By Kelli N. McClain, Contributor
A noisy, fun gastropub down the block from the Toyota Music Factory in Irving sounds like a blast to me. After all, my favorite pasttime is people-watching, and a Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill near a huuuuge new performance venue seems like a prime spot to do it.
Concert crowds were a bit crazy during my visit, so I’m happy that my first round at Thirsty Lion came in liquid form. The Lion Lemonade features citrus vodka, raspberry liqueur, lemon, Sprite, sweet and sour and simple syrup. It was sweet but not diabetes-inducing. Meantime, my dining partner had a Bulleit Old Fashioned made with Bulleit Rye, bitters, soda, sugar, orange and cherry. Smooth and sip-worthy. Soon enough, it was time to eat!
I love bacon, and Thirsty Lion makes bacon-wrapped BBQ prawns, served with BBQ sauce, slaw and a mustard-grain vinaigrette (above). OMG, it was delicious! Seriously, anything served with bacon is good, and we ate ALL OF THEM.
[Disclosure: Thirsty Lion provided complimentary food and drinks to The Dallas Diva. The opinions here are the writer’s own.]
Next on our list was the Ahi Poke stack (below). If you like sushi, this is for you. Ahi tuna, rice, avocado, soy sauce, nori and sriracha chili are the mouthwatering components of this dish. Finger-licking good. Both the prawns and the stack are enough for two people to share, but you also may want ’em for yourself!
The gastropub’s Pepper Bacon Cheeseburger comes with your choice of Cheddar, Swiss, or pepper Jack cheese, and you can’t ever go wrong with a burger with pickles and secret sauce. Buuuuut … my comfort food of choice here was the Bacon Mac n’ Cheese. The aforementioned pepper bacon mingled with sweet onions and five cheeses, all of it melting in my mouth. Did that sound like food porn? I’m owning it.
To wash down all the bacon-based goodness and more, Thirsty Lion has a great craft beer and cider menu for hops lovers.
Pro-tip: There is a valet service, but you can also self-park near the restaurant. Also, reservations are more than likely needed with the Music Factory close by, but the restaurant is definitely worth your time and effort.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub, 350 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving. 214-496-0400.