Old Thousand is East Side’s much-awaited restaurant dishing out playful and modern interpretations of American-Chinese classics for dine-in and takeout. The casual spot is the first project for SMGB Hospitality, a group made up largely of chefs and restaurateurs. Here is the early word on Austin’s fun, new destination for Chinese food.
The food — CultureMap’s Claudia Alarcon pointed to the kung pao cauliflower, pork ribs, and jellyfish salad as standouts from the menu. Zagat Austin editor Veronica Meewes added the hot pot, dan dan noodles, and the brisket fried rice (“chock full of tender La Barbecue brisket”) as others to add to any order. There were lots of accolades for the pickles, including blogger Chekmark Eats, who exclaimed: “Who knew pickles could be so memorable.” If you leave room for dessert, both Alarcon and Girl Eat World recommended the egg custard. Looking for more good news? All the shareable plates are just the thing for group dining, and Austinot also pointed out that “vegetarians will find plenty to celebrate here,” too.
The space — Claudia found the former home of a Tex-Mex restaurant “expertly refurbished to give it a cozy yet vibrant look that incorporates an Asian aesthetic without the usual kitschy traps.” The space decked with floral wallpaper boosts an open kitchen and expansive bar perfect for solo dining or drinking. Meewes explained how the space is welcoming with “gold Buddha statues, playful panda prints, vintage tin ceiling tiles, brass lighting fixtures and lucky red seating (plus 8 gold chairs, also significant for good luck).”
Girl Eats World added a note of warning: don’t come to Old Thousand for a quiet dinner or important chats. “Please know that they strive to make music a part of the dining experience,” she wrote.
The overall experience — Although some Yelpers warned of long waits, it’s worth it. Austinot summed it up this way, while the name stems from the Chinese word for gambler, “if you’re looking for a great night out at a modern and eclectic Chinese brasserie, Old Thousand is anything but a gamble.”
- How Old Thousand Strives to Bring New Austin-Chinese Food to Austin [EATX]
- First Look at East Austin's Hotly Anticipated Neighborhood Restaurant, Opening Soon [CultureMap]
- First Look: Old Thousand, a Chinese Dream in East Austin [Zagat]
- 10 Reasons Why I Love Old Thousand [Chekmark Eats]
- Old Thousand Offers Spin on Traditional Chinese Food [Girl Eats World]
- Old Thousand Introduces Bold Chinese Fusion to Austin’s East Side [Austinot]