Elephant East, a new restaurant in the Harwood District, offers an escape from the mundane. Executive chef Thomas Griffin explains what to anticipate from this new exotic diner. “There are five things that all Elephant East diners should know before coming in for their first visit.”
Top 5 Ways | ELEPHANT EAST DALLAS
1) Elephant East is not a place to pop into and out of. It would help if you were comfortable being here for an hour or more to enjoy the whole experience.
2) These dishes are big, so plan on sharing items with those at your table who don’t want quite as much food.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask for seconds (or thirds) if you have the room.
4) Elephant East is a full bar, so you know what to expect.
5) Please don’t share our secrets with everyone on social media. Please keep them coming back with anticipation for their next visit!
Food Culture of Southeast Asia
The restaurant offers diners a chance to experience exotic flavours that are not similar to anything else in the city. “I wanted our menu to reflect Southeast Asia’s wonderfully diverse food culture,” says Mr Griffin. “Our goal is to spice up your neighbourhood dining experience and make a huge difference in your life by creating an authentic taste sensation here in Dallas.”
The Harwood District isn’t known for serving exotic foods, but elephants bring the heat when you consider their menu. “When you first come in, you’ll see that our menu features dishes from Southeast Asia,” says Mr Griffin. “Our staff can tell you exactly what each dish is, from the type of meat used to the spices and herbs that go into making it taste delicious.”
There are many different dishes on Elephant East’s menu; some seem familiar to those with experience with traditional cuisine, while others will be new to Dallas and Fort Worth area diners. “A specific region inspires some dishes in Southeast Asia, and others are taken from many different regions,” says Mr Griffin. “We take a very roundabout way about getting the flavours we want into your mouth (I know I used a word there that doesn’t work with ’roundabout’). We try to get as many of our customers to enjoy as much of the menu as we can, and everyone will love an item or two.”
Surprised Menu | ELEPHANT EAST DALLAS
Many menu items are inspired by regions like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia. “We even have dishes that are not specific to any region but stand out on their own as delicious treats,” says Mr Griffin. “I think you will be surprised how much you love a completely new dish.”
There are also several vegetarian-friendly options on the menu. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy great-tasting food,” says Mr Griffin. “We have a great dish called ‘The Vegan’ that is both delicious and full of nutrients.”
Elephant East offers an East Side Love Burger and an Elvis Presley sandwich. “These are a lot of fun: they are unique but also familiar, in that they are accessible to people who haven’t had Asian food before,” says Mr Griffin. “I think you’ll be surprised by how many people will enjoy these items.”
Some of the menu items are also exciting because they are offered at a ‘special price’ on Monday or Tuesday evenings, which isn’t something that you will see at other restaurants. “We know that it is important to give back in life, and delicious food is a great way to do so,” says Mr Griffin. “We want to make a difference in the world and offer great value with our food.”
Elephant East is open every Monday through Friday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 are to 10:00 pm. “Elephant East is a great place for dates, parties, corporate events or any occasion you can think of,” says Mr Griffin. “I want you to come in, sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. We want to be able to serve you great-tasting food for a reasonable price,
The history of Elephant East is funny. It started as a concept menu item at Khong River Pub (the first tapas-style restaurant in Dallas), so it was the first Asian experience the owner, Joe Hoang, had when he first came to Dallas. Khong River opened in December 2008 and closed a few months later (it briefly re-opened in 2015). I have no idea what happened during that time, but Mr Hoang is back at it again with Elephant East.
I can promise that this restaurant will do well in Dallas. Mr Griffin has already proven with his last two restaurants that he knows how to make great Asian food. At Elephant East, the chef keeps things original, and the menu keeps evolving!