"This is because I lived in India and I totally love Indian street food," says Pomeroy. "Snacks are a whole genre of food there, a special category that people take as seriously as anything else." She makes her own chaat masala blend with a pinch of sulfuric-smelling Himalayan black salt and uses it to season the fried chickpeas the samosas are served with, atop a cabbage slaw dressed with a tamarind brown butter vinaigrette. "All of the acid in that dressing comes from tamarind, not vinegar," she explains. "I feel like tamarind is the umami of acid—it's acidic, but it has a rich roundness that I find really impressive."
Chinese Sausage Corn Dog ($7)
"My highest junk food craving is corn dogs," says Pomeroy of this riff on the carnival classic. She makes the Chinese sausage in-house, flavored with five spice powder, ginger, and a Sichuan pepper-based chili sauce labeled "Spicy Pot Sauce." The corn batter recipe is borrowed from David Lebovitz, and the hot mustard and "XXX Death Sauce" the dogs are served with was partially inspired by a Serious Eats recipe for using up extra-hot Thai chiles. "The first time I made it, I totally murdered my staff," she says. "We've toned down a little."
Crab Paste and Corn Noodles ($13)
Shrimp paste is common across Southeast Asian cookery, but Pomeroy found a bottle of bright red fermented crab paste she's been experimenting with instead. She mixes it with a rich brown butter sauce laced with sweet summer corn, then tosses in fresh wheat noodles until each strand is thoroughly coated in the sauce. "The noodles are key," she says "I found these local wonton noodles made in Washington, and they have a great texture since they're freshly pulled." The finished product is topped with Thai basil and mint.
Crab Rangoon ($11)
These Oregon Dungeness crab and cream cheese-filled fried wontons were inspired by the idea of Vietnamese spring rolls, which are deep-fried but served with raw lettuce and herbs. "I wanted to convey freshness," says Pomeroy, who played around with other fillings like local albacore tuna before settling on the crab, though the dish will change seasonally. It's served with a celery-based slaw laced with crispy maitake mushrooms, crunchy fried peas, and Thai chilies dressed in what she describes as the "holy trinity" of Southeast Asian flavors: fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice. A puree of corn with shallots, cream, and curry serves as a decidedly nontraditional dipping sauce.
Watermelon, Mint, and Tempura Squash Blossom Salad ($11)
The secret weapon here is toasted rice powder, which adds a hint of nuttiness and texture to a fresh salad of cabbage, fried shallots, mint, watermelon, and candied peanuts. It's dressed with the "holy trinity" of fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice, plus a Sichuan pepper paste, and topped with a single oversized squash blossom.
Shrimp Toast ($9)
Pomeroy makes a paste out of shrimp, pork fat, ginger, and garlic, then slathers it atop thick-sliced Texas toast-style white bread and deep-fries the whole thing in rice bran oil. Pickled vegetables help cut the fat, and the staff encouraged us to eat the fresh herbs and raw chilies, too.
Very Spicy Cucumber Salad ($6)
These rounds of cucumbers swimming in a black vinegar-XO sauce dressing are a riff off of one of Pomeroy's favorite New York City dishes, the cucumber salad at Xi'an Famous Foods. "Dammit, I just love that salad," laughs Pomeroy. Her version comes topped with a cooked cucumber and dried shrimp relish.
Tempura Halibut Sandwich ($12)
This is the handheld version of the whole fried fish smothered in crispy herbs and chili sauce Pomeroy loved in Thailand, served here with a ramp-kimchi aioli, sweet chili sauce, and fried basil leaves. But the clincher is the bun, a squishy white roll from a Vietnamese bakery that the chef drives an hour round trip to pick up. "It's called a 'butter roll,' and it's totally worth the trip," she says.
The sandwich comes with Hot and Sour Indian Spiced Fries ($6 as a side order): These twice-cooked, craggy-crusted fries are dusted with achar masala, green mango powder (amchur), salt, and sugar, among other things, then served with three dipping sauces: a cilantro-raita aioli ("It's just the right thing to eat with those fries," says Pomeroy), curry ketchup made with a kimchi base, and sumac-laced homemade ranch dressing ("My second biggest junk food craving behind corn dogs is ranch. Or corn dogs with ranch."). "I heard about these fries with sugar and salt in Vietnam, and I remembered that because you can't have a bar without French fries and sugar and salt are always craveable," she says.
Korean Fried Game Hen ($13)
"I must have eaten at [NYC's Korean-style fried chicken favorite] Mad For Chicken 100 times, and still can't figure out how they get their chicken so crunchy," Pomeroy says. Her homage is fried with potato starch to build an extra-crispy shell, then served atop locally grown Chinese long beans with oyster sauce, herbs, and ranch dressing gussied up with pickled watermelon rind. Although Expatriate houses a large collection of vintage-styled cutlery, make no mistake: this is a dish for fingers.