Saturday, January 28, 2023 Jan 28, 2023
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Food and Drink

Review: Flavor Asian Fusion and Dessert Bar

This neighborhood spot crosses the breach between authentic Asian and Asian fusion, with curry and Thai fried rice next to filet mignon and rack of lamb.
By Teresa Gubbins |
photography by Kevin Hunter Marple

In the never-ending cycle of neighborhoods rising and falling, the area at Skillman and LBJ seems poised to reverse its downward spiral and shift back up. Vacant Chili’s and TGI Friday’s are being supplanted by Chinese buffets and mom-and-pop Asian places such as Flavor Asian Fusion and Dessert Bar.

Flavor holds an added surprise in the kitchen: chef Weerayut “Oudi” Utedpornratanakul, who co-owns the place with his girlfriend Piyada Huatcharoen. The chef cult might remember Oudi from his early aughts rise on the local restaurant front. A native of Thailand, he got a food and hospitality service degree from El Centro College, before mastering Asian-American fusion at Tom Tom Noodle House, Chow Thai Pacific Rim, and Sea Grill. In 2000, he won a local chef competition that raised his profile. Then, at his peak, he went to San Francisco in 2005 to become chef at Malacca, a restaurant in the Castro district.

Now he’s back in Dallas with Flavor, again crossing the breach between authentic Asian and Asian fusion. The menu is divided exactly that way, with curry and Thai fried rice next to filet mignon and rack of lamb, plus desserts such as raspberry mousse.

Least resembling a Thai dish was the duck leg roulade, with fluffy sweet potato purée on the side. Propped up for maximum presentation value, the roulade looked at first like a thick sausage or maybe a fat spring roll: breaded stuffing, wrapped in a shell of extra-tender duck.

The most fused of the fusion had to be Indian Ocean paella, with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and salmon, all pristine and proficiently cooked, served over curry fried rice. The hottest thing on the menu was white pepper and garlic, a fiery seasoning combo you can apply to pork, chicken, beef, or seafood, paired with a calming dome of steamed white rice.

Soups were clean and sharp, including tom kha chicken, with blanched white strips of chicken floating in a rich coconut-lemongrass broth; and wonton soup, a clear nog with shrimp and pork dumplings, baby bok choy, and bright green spinach leaves.

As for décor, they’ve done a lot with a little: paneling the restrooms with stone, laying out maroon napkins and tablecloths, using gnarled bare branches as room dividers—an effort to disguise the room’s bare-bones, strip-center personality and fluorescent kitchen light. As of May, the liquor license was still pending; you can bring your own, and they’ll provide wine glasses.

 It can be hard to know what to make of Flavor. Though it’s not nearly as upscale, its unique brand of Asian fusion brings to mind Abacus. But rather than begin with classic techniques and tack on Asian accents as Abacus does, Flavor comes at it from completely the opposite direction.

Get contact information for Flavor Asian Fusion.