After a long day, a long week, a long year, you may be tired. You may be fed up. You may need a little touch of class. A Manhattan you’d order from a bar in, well, Manhattan. A hint of sweet Caribbean sunshine. You may want to lean on the bar and pour out your problems to the bartender over a Don Draper cocktail and shrug off a long day like a too-tight coat. Or maybe you just really want to impress a date. In that case, the name’s Bond. Bottled in Bond. That’s the last of the James Bond jokes, I promise.
Bottled in Bond is a cocktail parlor and kitchen, named for the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 which set legal regulations for American-made liquor that has been aged and bottled, specifically whiskey. Only American spirits can be designated as bottled-in-bond. It’s a name that calls up excellence.
Owner Jasin Burt comes from the beverage and restaurant industry, a childhood in St. Kitts and a love for mixology, all of which shine through in his newly opened Frisco restaurant. The moment I step inside Bottled in Bond, I feel like I’ve been transported somewhere else, prohibition-era New York. Full of dark wood with intimate tables and high ceilings, the cocktail bar dominates the room. Expertly designed by Coevál Studio, the same minds behind STIRR, The Rustic and Smoke, Bottled in Bond is the realization of that speakeasy style, quiet and private, elegant but understated, exclusive, yet welcoming. It’s mysterious, well-designed and dreamy. The vibe is cool. It’s just really cool.
The bar menu is Jasin’s personal project, what he has branded “classics with a creative pour.” This is where tried-and-trued cocktails gain new life and American whiskey is celebrated as the treasure it is. It’s the center of the action. The comfortable barstools are the best seats in the house as drinks are shaken, stirred, smoked and poured. Cocktails as classic as Coca-Cola with little twists like homemade shrub or applewood smoke parade down the long bar like daydreams. Pick your poison wisely.
One popular drink, “Laters, Baby” blends Kettle One Vodka, lemon, strawberry shrub, Brut Sparkling Rosé and just a hint of oh-so-pleasant orange blossom. It’s served cold with a sugared rim and a strawberry. It practically blooms, the vodka tang erased by an orange-blossom glow and a brief fizzy pop.
If it’s a sazerac you favor, try the Bonded Aphrodisiac, which combines Old Grand-Dad Bonded, Mama Juana Tincture, plum bitters, cane syrup and applewood smoke. It’s a man’s drink with a curl of orange peel, a citrus-scented elixir that showcases rye whiskey at its best, from the first tempered sip to the final burn at the bottom of the glass.
Dia De Los Muertos, Bottled in Bond’s tequila sour is smooth and charming, cleanly expressing the agave notes in Patron Reposado. Ringing as clear as a bell, it’s very delicately accessorized with rose water, agave nectar and—for extra froth—whipped egg white. Add the garnish of flowers and tea leaves, and it’s just as beautiful as it tastes.
That’s the bar; the kitchen, however, is the domain of Chef Tony Celmo, where New American food gets a tropical twist, a little unexpected and deliciously offbeat. Let me wax poetic for a while.
Yucca Nachos, for example, feature housemade chips dusted generously with lime, salt and garlic, fried and topped with diced jerk chicken, green onions, shallots, avocado, black beans and a hefty drizzle of jalapeño cream. Jerk chicken is exceptionally tender, and the yucca chips are a shade thicker than traditional potato chips, holding firm under the weight of abundant toppings. It’s satisfyingly addictive.
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Mac’n’cheese bites bring a little bit of home-cooking to the table with elbow macaroni that has been baked with brie, swiss, provolone and feta cheeses, hickory-smoked bacon and just a hint of green onions for a springtime flavor. Usually mac‘n’cheese bites are heavily breaded and fried. These, however, are light. They don’t ooze Velveeta everywhere—in fact, there’s no hint of processed faux-cheese—and there’s no mess. They’re subtle; even feta, the strongest cheese in play, has been tamed. But at the end of the day, no one orders mac’n’cheese because of the health benefits. We eat it because we ate it growing up. It’s comfort-food, but in Chef Celmo’s hands, mac’n’cheese has grown up as well to be sleek, fine and sprinkled with micro greens.
A glance at the entree menu reveals a wide variety of options you’d find at a steakhouse—short ribs, burgers, filet, salmon, chicken—but dressed up in new ways. Pan-seared salmon paired with apple and fennel slaw, pineapple-infused mahogany rice and the signature blackberry bourbon glaze is one of the most stunning entrees on the menu. The signature glaze isn’t what I expected; a little tart, a little fruity and laced with unmistakable bourbon warmth. Underneath, salmon has been seared to perfection, flaky and moist underneath a crisp, buttery edge, simply seasoned with salt and cracked pepper.
One of their most popular dishes is Classic Jerk Chicken. It arrives plated with a dollop of pineapple and mango pico and a mountain of Jasmine rice soaked in coconut milk. Bringing an island-freshness to the plate, the coconut rice is as creamy as a risotto. As for the jerk chicken, the same star of the Yucca Nachos, it’s spicy and smoky, bold with its tropical accompaniments.
There is also the Bourbon Burger, a seasoned patty that whispers of cumin, on a brioche bun and piled with portobello mushrooms, grilled red peppers, emmental cheese, fried onion strings and an encore of that signature bourbon glaze. A knife is buried in the middle of it. Beef jus and bourbon glaze melt together; it’s packed with enough flavor to stand out in the crowd of innovative burgers found in every nook and cranny of Texas.
A traditional Italian dessert gets a Caribbean reboot with Chef Celmo’s Mango Panna Cotta which includes a sweetened coconut cream, granting an old-school dessert a fascinating rebirth. Apples, strawberries and toasted coconut top it, alongside an awesome mango puree. It has been layered beautifully, worth it just for the picture it makes.
A casually cool restaurant, Bottled in Bond is tailor-made for those who appreciate the art of a handcrafted cocktail and the passion behind a fine meal. It’s distinguished, as original as Sean Connery, especially attractive to young people who want to chase the feeling of life in a vibrant metropolis without the noise pollution. It’s full of rich surprises. It’s only open for dinner right now, with the exception of a Saturday brunch. Though it’s new on the Frisco food scene, I bet that it’ll only get better with age. In short: if whiskey was a place, that place would be Bottled in Bond.
Bottled in Bond
Monday – Wednesday | 4 p.m.–12 a.m.
- Kitchen closes at 10 p.m.
Thursday – Friday | 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
- Kitchen closes at 11 p.m.
- Brunch | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Dinner | 4 p.m.– 2 a.m.
- Kitchen closes at 11 p.m.
Sunday | 4 – 10 p.m.
- Kitchen closes at 10 p.m.
Where: 5285 Dallas Pkwy. Ste. 420, Frisco