Surprising Selections

Austin food trailer surprisingly selected as No. 8 Best New Restaurant in U.S.

Austin food trailer surprisingly selected as No. 8 Best New Restaurant

Motoyasu Utsunomiya and Paul Qui east side King
Thai-Kun owners Motoyasu "Moto" Utsunomiya and Paul Qui. Photo courtesy of East Side King/Facebook

When Bon Appétit announced the finalists for the Best New Restaurants in the U.S. last week, Qui and Odd Duck were — rather predictably —  on the short list. But the BA editors also picked a bit of a wild card: Thai-Kun, a part of Paul Qui's East Side King empire. Well, that wild card was just named the No. 8 Best New Restaurant in the U.S.

If you fancy yourself a foodie but haven't made it a point to hit up the trailer parked at Wonderland (at 1104 E. Sixth St.), you're not alone. Thai-Kun is often overlooked for its Liberty Bar or Hole in the Wall counterparts. (Even though ESK at Liberty Bar has been around longer, compare that trailer's 355 Yelp reviews to Thai-Kun's 16.)

As the name would suggest, Thai-Kun features a heavily Thai-inspired menu. (And the best part? Everything is less than $10.) Specialty items include Waterfall Pork with pork shoulder grilled and sliced with Tiger Cry sauce, toasted rice powder, pickled cabbage, cilantro, red onion and sticky rice; Beef Panang Curry made with beef chuck simmered in homemade panang curry, Kaffir lime leaf, steamed jasmine rice and Holy Basil; and Cabbage Two Ways which is pickled cabbage served fried and raw tossed with Holy Basil, mint, cilantro, ginger, red onion, cucumber, boom sauce, garnished with green onion and peanuts.

Bon Appétit's full list of America's top restaurants includes:
1. Rose’s Luxury — Washington, D.C. (Restaurant of the Year)
3. Estela — New York City
4. Tosca — San Francisco
5. Westward — Seattle
6. Central Provisions — Portland, Maine
7. Hot Joy — San Antonio
8. Thai-Kun — Austin
9. Måurice — Portland, Oregon
10. Grand Central Market — Los Angeles