The main dining room. Photo by Nader Khouri.
Mmmmm, brisket. Photo by Nader Khouri.
Last week I had the opportunity to check out the brand-new ~HI LO~ (from Maverick/Hog & Rocks founder Scott Youkilis and partners Dave Esler and Eric Rubin) at a test dinner. After you take a look at this pic of the previous space, a Filipino-American Hall, you too will tip your cap to Abueg Morris Architects (Comal, Nopalito), who did a great job with the multi-level space, which has 80-90 seats. They exposed the roof’s wood framing, highlighting the 1900s-era building’s cathedral-like shape (the original distressed wood floor remains). The main floor features three white oak communal tables and a few smaller tables, along with eye-catching charred cedar plank siding (you can also see it on the exterior of the building); there’s a mezzanine with more two- and four-top tables above.
Place your order at the counter in the back, and your vittles (and refreshing, barbecue-friendly cocktails by Scott Beattie and Michael Lazar, like the Savory Seasonal Collins with pickling liquid) will be brought to your table. There are some well-chosen beers you’ll be able to enjoy by the glass or pitcher, eight taps in all (plus a white and red wine on tap). If you just want some bourbon, you can have that too.
Some highlights on chef Ryan Ostler’s menu include a kale and sweet potato salad with ricotta salata ($10), and wait until you taste the juicy half chicken with charmoula ($13) that comes off the custom 7,000-pound J&R Manufacturing smoker from Mesquite, Texas, that lurks downstairs (here’s our previous peek at it). There are also St. Louis-cut spare ribs, beef brisket ($22, sold by the pound), whole grilled trout, and more. Don’t miss sides of creamy barbecue baked beans with burnt ends, and collard greens with house-smoked bacon (both $6). The banana whoopie pie ($3) by Kat Zacher is a perfectly sized finale after all that ‘cue. Open daily 11:30am-10pm.