Right on the heels of nasty, blizzardy (yes, I made that word up) nor’easter the JustGrubbin crew braved the elements to attend Tipsy Bistro’s private tasting event. Perfectly positioned between UPenn and Drexel in University City, 3131 Walnut St to be exact, sat our delicious destination.
It definitely should be noted we arrived during rush hour and found great parking not even a block away from the front entrance. For those of you not in the loop, Tipsy Bistro is a collaboration between Tory Keomanivong former general manager and co-founder/owner of Fond Bistro and Chef Anh Vongbandith co-owner and founder of Das Good Inc.
We arrived as the tasting was just starting and were greeted with open arms by Tory. A noticeably cozy dining space with a full bar conjoined to an open kitchen made the atmosphere incredibly comfortable. It kind of felt like going over to your incredibly rich friends man cave, yet elegant enough that you actually would want to bring your significant other with you just to bear witness. We were whisked around for a quick tour/meet and greet with the staff, and before we knew it fresh cocktails were in our hands. Our bartenders Wade, Tim, & Richie kept the Tipsy Fashion’s (Wild Turkey Rye, Bitters, Charred Orange, orange & lemon twist) coming all night and we weren’t mad about that at all. The drink was flawlessly concocted as the Wild Turkey effortlessly rode a wave of citrus notes.
Then we were served food… lots of food, an uneatable (I just keep making up words) amount that we were once again not mad at it in the slightest. First up was the Roasted Duck Confit Poutine. The sweetness from the shredded duck and duck fat gravy with melted cheese curd over salted crispy fries was a flavor and texture tour de force.
Next we had the Shrimp BLT. I had my sights set on this sandwich before we arrived so I didn’t know if it would live up to my high expectations. Wrong! It surpassed them greatly. The pan seared shrimp, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, chili-cilantro aoli were perfectly executed by Robby.
Neeexxxttttttt up, the Beef Empanada’s with smoked ancho chili sauce was another perfect 10 for me. The fried empanada dough was light, airy, and crispy. The ground beef, pepper, and cheddar cheese filling left my mouth watering for more.
Now, before I go any further in this review… I have a confession. I fucking love chicken and waffles! So Chef Anh’s spin on this southern classic was more than welcome. Panko breaded, crispy boneless chicken atop a sweet potato waffle and maple syrup. Simplicity at its finest. This was my first sweet potato waffle and they killed it, which says a lot coming from a black man who eats southern comfort food on a regular basis.
Ohhhh wait, is that sweet chili and Asian sesame wings you are handing me next? Why thank you. Breaded in rice flour and still crispy after being tossed in its sauce is the kind of wing you dream of.
In the midst of our tasting frenzy we spotted Chef Anh coming out the kitchen to greet guests. We chopped it up with her and showered her with praise for the immaculate dishes we devoured. Then we were introduced to her good friend and partner from Das Good Inc. Savuol Ngo. From here things kind of started to become a blur. Anh and Savuol ran us through a litany of all the tastemakers who showed up for the night and Tory kept the laughs and the drinks flowing. Just when we thought we reached our maximum food-intake limit, here comes the waitress with a fried cheesecake in a sweet, decadent bourbon sauce.
Then just for good measure our boy Robby comes over with a full plate of chicken egg rolls made Vietnamese style. The chicken breast, veggie and rice noodle stuffing was perfectly complimented by the traditional fish sauce base dipping sauce.
I don’t think the night could’ve went any better in my own personal opinion. Every drink and dish that came our way was spot on. The tasting flowed so seamlessly I was in awe; mainly because I remember my last soft opening being pretty much a disaster. You can tell Tipsy is in good hands and I look forward to see what the future holds for these guys. At this point though, I was more than ready to hit the road, because I was fed, faded, and feeling x-rated.
If you enjoyed this, check out more posts from the Just Grubbin team here! Also make sure to listen to The Just Grubbin podcast to hear us go into further detail about this and to hear all of our random irreverent takes on food, drink and whatever else.