Speakeasy Diner: When Mrs. Pound opened in 2014, it was the talk of the town and on every cool kid’s to-do list. It’s still a hit, thanks to its not-so-secret entrance, dazzling diner interiors and genuinely good Southeast Asian “street food.”
Look & Feel: You’re walking into the home of Mrs. Pound, a fictional burlesque dancer whose lover, Mr. Ming, bought her a chop shop to show how much he cares. Once you figure out how to get inside (hint: press the stamp to open the sliding door), it’s all hot pink, neon and dizzying 1950s memorabilia.
On the Menu: Mrs. Pound aims to reinvent Southeast Asian street food with creative combos, such as the Xinjiang spiced lamb skewers (a bit pricey at $40 for two), which comes with a spicy green sauce that we could eat all day long. The beef randang baos (again, a wallet-draining $45 for ONE!) are also a great surprise, but could use more meat in the middle.
Service: Pretty spot-on, actually. Servers talk extensively about the menu and how things are prepared, leading us to the best bang-for-your buck dishes. The bartender also listens when we say “Not to sweet, pleeease” and can make a well-balanced Mr. Ming’s Negroni.
Jeng: You can see Young Master Ales on tap, and the little diner earns points just for that alone. Definitely try the crispy laksa bibimbap, which is a good-enough portion to share and comes with all kinds of veggies and generous chunks of chicken.
Not So Jeng: We dig extra crispy chicken wings, but the double-fried ma la wings are all fried batter and hardly any chicken.
Great For: Date nights, drinks with friends, parties.
FYI: Sorry, they don’t take resos. Walk-in only.
This writeup was based on an independent tasting. The Loop doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.