Pho Grand Vietnamese in St. Louis

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Growing up in Midwestern Illinois, my family’s idea of Asian food was La Choy out of a can with Uncle Ben’s rice. As a teen, my tastes adapted to Chinese takeout and food court cuisine. Even after I began dating my eventual wife, a native of the Philippines, I still did not know real Asian cuisine.

Shortly after settling in St. Louis, we began frequenting the local restaurants. I can’t remember the first time we ate at Pho Grand, but I remember my life changing for the better with my first experience of Vietnamese cuisine.

We recently dined at the south St. Louis landmark for the fourth time. The food, service and ambiance are as mind-blowingly good now as they were on our first visit.

Pho Grand has a very extensive menu

Pho Grand has a very extensive menu

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Fried Tofu with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Fried Tofu with Peanut Dipping Sauce

These Crispy Chicken Wings were sticky, pungent and delicious with the flavors of fish sauce and garlic.

These Crispy Chicken Wings were sticky, pungent and delicious with the flavors of fish sauce and garlic.

Lettuce Wraps with tender pork

Lettuce Wraps with tender pork

The Cari Hao, or Scallops with Curry and Coconut Milk

The Cari Hao, or Scallops with Curry and Coconut Milk

Com Tam Bi Suon Cha, or Crushed Rice with Pork Chop and Eggcake

Com Tam Bi Suon Cha, or Crushed Rice with Pork Chop and Eggcake

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I cannot wait for my next visit to Pho Grand Vietnamese Restaurant

Pho Grand is located at 3195 South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. They are open Sunday and Monday from 11:00 to 9:30; closed on Tuesday; open Wednesday and Thursday 11:00 to 9:30; and open Friday and Saturday 11:00 to 10:30.

http://www.phogrand.com/

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Asabi Bistro Sushi Bar and Grill

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Asabi Bistro Sushi Bar and Grill is a collaboration of multiple Asian cuisines. With a focus on their sushi bar, they present beautiful, fresh ingredients on a bevy of contemporary dishes in an appealing aesthetically-pleasing dining room. Menu items include tempura’s, stir-fry‘s, fried-rice, curries and Pad Thais. Everything we sampled on our visit was delicious.

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We started with Seaweed Salad and Miso Soup. Both were fresh and wonderful. Hot and cold contrasts to start a meal. We followed that with Pork Lettuce Wraps and Shrimp Tempura. These were likewise wonderful. The only negative of the meal was when we realized that the wraps were missing the crispy fried rice noodles ubiquitous with lettuce wraps and were clearly stated on the menu. The crunch of the noodles would have been welcome with the well-seasoned pork and crispy lettuce.

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I tried only two of the sushi options. My stomach is only so big. I had the Spicy Tuna and the Vegetable. Both were great tasting, but the presentation is what set these apart. Rolled like a flower bouquet, not only were they almost too pretty to eat, but the size makes them a great value as well. I anticipate a return visit so I can make a meal out of the sushi alone.

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We finished with some generous entrees. Pork-Fried Rice and Char Tofu with Pork. Yes, I know, we tried too much pork. But it is Asian Cuisine after all, and pork rules! Both these dishes were delicious as well. The tofu was crispy on the exterior and creamy on the interior, as good tofu should be. The rice was well-seasoned with soy and garlic. The meats in both dishes were cooked well, nice and crispy; a great compliment to the rest of the dish.

Asabi Bistro very well may be the most underrated Asian restaurant in all the St. Louis metro area. I have not seen it listed in any directories, nor have I seen any reviews on the establishment. Hopefully this post will open some eyes and generate some traffic.

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Asabi Bistro Sushi Bar and Grill is located at 1325 Lake St. Louis Blvd. in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. They are open from 11-9 on Monday-Thursday and 11-10 on Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.

 

 

Thai Kitchen in St. Peters, MO

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Thai food has become fairly ubiquitous in and around the St. Louis area. So to attract attention, a Thai restaurant really needs to impress with their food. Thai Kitchen in St. Peters does just that.

This was our first visit to this restaurant. My first impression was that the interior looked just like every other Thai place we have been to. So, I figured, the food would be good, but it would not stand out. I was impressed by the specials board as I passed it, though. It featured two items we could not pass up and eventually ordered: Fried Shrimp Spring-rolls and Pineapple Duck Curry. (Actually, my wife could have passed up the duck. But not me!)

Fried Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Fried Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

We started with the spring-rolls and some fried tofu with a slightly spiced peanut sauce. Both were delicious. Our boys helped us quickly devour these treats. Next up, the before-mentioned Duck Curry with Brown Rice for me, and Lo Mein with Tofu and Steamed White Rice for her. With ample shares for the kids, of course.

Pineapple Duck Curry

Pineapple Duck Curry

The Duck Curry was perfect. The meat was cooked just right, with the fat having been rendered and the skin crispy. The sauce was fragrant and spicy. The pineapple balanced the spice and added a layer of sweetness. I appreciate the fact that the restaurant offers brown rice as well. I believe that the nutty flavor and wholesome texture of brown rice goes well with curries and other heavy sauces and stews.

Lo Mein with Tofu

Lo Mein with Tofu

My wife and boys enjoyed the Lo Mein with Tofu and the White Rice. It was very mild on spice, but well-balanced with soy and stir-fried vegetables. Of course I had to have my share. I also topped the meal off well with a chilled glass of rich plum wine.

The service was prompt and friendly, the place was clean and welcoming. We had plenty of leftovers to take home for a second meal, and the prices are very moderate. Dinner entrees are around $12 and appetizers range from $5 to $8. A definite bargain for the hungry family. I am glad I was wrong in my initial assessment that Thai Kitchen would be nothing special.

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The interior of Thai Kitchen

http://thaikitchen-stpeters.com/index.htm