Late last month, I received a cryptic text from Mud Hen Tavern co-owner, Chef Kajsa Alger: “Hey Troy! We’re opening a new thing. Wanna send you an invite….”
Well, I like new things AND invites, so that was an easy sell.
This evening, Katie + I experienced a preview of that very new thing—Blue Window, a new take-out window adjacent to Mud Hen that will offer up quick gourmet take-out food at non-gourmet prices (everything’s seven bucks or less), with menus + cuisine rotating every six months. First up, Blue Window: Asia.
For anyone who remembers and misses Mud Hen’s previous incarnation, Susan Feniger’s STREET, Blue Window is an exciting addition to Los Angeles’ already vibrant restaurant scene, essentially taking STREET’s rich street food concept and condensing it into this new, modular, bite-size format. The Blue Window team expands on the idea in their press release for the new venture:
“As avid travelers and global cuisine addicts, co-owners Susan Feniger and Kajsa Alger have been keeping their eyes open for a new opportunity to bring international street food back to their neighborhood. As time went by, they realized that the best way to do it would be to bring it back to the kitchen where it all started…a small take-out window from their original restaurant, STREET. A tiny window, a counter, and all of those addicting little street bites that everyone craves. With a menu that only lasts six months, Blue Window is all about getting your fix in while you can.”
We love Mud Hen’s menu, embodying the more neighborhood pub-like, less global street cuisine interpretation of Susan + Kajsa’s cooking, but we’ve long-missed many a STREET menu item. Blue Window promises to bring some of those favorites back, starting with the BBQ bao, which, in its vegan version, exists as a light, puffy steamed bun filled with barbecue-soaked jackfruit and topped with peanut hoisin sauce.
And the bao’s not alone in its vegan incarnation—every single menu item at Blue Window is veganizable or has a vegan version, from the gochujang hot sauce wings (which swap in vegan soy chicken) to the albacore tuna poke (which employs a pickled daikon instead of fish) to the vegan version of the banh mi sandwich, with its grilled bread, pickled vegetables, green sriracha aoili, and marinated jackfruit.
All of it’s absolutely delicious, believe us—not only did we try nearly every single item on the menu, we were also literally the first ones in line Friday evening. That damn New York timeliness hasn’t quite been bleached out of us by the Southern California sun, it seems.
Blue Window opens officially Monday, with weekday hours from noon to 10PM. The concept will change after February 2016, so get this goodness while you can.
For anyone interested in hearing more about Blue Window’s forebear, STREET, you can read a 2013 interview we did with Kajsa, focusing on the strong vegan predilection that restaurant shared with this new concept.
Below, a couple shots of the legendary BBQ boa; a couple the excellent grilled bank mi; Blue Window’s menu (which can be seen in full on Mud Hen’s site); Korean potstickers with red yam dipping sauce; the gochu soy chicken wings with vegan scallion cream; blue nails for a blue window; stuffed tempura—another favorite of ours, full of beautifully tasty shiso leaf, kabocha squash, shiitake mushrooms, and chile thread; the vegan version of the albacore poke; and Katie enjoying the very first official bite of Blue Window. Very much.
Oooh—and not pictured but very much worth the six bucks—Thai iced tea, with the Window’s rich, house-made condensed coconut milk.