First Look

First Look: Neon Kitten Opens in Deep Ellum with Speakeasy Blackbird Society up Next

The interior is inspired by Hawaii and is also a bit reminiscent of the previous occupant, Beauty Bar.
The interior is inspired by Hawaii and is also a bit reminiscent of the previous occupant, Beauty Bar. Courtesy of Neon Kitten
Dim Sum has finally arrived in Deep Ellum. In the space previously occupied by Beauty Bar, Neon Kitten offers small plates of dim sum, sushi and izakaya, as well as an electrifying lineup of craft cocktails. Neon Kitten was inspired by founder Bhuvanesh “Bob” Khanna's time living in Hawaii, as evidenced by the floral garnishes in the cocktails, as well as the cherry blossom chandeliers.

On the inside, the walls are painted with vibrant pinks, blues, yellows and greens, almost as though to maintain the spirit of Beauty Bar.

As for cocktails, some are sweet, some are strong and some are even spicy, but they’re all creative and inventive. On tap, guests can enjoy the shishito margarita made with reposado tequila, pink grapefruit juice, Aperol, agave, lime, plus shishito and serrano nectar to give it a spicy touch ($12). This margarita is spicier than it is sweet, but the shishito flavor balances out the typical sugariness.
click to enlarge ALEX GONZALEZ
Alex Gonzalez
For craft cocktails, we recommend the Tokyo a green blend of Chartreuse, shochu, Luxardo and wasabi, garnished on the stem of the glass with a mini bouquet of ginger, which Khanna recommends you eat before drinking the cocktail to cleanse the palate ($16). Equally as good is the Osaka cocktail made with umeshu, cherry blossom, Roku Gin, sage, salted pomelo and served in an adorable Hello Kitty ceramic glass ($16).
click to enlarge ALEX GONZALEZ
Alex Gonzalez
As for dim sum, Neon Kitten's isn’t what Americans know as dim sum, where people roll around carts with different bites to pull off and share with the table. Here, guests order small bites from servers, who bring them to the table. Some of our favorites included the prawn, pork and mushroom siu mai ($7). Equally as good are the morel shrimp dumplings with water chestnut and bamboo shoot encased in a dark black dumpling noodle.

But perhaps the shining star of the menu is the crispy beef puffs; stuffed rolls with beef, caramelized onion and curry, making for a tasty Far East spin on beef Wellington ($10).

Later this month, Neon Kitten plans to open a reservations-only speakeasy in the back of the restaurant called Blackbird Society, which will specialize in exclusive cocktails and Japanese spirits.

While many of us are still reeling over the loss of Beauty Bar, Neon Kitten makes for a much-needed addition to the neighborhood. We can finally enjoy great dim sum in Dallas, and no longer have to drive all the way to Richardson.

Neon Kitten Izakaya & Dimsum House. 2805 Main St. (Deep Ellum). Open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez