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Review: Apus in San Mateo

Kim Cooper | Mar 15, 2008 12:05 AM

We braved the rain tonight to dine at Apus in San Mateo, on El Camino Real at 25th Ave. Actually we had a second choice ready in case we didn’t find a parking place, but we did!

The place has been remodeled since it was a Malaysian-Singaporean restaurant. It has a simpler, more spacious feel, with the tables pretty far apart.

We started with tea, of which there were three kinds offered; we chose the jasmine. It was not the best I’ve ever had, but was quite drinkable, made with water that tasted like water (not coffee or metal as in other places.) The staff frequently filled the pot with fresh water and the tea held up well to it, never getting bitter. We perused the unfamiliar menu, and when the waiter asked if we were ready, we had to say, “Not yet”. As you know, this often brings a long subsequent wait, but tonight it did not – he reappeared as soon as we put down the menus.
Tempted by the Crispy Calamari, but wanting more vegetables and less grease, we settled on the Crispy Calamari Salad, and were very pleased with it. Beautiful mixed, non-bitter greens, sliced mushrooms, with a mild Asian-style dressing, topped with a few crispy noodles, and toasted fava beans, and ringed with warm fried calamari – it was very enjoyable. The calamari was quite tender and tasty. It was great to be able to have salad and fried calamari in one dish.
Our main dishes were “Clara Apricot Glazed Pork” and “Jumbo Grilled Prawns”. The tender pork slices were served over noodles (you can choose from four kinds, we chose udon.) and with snow peas and marinated apricot pieces. The noodles were tossed in a “Thai basil garlic sauce”. The seasoning on the noodles seemed to taste progressively better as the meal progressed. Yummy, and not too sweet.
The prawns were big, served butterflied in the shell. They we succulent, tender, slightly smoky. They were served with a scoop of rice, and wokked vegetables – squash, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms – spectacularly well seasoned. The vegetables were wonderful!
We indulged in Mango Sticky Rice for dessert. It was different than usual, but it worked. The mango was diced into bite-sized pieces, and there was more sauce than usual. But, since the mango was a bit tart, the extra sauce balanced it well.
The service was polite, friendly, and attentive, but there weren’t many people there, so we’ll see if it’s still that way when crowded. Yes, we intend to go back! We especially want to bring our vegetarian friends, because there were fully six vegetarian dinners listed.

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