When you decide to eat where the Top Chef  judges eat, head over to Park Slope in Brooklyn and try Dale Talde's Asian American restaurant, Talde. The menu covers all the bases, from Thai to Vietnamese, to Japanese and of course, takes inspiration from Talde's own Filipino heritage. And all of this is done with a nod to classic American cuisine. Wedge salads and Texas style brisket grace the Asian influences with a taste from the States. 

Talde opened the large, high ceilinged, corner space with the two owners of Thistle Hill Tavern (also in Park Slope) David Massoni and John Bush. And because Talde has made a name for himself on several seasons of Top Chef, on most nights you can expect to wait before getting a table. The restaurant doesn't accept reservations unless you are dining with Padma Lakshmi herself. Her favorite dish? The Korean fried chicken. 

At your table you will find 19th century Japanese mahogany frames carved with exotic dragons and elephants and plenty to distract you from the menu. So take your time before you get seated to study your options or just have a reasonably priced drink at the bar. Hooray for Brooklyn!
Pretzel Pork and Chive Dumplings with Spicy Mustard:
These dumplings were a perfect example of fusion at its best. I imagine a NYC hotdog cart met a Hong Kong night market stand and made these delicious pups. The evenly crispy pretzel was never too greasy and kept the juicy ground pork perfectly warm and pink. 

The chives and spicy mustard made it a home run, and to cheer even further for the mustard is this quote from the New Yorker, "they’re served with the kind of spicy mustard that comes with Chinese takeout...too often relegated to the kitchen junk drawer". 
Char Siu Smoked Pork Spare Ribs with Watermelon and Thai Basil:
These slowly smoked ribs combine typical barbecue elements with gorgeous Asian flavors. The ribs hold a rich smokey flavor after being smoked for about 8 hours, and are tender and sweet with a hint of tang. The watermelon reminds you of a day in the park, but with thai basil the park might actually be a beach in Thailand.
Market Vegestables (Chinese Long Beans):
Smothered in ginger, lemongrass, and other piquants did not take away from the freshness and flavor of the bright and crispy green beans. These were a delicious and healthy choice with the basil and other ingredients so fresh that they seemed peppered. 
Korean Fried Chicken with Spicy Kimchee Yogurt, Cherries & Mint:
The spicy kimchee yogurt sauce may be the reason your date never asked you out to dinner again. You either licked the bowl or drooled a little bit just thinking about it. That kimchee yogurt was so exquisitely spicy and so well-paired with cherry slices and moist chicken that it completely outdid any of your wildest date night expectations anyways. Dark red cherry slices and fresh mint really were the cherry on top. 
Fish (Branzino):
The whole branzino, roasted with tomato, garlic and turmeric in a banana leaf and topped with fresh basil and cilantro perfectly explains why Kanye's date ordered fish filet in the song "That shit Kray". This is Dale's stand-out dish, and possibly negates any of the hardships you faced getting here and waiting for a table. Beautifully presented as a whole fish, but all the bones are removed so that it arrives succulently seasoned before you wrap it in warm moo-shu pancakes and indulge. 
Green Mango Salad with Crushed Peanuts and Thai Chilies: 
Although the dish was meant to be spicy, it turned out to be light and refreshing. The green mango was more of a ripe and soft yellow mango and the peanuts and chilies were sparse. In fact, this salad could double as a dessert if desired since Talde only offers a single wacky dessert option. Surprising for a menu of such versatility.

But then again, that single dessert is a heaping mess of halo-halo, which is served in a large metal bowl and looks like severely unappetizing stoner food. Traditionally, it is made with shaved ice, condensed milk, and random assortment of Filipino fruits and sweets. This one features banana, shredded coconut, tapioca pearls, and even the colorful cereal Cap’n Crunch. Eaten family-style, you will be surprised to find yourself digging in for more as each bite becomes more addicting than the last. The soft gelatin of the tapioca and the cold crunch of the shaved ice are unpredictable textures to contend with in each bite, but the condensed milk and soft banana are sweet and delectable and you find yourself saying stoner things, like, "pass the bowl".  

Entrées are between $15-$26 and each dish explodes with flavor and personality. It's a real pleasure to see so many culinary influences meshed into one menu and the fearlessness of the atypical flavor combinations in most dishes. Bottom line? When you are looking for bold flavors, call it a day at Talde.

Talde 
369 7th Avenue 
New York, NY 11215
(347) 916-0031