East Austin is an upbeat and diverse mix of housing, businesses, and culture. This revitalized community has undergone rapid development and is becoming one of the city’s most sought neighborhoods. Residents enjoy convenient access to some of Austin’s most popular hotspots including Lady Bird Lake and nightlife on Sixth Street. As if this area weren’t cool enough, two chefs teamed up again, now settling in this district. Chef James Dumapit (former executive sous chef at Uchiko) and chef David Baek (formerly of Thai Kun and Uchi) served very successful award-winning Japanese-inspired dishes once upon a time. But change is good, and this culinary power duo brought an innovative menu via a new Chinese brasserie with a beguiling name, Old Thousand.
The term “Old Thousand” represents bizarre confluence of coincidences: It is the restaurant’s address number, a Chinese term for someone who is artfully clever, and the name of the wild card in the Chinese tile game mahjong. The 85-seat hotspot features bright floral wallpaper, shiny brass accents, and antique cabinetry reminiscent of an old Chinese apothecary. Beverage director Dhal Smith serves state-of-the-art cocktails from a handmade bar crafted out of heritage oak. The crowd favorite during the menu preview event was the Nasty Woman. It is a fascinating concoction of Barbancourt four-year rum, cherry heering, St. Germaine, cava, lime, and Anaheim pepper. It’s a cocktail with an attitude that snaps back with a spicy aftertaste, truly deserving of its name.
The featured dish is the Chongqing chicken. A fancy version of chicken nuggets, these extra crispy delights are deep fried in Szechuan chile oil then topped with fresh green onions and cilantro. Enjoy a delectable mound of brisket fried rice featuring shreds of meat from local food trailer La Barbecue. The menu offers a variety of house specials, noodles, soups, salads, meats, seafood, and desserts. There is something for everyone. There’s take-out and late night dining options with the bar staying open until midnight.
Feel free to consider this place a perfect hotspot for a fun first date, beer with the boys, or girls’ night out.