By: Tara Kerrigan Hayes
Take any given Sunday fun day or game night in Southie, jump in an Uber, and head down East Broadway. Pass all the lines sprouting from the doors of The Broadway to Capo, Lincoln, Loco and keep going ‘til you hit the end of West Broadway, where you can waive at the ghost of Stephis, and blow a kiss to the fading shadow of The (sorely missed) Maiden, before turning the corner to arrive at Moonshine 152. In the vortex of closing establishments, it would seem any other restaurant in this spot would be in danger, but this is not a ship that’s going down any time soon – not with owner, Asia Mei, at the helm. Former Sous Chef of Hamersley’s Bistro and Sibling Rivalry, Asia would eventually move on to Sam’s on the Waterfront and Franklin Southie – the spot that would ultimately become her culinary home.
Dubbed by our brunch crew as “the hardest working woman in America”, Asia is the sole owner and head chef, whose focus tends to showcase French technique utilizing fresh New England ingredients. She also successfully manages the restaurant’s marketing and social media, rarely takes a day off, yet still makes it a point to pop out of the kitchen to offer a smile and a personal greeting. With Asia’s experience, drive and passion for food reflected in every dish, Moonshine 152 offers an eclectic menu that is an outright celebration of diverse cuisines (yet still manages to be cohesive), with an inventive cocktail list that is no less impressive.
The brunch menu is simply firing on all cylinders, with comfort food like Shrimp and Spicy Grits (with a sherry sauce), and unexpected twists on classics such as Crab Egg Benedict with tasso ham hollandaise. Most notable is The Shine Pho-Rrito, an Asian inspired dish that began as a Special until popular demand impelled it to the menu; slow braised beef brisket, homemade scallion pancake wrapped pho noodle salad, bacon-egg drop pho dipping broth so magical and indiscernibly delicious, one can only surmise it’s a derived from a unique blend of beef jus and unicorn tears.
The dinner menu is just as globally exciting with entrees like Southie’s Favorite Irish Curry gracing the menu alongside a Thai Crispy Chicken Basil Rice Bowl, not to be outshined by Cajun Grilled Tilapia (with fried pickled green tomatoes and spicy uni-shrimp butter). From Brunch to Lunch to Dinner, each menu has a perfect mix of elevated street food, comfort food as well as fine dining items, with American, Latin-American and Asian influences.
With too many all star dishes to note, there’s sadly no room to mention the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Wings that falls off the bone (oops), but it’s the Burger of Month that commands center stage – with alternating creative fixings, such as January’s Beef Burger topped with edamame hummus, creamy sesame tahini, alfalfa sprouts and pickled carrot slaw. Note: you can accent any of the Moonshine burgers with a fried egg and / or jalapeno bacon (and you should – unless you’re a bad person).
From delectable vegetarian dishes to satiating naughty hangover cures, there is literally something for everyone to love, including the late night noshers (kitchen’s open ’til 1:30 am daily, bar open ‘til 2am). While menu items may change seasonally, one thing that hasn’t changed is Asia’s secret to success: exquisite food and cocktails served in an unpretentious, cozy atmosphere by friendly, knowledgeable staff, led by one of the most talented chefs the Boston scene has seen. Shine on, Moonshine.