Saturday, February 2, 2013

Asia Bistro - Woodbury, MN

D.Rough was in the mood for sushi and also had a groupon for Asia Bistro – what bad could happen? We drove over there to find out what bad could happen…

The inside is tastefully decorated with various Asian artifacts and decorations. It wasn’t overwhelming and it wasn’t sparse. There are also some randomly placed tables in the room with wine bottles on them – likely to indicate to people that they should drink wine at this classy place. And it honestly is one of the classier Asian restaurants we’ve been to.

We looked at the lunch menu and after some panicky moments and asking the really nice waitress, we found out they don’t serve Sushi on Mondays until 4pm. Every other day, yes to sushi, but not Mondays. Super bummer. Really. However, we turned this tragedy into an opportunity!!! Now we were going to see how good the cooks in back were by ordering random things we wouldn’t have ordered if we got sushi.

With the groupon, we had to spend a lot. That lead us to the Pu-Pu Platter (which we just love to say anyway). It’s got an egg roll, two cream cheese wontons, two chicken satay skewers, 2 coconut shrimp, and some tempura vegetables. Perfect. Fried, fried, and more fried! I got the Triple Crown and D.Rough got the Thai Basil Chicken. We asked our server about the spice level here and she indicated it was more of a “Minnesota spice”, rather than a normal person spice. So we got ours spicy.

The appetizer sampler came out first and surprisingly, we one of the best pu-pu platters we’ve ever gotten. Everything was perfectly cooked, which I know isn’t easy to do with tempura vegetables. The egg roll was perfectly crispy and filled with delicious cabbage and maybe some pork? Really quite good with the dipping sauces provided. The satay had some sort of glaze on it and was extremely tender, and went perfectly with the peanut dipping sauce. The coconut shrimp was sweet and crunchy and fully cooked, and the cream cheese wontons weren’t greasy at all, somehow. The tempura vegetables were just the right finisher and we ended up dipping them in all of the remaining sauces.

The entrees came out right after we finished our sampler and we were a little surprised at how vibrant the color of the food was and also how good it smelled. It was going to be a fantastic lunch, we could tell. The Thai Basil Chicken had a fantastic glaze covering all of the red and green peppers, onion, broccoli, basil leaves, and chicken. And you could see red flecks of spicy magic throughout the entire dish. There wasn’t a speck of grease anywhere, either visually nor in your mouth when you ate it. The sauce was a sort of red curry with coconut milk and was a fantastic flavor that went with the chicken perfectly. We were both a little blown away by this dish. So much so, that we boxed up half of this dish to bring home with us.

The Triple Crown is chicken, BBQ pork, and shrimp in a ginger and garlic sauce, stir fried with a bunch of veggies. I was honestly surprised at how flavorful this was. I thought it was going to be the standard garlic sauce and frozen vegetables I’ve gotten at other places, but this place woke me up a little bit. The vegetables were warm, but still firm and crunchy, and you could actually taste each one of the different meats. The sauce could have been a little bit spicier in my opinion, but I’m not complaining. I was able to eat it without crying or sweating, so I was thrilled with it.

I know it is difficult to put one Chinese (or Asian) place above any other, but this place stands up to Nationally-ranked Little Szechuan in St. Paul. Little Szechuan may have them in the actually-from-China authenticity category, but Asia Bistro gets top scores for flavor. Asia Bistro has atmosphere to make it more upscale, and it definitely has the flavors to make it memorable. I think getting take-out here would cheapen the place, but I know if I lived within a mile or two of here, I’d be here all the time. That being said, I’m trying to figure out when I can get out to Woodbury again. It would absolutely be worth a drive, especially since our friend SandblastHER lives in the apartment complex across the street from it and we need more excuses to go visit her.

Do yourself a favor and try this place out. It isn’t near the heart of either downtown, but I promise you won’t be mad at me if you drive out here and grab some food. This makes both of us want to come back and try the sushi, anyway. Now we have the perfect excuse to come back!

Top 5 things about Asia Bistro
1. Thai Basil Chicken
2. Triple Crown
3. Pu-Pu Platter
4. Fantastic menu filled with Korean, Chinese, Thai, and Japanese dishes
5. Upscale atmosphere

Bottom 5 things
1. No sushi on Monday’s for lunch (when we showed up)
2. It isn’t cheap Chinese food
3. It is victim to the Minnesota spice palate, so order accordingly or tell them you’re serious
4. It’s in a far eastern suburb that we normally don’t go to
5. There was a server job interview happening in the dining room during our meal – weird scenario and I felt bad for the interviewee. I hope he got the job!


s said...

A little gem the place is. I haven't had anything bad there. The guy that owns it is the gradnson of the old Nanking owners I believe and some of the old recipies are still in use there. They also have an awesome happy hour.

Anonymous said...

Worst service I have received at a restaurant by far. Food was decent but the rude greeter(Ellen), who clearly didn't want to be there spoiled the experience.

Blogger said...

3 Studies REVEAL Why Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

The meaning of this is that you actually kill fat by eating Coconut Fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

These 3 studies from major medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!