Late-Night Bite Dare me

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Cyrus Keefer’s squid pad Thai with broccolini at Defie Moi.
Cyrus Keefer’s squid pad Thai with broccolini at Defie Moi.

Cyrus Keefer’s new after-hours spot is a bustling and bright extension of his downstairs kitchen at 13.5 Wine Bar in Hampden. A smattering of tables, chairs and barstools in a tiny raw space in full view of the stainless kitchen—chefs busily plating and shouting orders, burners with pots of simmering broth, walk-in refrigerator—gives you a feeling that you’re dropping into Keefer’s domain to score a taste of what he does best. A kind of permanent pop-up, Defie Moi—French for “dare me”—is decorated with graffiti and flyers from the Sex Pistols and the Clash; there’s a faux retro turntable where visitors can spin their own vinyl (two songs per party, please, in case the others don’t share your taste). Keefer wanted the decor to create a punk speakeasy vibe to match his hybrid street food menu: fresh mozzarella brined in shoyu, escargot bao with leeks and black truffle, Thai squid noodles in “insane shellfish broth” (the menu’s words), and Keefer’s “heavenly take on ramen.” The place opens at 9:30, when the more sedate upstairs service begins to wind down; reservations are accepted, and not a bad idea, once word gets out. 1117 W. 36th Street (downstairs), 410-889-1064

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