According to Asian beliefs these( above) are the basic elements that govern everything, even their cooking, for health and long life. Some are more obvious when it comes to selecting a meal than others but all can be included, one way or another. I give you this preface as several of our meals out, during the past week, have been at Asian restaurants. See if you can find the elements.
"Pho Long Thong"(Vietnamese) Findlay Market, 114 W Elder, 45202 (513) 257-7014 opened about 2 months ago. I had walked past, when shopping, but had to find the right "adventurous" person to join for a first experience. Wednesday, mission accomplished, and I'm glad it was.
The restaurant, stand alone, not in the main market building, is small, clean and bright. There seem to be about 8/10 tables and a stand up area where people wait for "carry out". The staff is very friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable, which helped. There are a couple of starters, two salads and several sandwiches and wraps. Most people, we included, tend to order the noodle dishes, in our case the Pho( hot Vietnamese traditional rice noodle soup) but there are also two cold noodle dishes.
We started by splitting an order of spring roles, served very hot, crisp and filled with pork, mushrooms, carrots and glass noodles. As mention we each had a bowl of Pho, which comes either small($5), medium($6.50) or large($8), the latter can serve as a hot tub. We chose the small, which for us was plenty, although younger guest seemed to go with the medium. There are 4 choices of meat: beef( the most popular) , chicken, pork and tripe. My friend had the chicken and I the tripe.
The broth is poured over the thinly sliced meat and is hot enough to cook or sear that ingredient. The soup is pungent, flavorful and keeps the bowl full of noodles, herbs and spices tasty and warm through out the meal. It was great and I am sure we will both return. If there is any down side it is a need for a better air circulating system but that will be fixed, don't stay away.
Back to "Bombay Brazier" 7791 Cooper Rd 45242 (513) 794-0000, our new Indian hang out in the "burbs". Four of us enjoyed a wonderful dinner based on each of our individual suggestions to Rip and Gee, the delightful owners. We again ate in the "wine room" which is quiet, attractive and a great place to relax and visit. Our four selections were: "Chicken Mango", grilled chicken breasts sliced and cooked with sweet Mango in a slightly thicken sauce; Lamb Tiki Marsala, grilled chunks of tender lamb is a generous sauce with a tomato and cream base( I think) seasoned with Marsala wine and various spices, great over rice; Tandoori Prawns, large shrimp baked in a tandoori oven and seasoned with onion, tomato's and peppers and our unusual creamed spiced spinach with mushrooms. All items can be ordered with the amount of spicy "heat" desired. Accompanying were two Nan's, one onion and the other garlic and bottles of a wonderful French beer, "Foster Amber". We never leave empty and often with a carry out box for lunch the next day. The people, food and brew are all great.
The third ethnic was our friends the Wong's', "Oriental Wok" at the Regency( Hyde Park). We are spoiled, there, by Guy Burgess the chef and Susannah Wong, his wife and co-manager.
Guy had fixed a couple of special dishes, a hot, hearty Oxtail soup, not your usual Asian first course, but terrific on a sub zero evening. The broth had an excellent beef flavor and the oxtail was cooked perfectly. Next came a most interesting Duck Con fit Salad. A coarsely cut cabbage slaw and pieces of roasted duck leg both slightly marinated and served, interestingly, on a divided crisp puff pastry, something really new and delicious.
There were four of us, all either had our own helping or we split orders, which is what we did with the last two additions,"Laughing Bird Shrimp"( I believe from Argentina) which Guy dragged lightly through corn starch and flashed fried in a wok with an extremely light seasoning and one full order of roasted Bar-B-Qued pork on a bed of bean sprouts and mushrooms.
Ed, can you blame us from going often.
Topping off this ethnic week was lunch at "Oakley Pub and Grill" 3924 Isabella Ave 45209 (513) 531-2500 where I almost always eat the grilled Grouper sandwich with the crispy cold slaw. The Grouper which is one of the better around town comes on marbled rye. I have tried to buy the rye in stores but have just recently learned that it only sold to restaurants, Oakley, here I come with wallet in hand.