Over the course of several visits, I have been working my way through the menu of Tempt Asian. Because I have yet to go with a large group, the progress has been slow. In fact, I usually eat alone, with some reading material.
I report here on the dishes I have had so far.
To date, the food has been generally excevery good. But, short of transcendent. I keep going back hoping for that bite that is going to send me racing to the keyboard urging all hounds to drop what they are doing, and go immediately to Tempt Asian.
The Chinese menu has both atranslated section, and a non-translated section. To assist in identification, I have provided the prices of dishes from the non-translated section. I have used the translations provided by JamesG in an earlier post.
Spinach Ball Fish Slices (11.95)
This one appeared second from the top on the non-translated section of the menu. In broken English, the waitress told me it was fish with dumplings and vegetables in clear sauce. The description was spot on. An understated dish that nourishes the soul more than it tanatalizes the taste-buds. But, I loved it. The green dumplings, made of a spinach dough, encased gingery pork. Hard to stop eating. Like many of the dishes at Tempt Asian, it improves as you eat more of it. (NOTE: On my most recent visit, this item had been replaced on the menu.)
I knew that these would not travel well, but ordered it take-out any way to share with a friend. Suffocated by plastic wrap, the pancakes lose all of their pillowy lightness. However, even in their lesser state, they were still delicious.
Chicken Threads with Sheet Pasta (5.50)
Again, this is from the untranslated portion of the menu. Fourth from the bottom in the current version of that page. Transcluent, wide, rice noodles topped with cold shredded chicken and a cold, thick, pasty, brown, sauce that does not appear particulary appetizing. I sensed peanut and maybe sesame (but not toasted sesame). I would not order this again. Not disappointing. But nearly.
Whole Fish Simmerred in Soy Sauce and Chile Bean Paste (12.95)
If my ichthyologist friend from college had been with me, I could have told you what type of fish it was. My guess is snapper. A dark brown, rich sauce that shared some similarities with a classic frency gravy surrounded the whole fish on the oval plate. The sauce had a hint of consomme, or boullion, or onion stock -- that type of flavor. Chili sauce provided some heat, but nothing offensive. Peas, diced carrots, and chopped water-chesnuts filled out the sauce. Another one that grows on you until it becomes hard to stop eating.
Mixed Flavored Chicken
Cold chicken. Not at all strongly flavored. I'm having trouble remembering it well, but do remember I liked it.
Spicy Peppercorn Beef With Cilantro
The thin slivers of beef were slightly tough, but certainly seemed intended to be that way. Lots of choped cilantro provided a sharp cooling contrast to the heart of the chilies. Again, not a standout.
Spicy Diced Rabbit
Classic Sichuan appetizer. Again, cold. Typical red chile sauce in many cold sichuan appetizers. Not the best version I've ever had of this dish (that was in Brookline, MA), but still very good.
Fried Ground Fish Roll With Cilantro
One of the more wow-inducing dishes I've had. Explosive flavors of ground fish and cilantro, rolled into a cigar shaped wrapper, and deep fried. Mmm.
Baby Wontons with Chicken Flavor
Very good. Nice thin wontons with a "tail" that provides the pleasure of slurping them. Nicely flavored chicken broth.
Rice Balls and Sweet Rice Wine with Sweet Corn
A peculiar dish. I sensed that this is a dish that I could get nostalgic about if I had gronw up eating it. BUT, perhaps because it was new to me, I found the dish a little monotonous at times. It's a massive bowl of soup with rice balls with the size and texture of tapiocal pearls in pearl teas. The sweet rice wine flavour tended to dominate, and the taste quickly became redundant. The sweet corn, which there was not much of, was too quiet.
Fried Minced Beef it Dried Pot
One of those dishes that charmingly does not resemble the translation. The beef was not minced. It was sliced. The pot was not dried, it had a pool of delicious spicy oil at the bottom. The beef, itself, was a bit dry, and perhaps that got mixed up in the translation. The exterior of the beef had a dry, pastys, sandy texture. And, believe it or not, I mean that in a good way. It was very appetizing. Highly spiced dish with lots of green pepper. The dish got even better when I dug deep and tossed the beef with some of the oil that had pooled at the bottom. Among the best dishes I've had at TemptAsian.
Eggplant with Garlic sauce in Hot Pot
I had hoped that this dish would approach the heights of the legendary Eggplant with Basil at Boston's Taiwan Garden. But, thos expectations were foolishly high. A perfectly good eggplant dish, nonetheless.
Shredded Duck with Snow Peas
A clear sauce. Tasty duck meat. Nice fresh snow peas. Nothing to jump up and down about. Nothing to complaing about either.