Fusion Without Apologies at Talde

Talde brings all-over-the-map Asian-American cuisine to the South Slope, but before the fusion-haters get started, they should know this: Chef Dale Talde (Buddakan) is a proud practicing fusionist, even when he isn't working. "When I get Popeyes chicken and I go home and put Sriracha hot sauce on it—that's fusion," he told Grub Street.

So Talde's iceberg lettuce wedge gets a dose of heat from a dressing he dubs Sri-rancha, and his spin on pad thai includes crispy oysters and Benton's bacon ("the smokiness of the bacon with the fried oysters was a perfect pairing," secondbecky says). An early hit is a starter of Hawaiian buns: sliderlike bites of sweet, tender bread stuffed with shiitakes, Filipino pork sausage, or crisp-fried fluke, all seasoned with garlic-vinegar mayo and pickled shallot. "The fluke was outstanding and the mushroom one heavenly," secondbecky says. "Husband didn't even let me get a taste of the sausage one because he gobbled it up!" Amp up the flavors if you like with Sriracha (naturally) or chile-infused vinegar. Deb Van D says the Korean fried chicken, strewn with grapes and flavored with mint and spicy kimchi yogurt, is first-rate. Fusion skeptic jinx seconds Deb on the chicken and also loves the Saigon crêpes, filled with smoked shrimp, Chinese bacon, and mint.

Cocktails are inventive and well made; secondbecky recommends the Brooklyn Sling (gin, pineapple juice, cherry liqueur, lemon-lime bitters) and the Yoshitsugu (Yamazaki whisky, Carpano Antica vermouth, maple bitters). But she says desserts need work. Her custard tart, too briefly brûléed, "was just scrambled eggs and, of course, was cold inside."

Service is "sweet and capable," Deb says, and the dining room inviting if cramped. Open just three weeks, this is already a neighborhood hot spot, perhaps in part because of Dale Talde's run on Top Chef. So expect a crowd and most likely a wait. "We'll be back," jinx says. "I just hope we can get in."

Talde [South Slope]
369 Seventh Avenue (between 11th and 12th streets), Brooklyn
347-916-0031

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