Friday, March 5, 2010

Naisa- Lunch

I am getting on a roll these days getting out to some new lunch places. The other day hubby and I headed out to Naisa, a place that has been on the list for awhile. Hubby told me he would go anywhere so I trucked him off to Fountain Square.

Other than the giant snow bank along the curb to negotiate (not really their fault), we had no problem getting in for lunch. The place had only a couple of tables full when we got there, although people came in fairly regularly the entire time we were there, and several picked up carry out.

I was a little surprised by the menu, in that is was very classic Chinese dishes. For some reason, I sort of expected it to be a little less traditional based on what I had heard. You’ll see all the classics--- things like chow mein, General Tso’s chicken, sweet and sour pork and chicken, and even moo goo gai pan. I haven’t seen that on a menu in ages. Maybe the dinner menu is more extensive, but the dishes for lunch were pretty old school. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just not what I was expecting.

Each lunch item comes with a choice of soup (egg drop, hot and sour, or wonton) and a little seafood puff. You also get your choice of steamed or fried rice. I asked our server which soup she preferred and she said the hot and sour (which I do like) but then told me about their wonton soup and the fact that their wontons were made smaller so they are actually more bite-sized. That sold me on it, because while I generally like wonton soup, I often don’t order it for that reason---who wants to try and cut a wonton in half? The soup itself was very light and the wontons were smaller (there were three of them) and obviously quite fresh. However, it lacked much flavor. I think I would go with the hot and sour next time.

For my entrée, I ordered the garlic chile chicken which was sliced white meat chicken with broccoli, celery, baby corn, hot chile peppers, snow peas and bell peppers and in a thick slightly garlic-y sauce. The menu listed it as hot and spicy and I am happy to say that it actually was. I drank quite a bit more with my lunch than usual. It had quite a little kick. And I loved that the veggies were actually cooked a bit—so often the broccoli in Chinese dishes is so raw it is just too hard (and often too large) to eat. This broccoli was actually cooked to where it was still crisp, but also tender. The chicken was plentiful and balanced by an appropriate amount of veggies. The little seafood puff was more cream cheese than seafood, as they usually are, but was obviously freshly fried and super crispy. A great deal for lunch.

Hubby substituted an egg roll (they have spring rolls and egg rolls-the spring rolls are veggie, the egg rolls contain pork and are larger with a thicker shell) for his soup. He was impressed with it and said it was probably the best egg roll he has had. It was clearly freshly fried (can you say burn your mouth hot?) and had two layers of the flour wrapper—the outer one was fried super crispy, but there was an interior layer that added a nice chewiness to it that was tasty and different. I also liked that when you took a bite, long strings of the cabbage didn’t come dangling out. They must have chopped the veggies more and I appreciate things like this.

He had the General Tso’s chicken which is dark meat battered and deep fried and served with hot chiles as well. This is your classic General Tso’s, with the slightly reddish spicy yet slightly sweet thick sauce. He thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a bite and it had a nice bit of spiciness to it as well. He ordered the fried rice (I had steamed) and while it was quite dark in color, it didn’t really seem to have a lot of flavor to it really.

All in all, this is a great little Chinese restaurant from what I can tell. The ingredients seem super fresh and the food is clearly being made to order. We both proclaimed that if it was in our neighborhood, it would certainly be on our regular rotation for carry out. And hey, if you have been for dinner, let me know what you thought.

Naisa Café
1025 Virginia Ave
Indy 46203


  1. Good write up:) I've been looking for a new Chinese restaurant and heard a lot of good things about Naisa. It's a drive for me-- but for good Chinese food- I'll go the distance. Nice pics.

  2. I LOVE Naisa! We have take-out for lunch at work sometimes, and it's wonderful. I've been there for dinner before and their dinner menu is much more extensive. Everything is always very fresh and hot. I've never been disappointed. I just wish they were open on Sundays.

  3. Naisa is excellent!

    Two great things worth mentioning:

    1. they deliver if your order is over $15 (it is one of the few non-pizza, and non-Jimmy John's places that delivers); and

    2. in the event it is busy and you need to go elsewhere, you can always run to Siam Square, my pick for the best Thai in the city.

    Great review.

  4. Hi,

    I'm late to the party here but I just found out about your blog. I'm excited to see so many reviews of places here in town!

    Anyway, I've been to Naisa several times, and their dinner menu is much more extensive than the lunch menu - it's worth making your way there for the evening meal.

  5. I find it an OK place, but not the "most wonderful & authentic chinese" food many others - on other websites, especially - have said about it. (I'm Chinese) The food may be fresh, but that's just one component.

  6. huiray: would love to know your faves in Indy.

  7. Ate at Naisa for dinner, and I really enjoyed it. The Spicy Basil Curry dish was really unique and addictive - delicious! We also tried the Triple Greens in Garlic Chile sauce. It was just green beans, broccoli, and celery, but the sauce made it especially yummy. We unfortunately had no room in our bellies left for the Cinnamon Sugar Puffs with Honey Ginger Dipping Sauce, but we drooled over those ordered by the table nearby. Can't wait to go back!