This new addition to the Monroe Center restaurant scene is in a good location across from Rosa Park’s Circle and is well worth a visit. Smaller and much more casual than the nearby XO, the restaurant was not busy today at lunchtime so we finally got a chance to try it (our previous attempt was met by a packed room with people waiting in line). There are roughly 6 tables and 5 booths so it does fill up quickly. Decor is minimal but that’s preferable to cheesy oriental-themed decor frequently found in Asian restaurants. The menu, unfortunately, in our opinion, is massive (50 entrees). They are divided into categories: Main, Curry, Noodles, Fried Rice, and Dinner-only entrees. Each entree may be ordered with chicken, beef, pork, tofu, or vegetables.
Two women and one man were tag-teaming the service; the women were brusk (and efficient) but the man was friendly and outgoing, happy to answer any of our questions. Without him, we would have felt that we were being rushed through our meal. He recommended two entrees that were his favorites and we went with them. Six spice levels range from none to hot, and we were leaning toward the “medium-plus” (level 4) until our server informed us that some people complain that “medium” is too spicy and overwhelming. So we backed it down and went “medium” (good call).
Hot and sour soup was brought out (unsolicited) before the appetizers and had just the right amount of tang and great flavor. We each have a favorite Asian appetizer so we had to pick Chicken Satay (4) and Crab Rangoon (5); both were great. The pastry of the Crab Rangoon was really nicely done and better than most. The Chicken Satay needs to come with a warning - this is not your thin, sometimes tough but tasty, piece of chicken on a stick - this is almost a whole chicken breast. Its description reads: marinated curry-flavored chicken breast charbroiled on skewers. So we missed the clue. Regardless, it was tender & moist and stayed hot due to its huge size, and had a good accompanying peanut sauce.
The first entree was Pad Thai Curry (stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, green onions, eggs, curry sauce, crushed peanuts, and chicken). It was pretty spicy but very tasty. The second dish was the House Noodle dish, which consisted of Lomein noodles, stir-fried with chicken, beef, shrimp, carrots, peapods, bean sprouts, broccoli, and water chestnuts in the house sauce. It was another winner.
Prices range from $6.95 - $8.95 for lunches, and $9.50 - $11.50 for dinners. Appetizers are $1.25 - $4.95, Soups $2.95 - $3.75, and Salads $5.50 - $6.50 (we never look at desserts, sorry). Each dish was nicely presented, and we’ll definitely return to work on a few more of the remaining 48 entrees. The atmosphere is nothing special but it’s nice enough. Just don’t let them rush you through your meal (and avoid high noon).