Justin Does…East Side King

A Redemption for Paul Qui?

A few months ago, I wrote about the worst ‘fine dining’ experience of my life. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I gave Paul Qui a second chance:

East Side King Facebook

Let me say this:

Paul Qui is a good chef, and East Side King @ Hole in the Wall proves it.

A friend of mine recently took a new job and we met for lunch. When my friend suggested East Side King @ Hole in the Wall, I replied, “Oh, hell no! Haven’t you been reading my blog?” Ashamed, she admitted that she had not. So I sent her a link and she replied that while Qui Restaurant sounds horrific, East Side King is “Amaze-balls.”

I had heard this about ESK and since it is within walking distance of my office, I relented and decided to give it a shot.

So we met for lunch, and I was blown away. Granted, I went in with really low expectations due to my prior experience!

According to the ESK website, East Side King was created by Qui and a friend as a side project when they were working at Uchi and Uchiko. There are currently four locations – three food trucks and one in-bar spot – across Austin with different menus, styles, hours, and vibes. 

I actually had a difficult time deciding what I wanted. The menu is an eclectic mix with heavy Asian influence. {Coincidentally I have been on a health-kick this summer and was trying to go for a low-carb dish. Success!}


The food was delicious. My friend ordered a bowl of ramen and I had two ‘sides’ to make my entrée:

Beet Home Fries

They’re beets. They’re fries. They’re Beet Home Fries, y’all!

Brussel sprout salad.

Brussel sprout salad.

Ramen of the Day

Ramen of the Day. So much awesomeness going on in this bowl.

The food at East Side King @ Hole in the Wall is amazing. I would easily go back (it doesn’t hurt that ESK is an eight minute walk from my office).

In summary, a message for Mr. Qui: Stop with the over-the-top-hipster-esque theme with your keynote restaurant and return to your roots of just good food.

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