Eat Shrimp Saigon, Pork Laap, Tom Kha Gai, and More at Tiger Mama This Thursday
Nearly 40 small and medium plates ($6-$18) comprise the majority of the menu, broken down into categories like “cold & fresh,” “crispy & spicy,” and “rich & earthy.” The dishes, like crispy papaya salad ($7), riff on the traditional—the fruit, along with morning glory and mint, are fried and tossed with a tomato chili vinaigrette. Rotating large format plates, like the marinated, smoked, and fried Tiger duck ($60), will feed about four.
Along with chef de cuisine Mike Stark (Coppa, Toro), Faison says she’s respectfully interpreting the cuisine she loves. Some dishes draw on a few influences: Issan-style sausage has garlicky, umami, and herbal Thai flavors from lemongrass and fish sauce, and it’s topped with Malaysian banana ketchup. New England halibut replaces snakehead in the Vietnamese-inspired cha ca la vong.
The 135-seat space has a few tables with lazy Susans in the middle for sharing, booths, and a communal table overlooking the open kitchen. The vibrant space also features a living wall with aromatics and herbs for the kitchen, and two bars. The front bar sits beneath an abstract boat, while copper cut-outs cast palm tree shadows over the rear bar, where beverage director Charles Coykendall is focusing on shaved ice cocktails. Expect tiki drinks in hollowed-out fruit, and seasonal offerings like Lapu Mountain Punch, featured in the December issue of Boston magazine.
The bold restaurant is named for Faison, a fierce leader in the kitchen. Located in the Fenway neighborhood, just up the block from her barbecue haven Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama has been a vision since a 2008 vacation with wife and business partner, Kelly Walsh.
“To us, Southeast Asian food is the best food in the world. When it’s done well. It’s what we crave. We’re excited to bring our interpretation of it to life,” Faison says.
Tiger Mama will be open 5-11:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 5-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday.
1363 Boylston St., Boston; 617-425-MAMA (6262); tigermamaboston.com.
UPDATE, 5:40 p.m.: An earlier version of this post named Dan Lynch as the beverage director; Lynch is no longer with Tiger Mama, though his Lapu Mountain punch is on the opening menu, according to a rep for the restaurant.