ram sausage, and tea-cured eggs. After 10 p.m., the late-night menu kicks in, with curry fries, pork belly banh mi, and the "Bang Bang Sando" — shaved pork and curried eggplant topped with spicy cheese sauce, shallots, and pickled greens.
Kate Woods, who also oversees the bar program at Aalto Lounge, has stocked the drink menu with spirit-forward cocktails with a sense of restraint (i.e. no crazy infusions or tinctures), all in the $8 range. There's also a few wines and bubbles, plus four beers on tap.
Bang Bang is open 5 p.m. to midnight during the week, and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; closed Tuesdays.