Falley Allen opened on March 24, and by March 26 the new restaurant was so full of boisterous people it gave Cantina Loco a run for the title of Allentown's Loudest Restaurant.
Once the North Carolina versus Kentucky NCAA basketball game ended with one last Tar Heel jumper, the crowd thinned and the sound level dropped to tolerable levels.
The folks drawn to 204 Allen St. got a chance to check out a place only three days old, where Chris Daigler's new menu features dishes drawn from his decades of experience.
The restaurant's kitchen will be open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week, with the bar open until 4 a.m. Phone: 464-3903.
The "Billy Ogden's" stuffed peppers ($12) are a throwback, but the combination of faintly spicy Hungarian chiles and savory cheese filling was satisfying as ever.
A sandwich of braised short rib bathed in intense beef gravy ($14 with a side) was just as lush and welcoming as the first time I met it on the menu at Bourbon & Butter. The pillowy, toasted weck roll had just enough tensile strength to hold it together.
Another Bourbon & Butter echo was the Asian bao buns stuffed with grilled Korean-marinated short rib ($12), with spicy mayonnaise and sweet kimchi pickle for crunch. This time, the crunch was also amplified by deep-frying the buns.
Daigler transformed another Asian ingredient by crushing dried ramen noodles and using them to coat three fat chicken fingers ($12 with a side). The crushed pasta made the crust especially crunchy.
One of the lighter dishes also brought plenty of texture, in the form of poke ($12), cubes of sashimi tuna tossed in soy sauce and sesame oil and presented in an Hawaiian-style ensemble. Cucumbers, marinated water chestnuts, fresh edamame, macadamia nuts and fried lotus root contributed to a chorus of crunch.
One dish starring vegetables was a roasted beet salad ($9) with several types of beets, including some shaved into slices so thin they let the sun through like stained glass. They were joined by bites of red grapefruit, pistachios, microgreens, blue cheese and honey yogurt for a refreshing, playful ensemble.
With dishes that range from deceptively simple (deviled eggs, $5) to thoughtful entrees (pork blade chop, sweet potato puree, sesame Napa cabbage, caramel apple miso, $18) Falley Allen has straightforward pleasures to offer just about anyone.
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