My name is Stacia, and I have an obsession with Asian food. I love it, it loves me (most of the time), but my wallet thinks we need to see other people. Well, GET OVER YOURSELF, wallet, because there's a happy hour in town where I can get my fix on the cheap, enjoy colorful surroundings, and the bartender doesn't judge me when I sit at the bar by myself (I see you, Josh) and stuff delicious chicken into my face.
Every Wednesday from open 'til close (eats until 10PM) Top Knot, a little nugget of Hai Hospitality based out of Austin, TX, hosts a special type of happy hour just for the ladies* called 'Girls Knot Guys' with specials on drinks and bites for $5! Can't beat that with a stick (but that's weird, don't beat things with sticks). Their menu changes up for happy hour ever so often, but even with the changes, the quality and ridiculously amazing flavors never disappoint.
*Don't worry, guys are also welcome to get down and enjoy everything Top Knot has to offer. They only have to dress in drag if they really want to.
Shot of the special 'GKG' happy hour menu
I'm useless and didn't get a full length shot of the goods. Anything that isn't available on the happy hour, I will call out (but it's definitely all delicious so you should order it anyway).
The Goods: Drinks
First up, and the only one I got a close up shot of: Brandy Punch / Brunch Punch
Hah! Turns out I did get a shot of the full menu for GKG. I'll pull everything down below so you don't strain your eyeballs reading tiny type.
Check that orangey goodness
This is hands down my go-to drink every time I go to Top Knot, regardless of if it's happy hour or not. I am not 100% sure if this is included with the GKG happy hour and just not on the menu, but with E&J Brandy, sparkling wine, orange curacao,triple sec, orange juice, and lemon juice* filling up that glass, I could not care less, because it's pretty damn delicious.
*Pulled from Top Knot's website
For my next trick: The ThaiKiri
In my quest to be super hipster and take artsy photos beyond the capabilities of my iphone S5, I failed to realize "hey, maybe I should take a photo where you can see all of the actual drink I'll be talking about." Nope, here's what you get.
Side note: This drink is definitely not on the happy hour menu, but my dining companion threw caution to the wind and ordered what she wanted off the regular menu. She's a rebel. And paid for her own stuff.
The VB cocktail has Captain Morgan White, Mount Gay Black Barrel, thai basil, and a slice of lime. I did not actually order this drink, but of the few sips I had (stole) it has a light, but fully packed taste that I could perfectly picture myself enjoying out on a patio in the dog days of summer or during the fall once the leaves are turing and it's time for my yearly existential crisis. It's multi seasonal in a nutshell!
The Goods: Eats
Current menu eats available:
- Spicy Salmon Handroll
- Avocado Japadog
- Smoked Hamachi Tostada
- Bacon Pimiento Cheese Slider
- Chicken Katsu Tacos
As I mentioned earlier, the menu gets a shake up every so often (not too frequently), so if you see something here that isn't there when you decide to visit (and you're going to visit), don't be sad, they most likely will have an alternate option that is similar to what you were going to order anyway - it's happened to me before, just roll with it. I did, and now I like spicy salmon. Win - Win.
Speaking of Salmon, the Spicy Salmon Handroll
Potato camera photo - there's a way better one below, just mind the chicken
Better photo! Clearly this was taken with a different phone...
This tasty little roll up, as mentioned earlier, was my alternate after the spicy tuna got rotated out, but after taking my first bite I legitimately wondered why they didn't have this on the menu in the first place (laters, tuna). Avocado, cucumber, and fried shallot are the way to go with this handroll, and here's a Pro Tip for you: Make sure you ask for a side of the kimchi caramel sauce. Even if you don't like or don't know what kimchi is, still do it. This sauce is magical, and I have to stop myself from carrying it out in my purse every.damn.time. because it is so delicious.
The Goods: Eats not on the happy hour menu (that you should say 'screw it' and order anyway)
And speaking of that nectar of the Gods: The Chicken Kimchi Kaarage
The green stuff: mint, a lime, and jalapeno
The not green stuff: sauce coated chicken goodness and pears
While this is under snacks, and is usually shared amongst people, I am in full support of hogging every last bite of this entire bowl, because that magic sauce I mentioned is all over this dish of asian pear, jalapeño, mint, and fried chicken. This fried chicken is enveloped in that beauty of a kimchi caramel sauce. And we have clearly established that I would spartan kick anyone who gets in between me and this sauce.
Story time: I have once been so focused on eating and enjoying the heck out of this chicken that when I finally came up for air, the guy at the bar next to me looked me dead in the eye, asked if it was really that good, and if he should order it. Considering my mouth was full, I had sauce on my face, and probably in my hair, I just nodded at him and gave a thumbs up. He immediately flagged down the bartender and ordered his own. It was a very 'When Harry Met Sally' moment, but without all the noises. Hopefully.
Up at Bat: Crack Broccoli
I already know what you're thinking: that's some weird looking broccoli. GET YOUR MIND OUTTA THE GUTTER, because let me tell you, it's an out of this world flavor explosion, especially with the aioli it comes with. Pro tip: Order extra, you'll need it.
This broccoli is panko fried with a little shiro dashi (to be honest, I have zero idea what that is) and comes with a side of white chili aioli for dipping. My friend Lindsey has brought up on multiple occasions since our list visit how we need to go back and get this, just this, in multiple orders. It's that good.
Lastly, The Hot Fried Chicken Bun
Hot Fried Chicken, times two!
I've gone back and forth with this HFC bun ever since my favorite bun got taken off the menu way back when. Do I love it? The bun I can't remember the name of (figures) will always have my heart first. Does it taste really fricken good? You bet your butt it does.
This little wonder comes with pickles, cornichon gastrique, all housed on a Parker House roll. It has a tangy flavor from being doused in sauce, but you're going to have a good time throwing this down the hatch. Extra napkins are encouraged.
Hopefully you enjoyed the ride, and this little peek into the amazing real world escape that is Top Knot will encourage you to get out of the box and into their booths (or tables, they have those too) to try out some of the feel good foods they have coming out of their kitchen.
See, I know people.
If you'd like to look them up on your own, here's some of the many ways you can stalk them: