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October 20th, 2010 Jonanna Widner | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Saucebox: Restaurant Guide 2010

     
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4:30-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 4:30 pm-2 am Friday, 5 pm-2 am Saturday, 5-11 pm Sunday. $$ Moderate.
[PAN-ASIAN] While Saucebox’s sleek bilevel environs, including a DJ spinning beat-heavy grooves while patrons chomp away on tapioca dumplings and Korean baby backs, rely more on a clubby vibe than a foodie one, there’s little dancing around when it comes to the food. Close your eyes and point to a random spot on any one of the Saucebox’s several menus (do we really need five?), and you’ll land on something guaranteed to trigger umami overload. Pulled-pork udon noodles? Never has spicy and sweet tangled in such a delicate dance. Vegetables in coconut curry? A one-two punch of lime and passion fruit. And those baby back ribs? So tender, the savory sweet-soy glaze is the only thing holding the meat anywhere near the bone. The famous drink menu overflows with more fruit-infused sleight of hand than you can shake a swizzle stick at, but the effect is no mere gimmick. Muddled guava goes a long way, as does the sweet tang of kaffir lime juice or buzzy blaze of Thai-chile vodka. It would probably take 20 minutes to figure out what to drink—much less eat—so just skip the eye-glazing menu and ask your server what’s best. JONANNA WIDNER.
Ideal meal: Pupu platter for two ($20, but so much yumminess!), followed by pulled-pork udon noodles with ginger, garlic and friend egg. Or just, like, eight cocktails.
Best deal: Anything on the happy-hour menu (4:30-6:30 pm Monday-Friday, 5-6:30 pm Saturday); four bucks gets you a crispy onion burger, five gets you shrimp and bacon fried rice.

 
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