St Louis -- Asiana Chinese Garden
Tonight the spouse and I went on another exploratory trip down Olive Boulevard. We decided to try Asiana Chinese Garden, which seems to occupy a former fast-food restaurant building. The parking lot seemed full, a good sign, though once we went inside we discovered that it wasn't crowded at all. On the other hand, almost all of the other customers appeared to be Chinese families (many with young children in tow), which we took as another positive indicator.
The menu listed a variety of unusual dishes, and it was divided not only (as is usual) by the headings "Seafood" and "Chicken," etc. but also by regional dishes: "Hong Kong Dishes", "Beijing Specialties" and "Cantonese Specialties."
We started with two vegetable appetizers: a spicy cabbage salad and a three-vegetable combination salad. The spicy cabbage seemed to be slivered chinese cabbage with grated red pepper, all bathed in a moderately spicy dressing. The three vegetables were cucumber, cabbage, and enoki mushrooms in a light but almost smoky-tasting dressing.
I asked about one of the Cantonese entrees, a pork stew, and was told by the waitress: "That's just fat. Fat and skin." Clearly not one of her favorites. On the other hand, when I asked about the Cantonese ribs, she added that she liked those quite a bit, and she turned out to have good taste. The ribs were short ribs, braised until they were falling off the bone, and then doused with a sauce very nearly like oyster sauce, but milder. We also ordered a Beijing-style fish dish, which appeared as little chunks of chopped fish, fried with red pepper, and a nearly equal number of whole garlic cloves (!), along with some chunks of green pepper. The fish was perfectly cooked: tender and moist and coated with a nice gloss of moderately spicy sauce.
All together, this small feast cost us $30. We will definitely be going back.
7930 Olive Blvd
University City, MO 63130