Urban street foods from around the world can have a special attraction for chefs. Such foods make use of indigenous ingredients that supply distinctive flavors, but must be made quickly and simply, with a minimum of ingredients. The challenge of such streets foods is the inspiration for two upcoming restaurants from two veteran chefs.
Griffin Paulin, formerly of Rumplings and Over the 9, is opening Mirin, a small, quick service restaurant at 2011 Frankfort Ave., which will focus on Asian street food such as ramen, banh mi, and bao (filled steam buns).
Paulin thinks that such a food choice is still lacking in Louisville, and it is the kind of food that he himself loves. After researching dishes in Chinatowns (and Koreatowns and Vietnamese neighborhoods) in larger cities, Paulin is ready to offer his own take on such pan-Asian dishes.
Across the river in New Albany, Eric Morris of Gospel Bird is hoping soon to open Concrete Jungle, at 324 E. Main St. in New Albany in the spring of 2017. His vision of international street food is more eclectic, inspired by the everyday cuisines of Thailand, India and South America cuisines.
The key word is “inspired.“ Morris isn’t going to be hobbled by strict authenticity, but rather his dishes will show the way he interprets classic ethnic dishes. Pad Thai fries will be loaded fries topped with bean sprouts, spicy Thai chili sauce, cilantro, and peanut sauce. Also on his menu are shareable items and appetizers like elote cheese dip; smoked chicken soba noodle soup with miso; ginger-poached tofu lettuce wraps; empanadas and burritos; spicy wonton nachos with Korean BBQ short rib, kimchi and gochujang; and house-made naan with curry.