Monday, March 9, 2009

Where Not to Eat :: Asian Bistro

I don't often make negative references to places that I've been, but something stuck out the other night when I was eating dinner. My boy and I had decided to go out for a dinner date, and we chose Asian Bistro (121 Connor Way, Williston, VT) since we had been wanting to try it out.

Our dinner started out with mixed shrimp and vegetable tempura for $6 (since we are both nuts about tempura). The batter was nicely done and in general, the appetizer portion of the meal was pretty delicious. However, after tasting the rest of the meal, I was a bit mad about the tempura, as it had given us false hope.

I opted for one of the chef's specialties: Crispy Scallops ($13.50). The menu described it as "
scallops with honey glazed walnuts in a crispy crepe w/ spicy onion sauce on the side," but that's not quite what I got. First of all, I think "crispy crepe" is referring to the batter, which was quite raw-tasting and didn't have a hint of salt nor pepper. The spicy onion sauce consisted of about 1.5 cups of sickly-sweet but slightly odd-tasting teriyaki sauce. The scallops did not taste fresh and had an unappetizing mouth feel. After talking with friends and doing a little research, I'm guessing they weren't "scallops" in the first place, but rather some off-tasting shark meat cut into scallop-sized pieces. The honey glazed walnuts were a huge disconnect, and just thrown on top of the "scallops", which were in a greasy taco-salad-type fried tortilla bowl.

My boy also (unfortunately) chose a chef's specialty called Chicken with Honey Walnut ($11.50). It was described as "chicken crisp-sauteed in a tangy white cream sauce and topped with honeyeyed walnuts". Firstly, it was fried, not sauteed, and the batter tasted exactly like every other cheap Chinese restaurant's sweet & sour chicken. This batter was seasoned and without the sauce, the chicken wasn't bad. However, this "cream sauce" was clearly nowhere near cream at any point in it's short life. In the first bite, I was overwhelmed by the taste of mayonaise and my boy pointed out that it also tasted quite a bit like mustard. I don't know what else was in the sauce, but one bite was more than what I needed. Again, there were walnuts on the plate, which made no sense. Maybe they would have been alright with a cream sauce, but there was no cream sauce to be found.

After all, I would rate this meal "pretty terrible". It would have been "awful" were it not for the tempura. And, oddly enough, the honeyed (or "honeyeyed") walnuts, though disconnected from the rest of both plates, were the only enjoyable things on them. However, there are not enough walnuts in the world to make this $40 meal worth it.

As I said before, I don't often write about negative food experiences in detail, but today I spoke with a number of people that had similar experiences. One person visited the restaurant the same night that I did and had both bad food and a rude waitperson. Another person mentioned that they had only eaten there once and would not eat there again, due to the food-borne illness that resulted.

All in all, I will never set food in this establishment again, nor their Winooski location. It ranks in my top five worst Asian food experiences. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone, friend or foe. Save your money (and your stomach) and go somewhere else.

1 comment:

Dippy said...

I agree Asian Bistro is in my top 3 worst meals in VT. We ate there yesterday for lunch after lots of rave reviews from friends about the eggplant and garlic chicken. So that was on our menu plus sesame beef and the tempura for a starter. I would normally forgive slow service in an empty restaurant if the food is good but it was a hideous experience. The tempura was OK, but nowhere near good. The miso soup tasted like dishwater, and the egg drop soup tasted like vegetable oil with bits of unmentionable white stuff. The eggplant and garlic chicken was some kind of sweet nasty concoction with no sign of garlic ever being near it and the sesame beef should have come with a side order of insulin. I swear it tasted like it has been dipped in molasses and deep fried. HORRIBLE! And the rice was cold and undercooked. Just a nasty experience and we wished we had gone to Naru like we always do for lunch.

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