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Tempt Asian annandale on Little River Turnpike

d
deangold May 6, 2009 10:46 PM

Not seeing anything recent...

I visited Tempt Asian on the way back from the airport after a trip to Italy. There simply is nothing spicy in Italy and we weer in need of heat. We over ordered a little and the outcome was mixed. I had never been int he Peter Chiang days and this was our first time

Spicy pressed tofu - fantastic dish with a nice cumin sugar salt spice mix reminiscent of Chiang's cooking. Could have been spicier but we did not make any spicy request

Eggplant in Sesame Sauce - the dish of the night. Steamed then pan fried eggplant with a coarse sauce of sesame paste and pounded garlic & ginger. I was licking up the remaining sauce which was served in a side bowl, a touch I really liked.

Lions Head - just OK. the meatballs were not juicy and tasted as if overly bound by either egg or cornstarch. The dish improved as it sat but not in the league with Bob's Shabu Shabu 88 or Peter Chiang

Pork with long pepper - again, seemed toned down. Very good dish but would have been better with less trimming of the hot parts of the peppers and i would have expected a bit of chili oil and seczuan peppercorn in the dish.

Talking with the waiter afte revealed that they had really toned down our dishes in fear of our not being up to the heat. Surprised me as we ordered three spicy dishes out of 4. At least I figured that might have asked. In any case, I will be back, hopefully with 6 or 8 folk and really dig into the menu. Next time I will pre order so we can get a balanced array of dishes and specify authentic levels of heat.

plus side: 3 of 4 dishes very good to excellent, other dishes we saw looked great (boiled beef and boiled fish both looked screamingly spicy and very good) and a friendly waiter who would seem to be open to showing us what they really can do.

Negative: lack of heat in what we ordered, no beer

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  1. Bill on Capitol Hill May 7, 2009 12:09 AM

    Nice to have a recent report. The place was the talk of the town a year or two ago, but the chef left suddenly and it seems that everyone stopped paying attention.

    1. d
      deangold May 7, 2009 06:28 AM

      Ohh, there was one more dish that slipped my mind in its utter forgetful nature: tiny won tons in hot sauce. The broth/hot sauce tasted of water and nothing but, the skins were thick and gummy and the filling totally flavorless. Complete surprise that the dish was so off compared to everything else we had.

      1. s
        sweth May 7, 2009 08:24 AM

        I haven't been to TemptAsian in a while, but ever since the brief Peter Chang period it's been very hit-or-miss--it seems like some of the staff simply WON'T accept that you want authentically spicy, and as a result you get something either watered down or slathered in a generic chili oil that adds a little heat but no flavor. If you can get the real stuff, though, it can be pretty good.

        1. k
          Knazna May 7, 2009 08:43 PM

          It's in Alexandria, not Annandale.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Knazna
            w
            wayne keyser May 8, 2009 09:45 AM

            True, Duke Street (actually called Little River Turnpike) just a few feet west of 495

            1. re: wayne keyser
              s
              sweth May 8, 2009 05:10 PM

              Well, if we're being picky, it's just west of 395, not 495.

              To many people I know, though, Annandale is anything along 236 in FFX County, even if the postal address is still Alexandria.

              1. re: sweth
                w
                weezycom May 9, 2009 07:47 AM

                If we're getting really picky, the switch happens at Beauregard Street intersection. East of that it's Duke Street/Alexandria, and west of that it's Annandale/Little River Turnpike.

                1. re: weezycom
                  s
                  sweth May 9, 2009 07:25 PM

                  Since we've suddenly somehow become fixated on pickiness: Alexandria City's border w/ Fairfax Co. in that area is actually a weird zigzag--it runs along Beauregard for a bit north of Lincolnia Rd, but then it turns east following Lincolnia Rd, and then cuts south just before and parallel to Breckinridge Pl, hitting Duke St right about where the on-ramp from southbound 395 hits westbound Duke; then the line goes west for a little bit along Duke, and then heads south again along the eastern edge of the Plaza at Landmark (where TemptAsian is and where 236 officially changes from Duke to Little River Tpk), as if you had extended Zircon Rd all the way to Duke St. And the area in Fairfax just west of that border w/ Alexandria is technically Lincolnia, with Annandale not beginning until Braddock Rd (south of 236) and Old Columbia Pike (north of 236).

                  Since none of this has anything to do with Chow, though, let's get the discussion back on track w/ a question: what's the best place to eat in Lincolnia (using the official Census Bureau definition above)? I'll nominate Han Sung Oak or Valentino's. (Anyone tried Saigon Citi?)

                  1. re: sweth
                    w
                    weezycom May 10, 2009 07:38 AM

                    It's been awhile, but I've eaten a couple of times at Saigon Citi. I didn't get pho, so cannot comment on that. Got a fried noodle dish with mixed seafood one time and can't remember the other. It wasn't good enough to draw me back, but wasn't bad, either. Just nothing special that I found.

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