My Significant Other and I played hooky from work last Friday afternoon to explore the newly opened Asian Art Museum. Within lies Cafe Asia which has a respectable offering of Oriental cuisine at *okay* prices. There are a number of soup offerings (Coconut Chicken, Miso with Tofu Noodles) along with the Hot From The Grill selections:
*Grilled Lemongrass Chicken - Boneless Sliced Chicken Marinated with Lemongrass, Rice Wine, Soy & Five Spice. ($7.50)
*Spicy Pork - Grilled Thin-Sliced Pork Marinated in Korean Hot Bean Paste, Ginger & Garlic. ($7.95)
*Sesame Beef - Charbroiled Sliced Beef Marinatd in Soy, Ginger, Garlic, Sugar & Sesame Oil. ($8.25)
*Salmon Misoyako - Grilled Filet of Salmon Marinated in Miso Paste, Ginger & Lemon Juice. ($8.50)
*Steamed Vegetables - Medley of Asian Vegetables Seasoned with Garlic, Ginger, White Pepper & Light Sesame Oil. ($6.50)
All of the above are offered with a choice of Jasmine Rice, Brown Rice steamed with Shiitake Mushrooms, Fried Rice with Scallions, Eggs, & Green Peas, or Chow Mein Wok Noodles with Vegetables & Oyster Sauce.
I gotta say that the presentation was stupendous. Being an art museum, I shouldn't have been too surprised but being a "cafeteria," I didn't expect beautifully-designed white ware that was extremely elegant and streamlined. Very nicely done.
Being quite hungry, my boyfriend ordered the Beef with Wok Noodles and I ordered the Chicken with Brown Mushroom Rice. The beef was reasonably tender and very flavorful but a bit of spicy kimchee hidden amongst the noodles added a bit too much heat for my likeness.
Now here is where it got weird... In my plate, they start by placing the rice. Then they surrounded the rice with bits of vegetables and pickles. Atop the rice is placed the sliced chicken breast. THEN, on top of the chicken, goes a heap of diced tomatoes -- essentially salsa except that it was made with cilantro and sesame seeds (no onions).
Why, oh why, would they do such a thing???? Part of the reason why I love Oriental food is because I'm allergic to raw tomotoes and violently abhor cilantro. Have any of you ever heard of such a thing?
I picked it off and enjoyed it nonetheless, but it just caught me completely off guard.
Along with the entrees, we also had two sodas, and a tapioca-coconut cake-ish like thing that had the chewy consistency of mochi. Tasted good -- but again, just weird.
The whole lunch came to under $25 for the both of us.