Where to Moonshine 152, the first solo restaurant from chef Asia Mei (Sam’s at Louis). She is no stranger to the space, having worked at Franklin Southie, the previous occupant.
What for Dishes that land somewhere between Asian street food and Whole Foods, where Mei was once head chef — quinoa and tea leaf salad with citrus, chickpeas, and lemon-feta dressing; Korean BBQ tacos; char siu roast chicken with ginger sauce and rice.
The scene A crescent moon hangs over the restaurant, mirrored by the new sign, on which a crescent moon fills in for the second “o” in “Moonshine.” Inside, the space is still recognizable as Franklin Southie, now with a small open kitchen toward the front. Succulents grow on planters on the walls. The bar is crowded with locals, strapping fellows drinking cocktails and eating burgers, couples having dinner. It’s one big, happy party, staff and customers chatting and laughing together, no one really watching the game on the TVs above.
What you’re eating Popular choices at dinner include boar shoulder stroganoff and crispy flounder (top) with fried, pickled green tomatoes and spicy shrimp-uni butter. There’s also a late-night menu, and brunch on weekends and Mondays, with a rotating “Ron Swanson Brunch Special.” (Pawnee’s mustachioed libertarian is Mei’s favorite TV character.)
Care for a drink? A cocktail called the New Classic — rye, Chartreuse, Aperol, cherry syrup, and bitters — is a surefire winter warmer.
Overheard Talk about Monday brunch, the use of can vs. may, car dealerships, getting roofied, green smoothies, and 3-D printers. “Metals are going to be the big thing,” someone predicts. “I need a spring, I just print one.” “Whoa, what’s under there?” a man asks, coveting his girlfriend’s flounder. “Quiet and eat your stroganoff,” she says, swatting him away. Someone takes a sip of a cocktail: “This is my reward for shoveling all that snow.” “We cheersed,” one friend says to another. “It’s like a pinkie swear. You don’t go back on your cheers.” A staffer gives up a seat at the bar to a newly arriving customer. “I love this seat. It’s warm,” the guest says. “I prewarm them,” replies the bartender. “It’s a little thing we do for everyone.” A woman squeezes into a seat between two big guys. “I’m sorry,” one tells her. “I’m just going to say that now.” “The preemptive apology,” a bartender says, nodding. “I like that.”
152 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-752-4191, www.moonshine152.com.Devra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.