The ever-growing area of Trinity Groves is home to the Latin-Asian fusion restaurant, Chino Chinatown, created by Chef Uno Immanivong. You will see Chef Uno everywhere in the restaurant from greeting customers when they walk in to preparing their food and taking it out to their table. Some of you may recognize her from ABC’s show “The Taste”, where she competed on Anthony Bourdain’s team (love him) amidst running her boutique food company, Foodie Couture, working in the finance industry, and raising her daughter. Sounds busy, right? Uno’s path to becoming Chef Uno is quite an incredible one that I almost couldn’t believe. “Wait. You just quit your job as a mortgage broker a few years ago? You didn’t go to culinary school? You just took a leap of faith and went for it?”. Her decision to change her career path and go after what she is passionate about is what so many of us dream about doing but fear the unknown. Learning more about Uno’s path to opening Chino and what she has done with her success has made me respect and love Chino that much more.
I first visited Chino with my husband and parents several months ago after my dad heard about it on the news and couldn’t stop talking about it. We were all blown away with how effortlessly the ingredients were combined together to make such unique, delicious dishes. From the elote with bone marrow sriracha aioli to the duck fat fries made of yucca wedges, we were totally sold. We hadn’t even gotten our entrees yet and we already knew we wanted to come back to try more. Once I found out they had a happy hour, I knew I had to go back so I could share it with all of you!
Just like the food, the cocktail menu is inspired by both cultures with ingredients like Plum Hibiscus Tea, jalapeno oleo, and mango puree. The wonderful thing about some of the cocktails at Chino is that they are on tap! I always get a little excited when I see a new place has tap cocktails made in-house with fresh ingredients. While select cocktails are only $5 during happy hour, you can also order a bottle (equivalent of about 5 glasses) for $24 (craft cocktails in bulk? I’m in heaven!).
While I wish I could have tried all of the creative cocktail concoctions Chino’s has to offer, I stuck to three (didn’t want to have Chef Uno have to call me an Uber). Here is a breakdown of the three I tried:
Coquito: My favorite. Simple. Light. Refreshing. The Coquito is made of Coconut Vodka, coconut water, and lime. I’m not a huge coconut water person but I loved this cocktail. I always like the feeling that I’m detoxing while I’m retoxing so this was perfect (gotta have balance). I also hear it is an incredible hangover elixir so some of you may want to keep that in mind…
Snake Charmer: The Snake Charmer was also refreshing and had a pink lemonade feel to it. It is made up of Cinco Vodka, lemongrass, and lime. Also a great choice.
La Chinita: This one definitely caught my attention as it is made up of tequila, triple sec, jalapeno oleo, and pink peppercorn. It has a kick and it is strong! Definitely one for the margarita lovers.
This is only a glimpse into what Chino’s cocktail menu has to offer. There are over a dozen different craft cocktail options along with beer, wine and sake. I highly recommend coming here for happy hour and dinner. The Duck Eggrolls are a can’t-miss appetizer (crazy flavorful and the chili sauce is out of this world) and the Drunken Noodle is a delicious entree. I can’t wait to go back and try their Chicken Lollipops and Duck Fat Fried Rice (both crowd favorites). Happy Hour at Chino Chinatown runs from 4pm-7pm seven days a week.
Leave me a comment or tag me in your photo when you make a trip out there! I’d love to know what you think!
Thank you for reading and check back tomorrow for another new post!