Considering Eight Row Flint’s concise menu relies almost entirely on tacos slung from the truck out back, you’d expect that's reason enough to spend a Tuesday on the patio. While not a bad way to while away a weeknight, you’ll want to save the taco orders for another evening.
Since this spring when culinary director Vincent Huynh cranked out boiled crawfish to order, Agricole Hospitality—Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber’s lovechild that also includes Revival Market (where this writer briefly cut her teeth) and Coltivare—is keeping things fresh with weekly patio pop-ups. Every Tuesday at the bar, Tex-Mex plays second fiddle to limited-time specials, from ribs al pastor and a sizzling steak night to a true-to-its-name Juicy Lucy burger.
This summer, Pera and Huynh have passed off the reins to their sous chefs. Coltivare’s Jacob Pate kicked things off with jerk chicken, tropical slaw and a punch made with mango chili lime syrup crafted by Sarah’s Shrubs, his and his girlfriend's biz. Typically holding down the truck, Marcelo Garcia doled out a fancy fried chicken picnic, complete with a boozy “Big Red” and last week, Revival Market’s Todd Patterson offered up classic nibbles found in Japanese izakayas.
“I landed on Japanese food because that's where it all began for me,” says Patterson, whose high school years were spent learning Japanese in hopes of one day developing video games. Fortunately, he fell harder for Japanese cuisine. “Izakaya was the obvious way to go for Eight Row Flint. An izakaya is a bar/stand with a strong focus on food and snacks. I felt that fit perfectly."
On the menu:
- Yakitori: an izakaya staple of grilled soy-glazed chicken thighs skewered with perfectly charred scallions
- Takoyaki: creamy fried globes stuffed with minced octopus and served with Kewpie mayo and bonito flakes that dance in the heat
- Nasu: miso-glazed Japanese eggplant receives a smoky kiss from the embers
- Revival “Spam” Musubi: sushi snuggled with the canned meat we love to hate, but better. Patterson and the Revival Market team created their own version of the mystery meat, with a far from disappointing result
- Chilled Soba: cool, slippery noodles, fresh from market, bathed in dashi and strewn with crunchy mustard peas, scallions and a house Asian pear kimchi that brings on the funk
Yes, please, you say? Eight Row Flint is doing an encore of izakaya night tomorrow, starting at 5 p.m. The $16 sampler plate gets you a taste of everything—pair it with an Asahi beer and a shot of Suntory Whisky Toki for just four bucks more. Whatever you do, arrive early. The kitchen has prepared twice as many orders this week, but the first round sold out in 90 minutes.
Can’t make it tomorrow night? Don’t sweat it. The summer series is closing out, but Labor Day will feature a special burger night, and there were rumblings of paella on the horizon. One thing’s for certain: This crew won’t sit long on their laurels. We’re keeping our Tuesdays open in anticipation.