We got knocked out last night by East Side King. No idea if that was Paul Qui in the hoodie or not, frankly we were so deep in our cups that it never occurred to us to look more closely.

However, if the quality of the chow last night represents what he was putting out during the filming of Top Chef Texas then those other cooks not named Qui had a long row to hoe.

For $25 incl. a healthy tip we had three substantial trays of food. A grilled, barbecue sauce painted chicken thigh with a glutenous serving of rice and a dollop of mayo that bound the whole dish together like a mother's hug. While it's true that mayonnaise makes any dish better, this particular dollop was more heavenly than most.

The eggplant dish was a new one. Two hunks of grilled eggplant had been doused with some sort of mind-altering, delicious glaze that took us straight to the street carts of Istanbul. The Turks know eggplant like no other culture but East Side King's version was superb.

We'll never get sick of pork belly. Yes, it's a food trend but for us it's a food trend we've been hooked on since kindergarten. Granddaddy Big Jim Sullivan saw to that with a vigorous breeding program on his farm that saw every part of the pig eaten with gusto. Qui's belly is otherworldly with barbecue sauce and lots of green onion. One of the better renditions in town. Right up there with Odd Duck and Three Little Pigs.

It had been a couple months since we last hit East Side Kings. We dined at the one located at The Grackle as it's our favorite out of the three versions scattered around East Austin.

Now we're even more excited about the Top Chef Texas Wednesday night cook brawls.

all Paul Qui coverage here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/search.cfm?search=p

all Austin Daily Photos coverage here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/Austin-Da

all our Top Chef Texas articles here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/Top-Chef-