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Sep 23, 2013 04:28 AM

Promising New Asian Restaurant in Rochester

Shui Asian Fusion restaurant (Main Street) opened recently and we ate there last night. In general, I have positive feelings about the place and we'll go back in spite of two issues that need work: they are understaffed and the chili tray needs more and hotter options.

Now for the positives:

o Thai hot and sour soup: The huge portion was brought to the table steaming hot. The two huge shrimp in each portion were properly cooked and the spice level of the soup was excellent -- assertive enough without being painful. Big hit!

o Beef with Ginger and Scallions: This is the first dish on the entrée menu. Thai food is all about the balance of hot and sweet and salty and sour. Too many places go overboard with their sweetness but Shui got it right. Although it is not mentioned in the description, the dish includes generous amounts of fresh spinach, and we loved this addition. The spinach added another layer of flavor to the dish. This dish is not marked as a spicy one, but we wanted it somewhat spicy. We ordered it "Pet Nit Noy" (little spice in Thai) but it came to our table the regular way. We asked for the condiment tray expecting to doctor the food ourselves, but the tray included only chili paste and that was surprisingly tame. The condiment tray needs a fuller assortment: chili paste, dry chili flakes, chilies in vinegar, and Siracha sauce.

From the Thai Spice section of the menu, we ordered the dish with bean sprouts, onions, bells peppers, and ginger. All the dishes in that section can be prepared with vegetables only, chicken added, beef added, or shrimp added. The price varies by protein choice. We chose shrimp. As before, the shrimp were deftly cooked: still tender and moist. The flavor was excellent, but again, we felt the need to spice up the dish.

The portions are really large!

Right now, the front of the house is staffed by a personable, competent young man who takes orders and serves the food. A young woman, who does not appear to speak English, poured water but panicked I went to the bar to ask for the condiment tray and, again, when my husband asked for an extra napkin.

At the busiest time of the evening, one diner was eating at the bar, a party of two was nearing the end of their meal in the dining room, we were there, and a group of two came in and sat at a table where they were joined by two others over the next 15-20 minutes. (They also pulled together enough tables to serve ten, but we left before the whole group arrived.)

The lone waiter can keep up with bringing out the food in a timely way. Everything arrived at the table very hot, but he seemed to spend a lot of time in the kitchen between carrying dishes out. I don't know if he has additional duties there. The impact of this is that when we needed something (e.g. the condiment tray or extra napkins) there were stretches when no one was available to take our request.

Some early review on other sites have mentioned a lack of liquor. Time has taken care of that problem. I saw some tables being served beer and there were about five bottles of liquor on the bar. The beer that came to the table was definitely not a Thai brand, but I don't know whether that was the choice of the diners or simply what the restaurant has to offer.

Another early entry mentioned cash only. Time has taken care of that problem, too. Last night, we were able to use our credit card. The waiter has a phone app for doing charge purchases.

I'm writing this positive review with a bit of reluctance. I hope the place does not get overwhelmed since their staffing is barely adequate right now. On the other hand, this food is good and convenient for those of living close in so I hope the place succeeds.

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  1. I've now been to Shui Fusion a total of three times, and I want to update my review.

    I can't believe how lucky Rochester is to have such an excellent restaurant. The chef has an extra-ordinary ability to cook each protein and element in a dish to the perfect degree of doneness. The sauces are never gloppy; there's just enough sauce to lightly coat the food and everything has a freshness that is very appealing. Last night, we ate Kratieum Prik Thai (T4) with chicken and Wild Mango (T6) with shrimp. Both were delicious.

    What I wrote earlier about liquor turns out to be wrong; the restaurant is still waiting for its liquor license. I observed a one-time instance of BYOB.

    The personable server is named James and he reported that the restaurant is trying to hire an extra server for the weekends when the crowds can be overwhelming.

    I have no connection with this restaurant other than being a very satisfied customer.

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