An impressive array of agave spirits highlight this stand-alone bar at the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane
Reviewed by Claudia Alarcón, Fri., July 6, 2012
400 Rabbits5701 W. Slaughter Ln.; 861-7069
Monday-Thursday, 4pm-12mid; Friday, 4pm-2am; Saturday, 10am-2am; Sunday, 10am-12mid
On the rare occasion that we go see a movie at a theater, we go to the Alamo Drafthouse, where we can have dinner and drinks – but paying attention to a movie while eating a burger in the dark doesn't always work. Enter 400 Rabbits at the Alamo's newish Slaughter Lane location, offering an additional option for dining on-site before or after the movie. The bar's odd name pays homage to Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of pulque, and her children, the 400 rabbits, who suckled pulque from her 400 breasts. Alamo beverage director Bill Norris designed the menu to showcase the flavors of the different agave spirits: tequila, mezcal, and sotol. Whether you want to taste the nuances between Highland tequilas, or compare the three uniquely different spirits, there is a flight for you, and in traditional Mexican fashion, flights and single sipping tequilas come with a side of house-made sangrita. And since this is Bill Norris we're talking about, it's imperative to try one of his signature cocktails. Of course, they serve margaritas and palomas, but try his playful versions of the classics – such as the pasado de moda ($10), a take on the old-fashioned made with silver tequila, mezcal, mole bitters, honey, and orange peel; or the Rosita cocktail ($9) which he describes as a "south of the border Negroni" made with reposado tequila, vermouth, Campari, and bitters. I would love it if he came up with a Vampiro!
Chef John Bullington's snacky menu includes a few interpretations of classic Mexican street food. We tried a heaping bowl of piping hot, house-made chicharrones ($5) with chile de arbol salsa for dipping; toothsome N.Y. strip alambres grilled with bacon and poblanos, served with a creamy avocado salsa verde ($10); and the giant Sonoran hot dog ($9), which we liked, but found a bit too busy (I would lose the white beans and lettuce, and add pickled jalapeños). If your movie is getting ready to start, the friendly staff are happy to pack anything to go for snacking at the theater.
400 Rabbits could easily become the neighborhood's most popular brunch spot as well, when the new brunch menu debuts in August. Chef Brandon Hanna's New Mexico roots are obvious in the robust red chile warmth of the red posole ($7) broth; and the chilequiles ($6) are first rate: two eggs over easy, resting on a bed of thin, crispy tortilla strips and a tangy avocado tomatillo salsa. Another signature item is the chichimigas ($8), eggs scrambled with poblanos, onions, and tomatoes, plus the interesting crunch of chicharrones. A pot of French-press coffee and a plate of cinnamon-sugar dusted churros ($5) with sweetened whipped cream can round out the meal.