Blue Asia Allston Rocks!
Hit this place again last night with a chow buddy and the food absolutely rocked.
There was a previous thread on this place here, but I had to start a new one as this place is really noteworthy: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683183
We had the chicken ginseng soup which was delicate and amazing. Perfect dish to brave the fierce blizzard of 2010 ;-).
Also had the fried chicken plate. The fry job was a 10+, spot on perfect, and the HUGE chicken breast had definitely been marinated in something delicious prior to frying. Also had the Fried Chinese Red Wine Pork Belly over rice which was just awesome.
Both dishes were topped with a fluffy beautiful fried egg and came with braised winter melon and pork-sauce rice. The plates were HUGE, the food was sublime, a delicate touch on every single dish.
This place is an amazing new addition to what is already the best food neighborhood in Boston.
The owner said that they are Taiwanese and had previously run a restaurant in Quincy but that the city was knocking the building down at their old location. They said that because they did not want to compete directly with Jo Jo Taipei they decided to go with a more casual comfort food type menu. The owner's mom was in the kitchen and I have to say, that woman can cook. My personal criteria for a chow-worthy place is "can I figure out how the chef made this dish?" and in every single case I could not. This woman is a master, cooking modest homey Taiwanese food with the precision approaching a Michelin chef.
I keep flashing back to the delicate precision of the ginseng chicken soup, perfectly clear broth, just the right amount of ginseng bite, a few shreds of carrot, just right.
If they can keep the quality at the current price points this place is probably the best value for serious quality in Boston period. Even keeping price completely out of the equation this place is amongst the top restos in Boston. The food is just darned good!
They just opened a month ago, but my guess is that it won't take to long for word to get out about how good this place is.
The decor is sort of nouveau Asian hip with funky plastic chairs and colorful walls. You order and pay at the cash register and then they bring the food to your table. The vibe is sort of cool Manga cafeteria. In fact in my imagination I could almost see a few manga characters sitting down to a pork cutlet and oohing and aaahing about the food...
As the owners have a lot of experience in the biz I think they have the chops to deliver the goods long term. They said some of their old customers were already making the treck to Allston to hit up their new digs.
All in all, a wonderful addition to Allston, the food mecca.
Help I'm stuck in a rut. Just got back from Blue Asia again.
Had the Spicy Beef Soup with Dumplings. Holey Cow, I won't need to eat again til the weekend. I asked the lady at the counter whether to get the Spicy Beef Noodle, or Dumpling soup. She said they are the same soup but the dumpling version is better cause the dumplings were home made. She was right.
Same cut of meat that Shangri-La uses in the twice cooked beef. I swear at least 10 ounces of it. Greens, some pickled veg in a little dish on the side, and AMAZING delicate hand made dumplings, lots of them, big, homey, yummy with a delicate wrapper and a delicate filling. Helluva meal.
I too am terribly suggestible so a chowbuddy and I hit up Blue Asia on Saturday before the wine tasting at the Brookline wine store.
We basically went with the herd, ordering the chicken cutlet rice plate, the red wine pork belly (appetizer not over rice) and the beef and scallion pancake app. My friend also got hot salty soy milk, ick.
The cutlet was rave-worthy .. really delicious and juicy and definitely brined. But I loved the pork belly ... a picture of which is below. Delicate lil chunks of pork with a slightly spicy dipping sauce. Mmmmmm....
I'm intrigued by much more on the menu, including the noodle soups and the wacky sounding "rice roll creations". Super friendly crew, and cheap. I'll be back.
I enjoyed it a lot too - the fried chicken dish was definitely the high point for me. It came with really excellent rice - perfectly cooked grains with just the right amount of stick-togetherness. Rather boring florets of broccoli and some decent tofu chunks alongside, as well as a fried egg. But the chicken itself was fantastic.
I liked the pork belly as well, although some pieces came with a bit of rind that was a little too chewy for my taste. I'd certainly try it again, though.
The beef with scallions and hoisin in sesame wrapper was my other favorite - a bit sweet from the hoisin which was to my taste but not yumyum's. Very tender beef - I'd guess that it was the same as the "cold cut stewed beef brisket" which is always one of my favorites in Taiwanese places.
I actually had the hot *sweet* soy milk, which was warming after walking around Allston - I enjoyed it but I wouldn't call it a must-have.
Overall an excellent place with (as everyone has noted) a very nice staff. Lots of Korean items in the rice plate/bento section of the menu - can these be good? I'm more immediately inclined to try the (Taiwanese) soups and appetizers but given the kitchen skills I am curious.
Holy cow. I would never have walked into this place if you hadn't yanked me in there last night. It fails all of my initial sniff tests - "nouveau Asian hip" with a menu all over the entire continent of Asia, wacky fusion sushi rice roll thingies, this was setting off all kinds of alarms in my head. Not to mention the fact that there are about a half-dozen other top-notch joints on the same damn block, why the hell would I want to go to the Blue Oyster Bar Asian Cafe ? There is good reason I have blind faith in the Stripes tho.
Everything is just flawlessly executed, with great attention to detail, despite the total simplicity of cuisine. I don't know if they brine the bird or what, but it's a seriously perfect 10 out of 10 fried chicken cutlet if I've ever seen one. Hot and salty and crispy and juicy. Same goes for the pork belly which I could've eaten a couple of pounds of. It's all in the little details, perfectly fried perimeter of egg with light and fluffy whites, a delicately clean chicken broth to make the heart sing, this mama has serious chops in the kitchen. They have no reason to be slinging stoner food to college kids at this level. First two words out of my mouth this morning were "rice plate". Good likelihood I'll be darkening their door again tonight. Thanks for opening my eyes to this, Striper.