Bar Beat

Perfect Pairings: Big Shrimpin Bao and Beer at Winbern Mess Hall

A great snack to knock back.
A great snack to knock back. Photo by Kate McLean

The Big Shrimpin Bao comes two to an order and costs $7; save yourself the trouble and just get four. Quite simple really, a pillow-y bao bun cradles a single tempura shrimp, garnished with a small blob of avocado and finished with sweet chili sauce and cilantro. Partner that with a salt-back Dos Equis, and it's not your typical tacos and beer night.

I recommend you come with absolutely nothing in your stomach, yes, come starving. Because there is nothing like crushing a solid, simple meal when your engine's on E.

Soft, crunchy, a little bit sweet, I even eat the tail (it's fine.)  Bao buns are kind of the best. It feels very zen to hold something so pristine in your hand, and at the same time so bread-y. The shrimp is executed well. The crisp-crunchy batter is light, yet holds on for dear life. Avocado with it's natural creaminess, and the aioli-esque sauce bathe the snack just enough, just enough.

Slamming beers with tacos is a way of life, and as this bao is a fun twist on the fish taco, a cold beer pairs nicely. I prefer Mexican beer with a salt back and lime, but you do you snowflake. Winbern Mess Hall has a solid selection of classic beers spanning Mexican, Asian, American and local in the can and on tap.

click to enlarge
Plenty of brews to choose from.
Photo by Kate McLean

Oh My Gogi!, the brainchild of owner Nathan Chang, is a fusion of Korean and Mexican cuisine, born out of a food truck (now they have 3!) Winbern Mess Hall is their brick-and-mortar spot (Happy Endings is there too), while they also take up residence at Evelyn's Park and you can book them for catering.

The mess hall is a pretty great hang. There's a ping pong table, video games, and also a full bar. Hip Hop bumps from the loudspeaker and if you're lucky, you might catch a little free-style beat boxing outside. Sam Monical, who works the order station states, "we're a lot like Star Wars, fun for the whole family."

Listen up ladies, this place has beer, ping pong, and video games. The buffalo are at the watering hole. I repeat, the buffalo are at the watering hole.

Winbern Mess Hall is open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day and the kitchen stays open till midnight Sunday to Thursday, and until 2:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

click to enlarge
Shout out to the all-stars in the back.
Photo by Kate McLean
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.