Dining by Delorean: Asia
|User "Grenex," Wikimedia Commons|
It's fitting that I'm visiting Lumière Place for this inaugural installment of Dining by Delorean. Casinos operate outside the usual space-time continuum. Is it morning, afternoon or night? Today, a week or a year from now?
Exactly a year has passed since I reviewed Asia, Lumière Place's Japanese-Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant, but as I settle into my seat, the bleep-bleep-bloop of electronic slot machines barely audible above the casino's cranked sound system, it feels as if I were last here only yesterday...
I wasn't impressed with Asia:
Like many Chinese (or Vietnamese or Thai) restaurants, Asia offers too many dishes for a critic to undertake a truly representative survey. Still, I can report that nearly everything I tried was rather timid in flavor, and a few items were downright bland.Are there any signs of improvement?
Today I start with the Vietnamese egg rolls, which are plump with ground pork but taste of too many seconds submerged in hot oil. My main course is the grilled lemongrass beef -- a house specialty, according to the menu -- very thin slices of beef garnished with chopped peanuts and scallions sit atop vermicelli noodles pressed into a broad, flat ovoid; on the side is a dish of nuoc cham, the traditional dipping sauce of fish sauce, garlic and chiles.
The beef is chewy and tastes mostly of grill char. The nuoc cham adds a sweet, spicy note, but that's not enough to overcome the bluntly flavored beef. The pressed vermicelli, the texture like a cross between noodles and Jell-O, absorb enough of the nuoc cham to be tasty, if simply so, on its own.
The check comes with a fortune cookie: "You have a friendly heart and are much admired." I shake my head: Once again, Asia misses the mark.