Monday, February 14, 2011

Asian Grill

My sister is a Groupon addict and often buys Groupons for random restaurants all around the city, which works out well for me, because she tries places all over and when she finds one she really likes, she lets me know.  This is how we ended up at Asian Grill.  They went and liked it and then we all went together (and several of you guys had recommended it as well).  So, the first thing I noticed is that I think this may be one of maybe two or three restaurants in Indy I have been to that had a significant wait at 6:00.  Luckily we had made a reservation, so we didn’t have to wait the hour that many were waiting for a table (we did have to wait about 10-15 minutes past our reservation time).  Seriously, this place was heaving.  That always kind of gets me excited, because when you see so many people, you figure something must be good right?
So this is another of the restaurants that calls itself “pan-Asian” so it can incorporate various influences from various cuisines. They offer dishes that are Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian and Cambodian.  This seems to be a popular thing right now, and if it is being done well, it is sort of nice to have lots of different things to choose from.
We sat down at our table (which was unfortunately very close to the door which was opening quite frequently and which made for a very chilly spot--a curtain in front of the door might be nice) but we were just happy that we had a table!  We started with some apps—the crab wontons, the vegetable samosas, and the Thai beef salad.
My favorite of the apps was the samosas ($4.75).  There were two decent sized fried patties filled with seasoned potatoes (Indian spices) and some mixed veggies.  They were very hot and crispy and served with extremely fresh tasting cilantro chutney.  These are the kind of Indian flavors I like—especially the bright cilantro dip on top.  The crab wontons ($5.95) were a little different from most I had though because they were large triangles of wontons that were deep fried.  They were exceptionally hot when they came out of the kitchen.  Hubby likes these and was happy to have someone to agree to share them with him, since I usually refuse because they aren’t my favorite thing to order.  They were served with a thin, sweet sauce.  For crab wontons, they were good and hubby quite enjoyed them.
Crab Wontons

My least favorite thing was the Thai beef salad ($5.50) which I normally really like, but not in this case.  It is a cold beef salad, and the beef was actually tasty and tender, but the vegetables it was served with were pretty much all raw red and green pepper chunks, which are not my favorite thing to eat by the forkful.  In the past, I have had this served with lettuce and pickled red onions which I preferred.  It is described on the menu as being in red wine vinaigrette, but it seemed a bit sweeter than that to me.
Thai Beef Salad

We got three entrées and shared them.  They are really good sized, and in my opinion you could share one between 2 people.  Anyway, we had the Lok Lak Beef, the Orange Chicken, and Red Pepper Shrimp.  Actually, the main dishes were all good.  The Lok Lak Beef ($14.25) is Cambodian in origin and was large chunks of sirloin that were sautéed.  The edges were slightly crispy from what was probably caramelization of the marinade when the pieces of beef were sautéed.  It was served over sliced onions and with a side of cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes.  The beef was really tender, and had a nice flavor of garlic that combined with the onions was really good.  This is a Cambodian variation of the Vietnamese Shaking Beef (speaking of which, I ran across the recipe online for the Slanted Door’s version—which was one of my favorites in San Francisco. Thought I would share here.) Anyway, I would certainly order this again.
Lok Lak Beef

My brother-in-law ordered the orange chicken ($12.50), which is something I never would have ordered on my own, because if just sounds too sweet, but this dish was quite good, and wasn’t as sweet as I would have thought.  It is described as having an orange pulp infused sauce—and while it was somewhat sweet, it did maintain a bit of the tangy flavor of the orange as well.  The pieces of chicken were white meat and were lightly battered and fried and pleasantly tender.
Red Pepper Shrimp
The pepper shrimp were also good ($14.50), although a little dry (as in, without sauce).  They were even more lightly breaded than the chicken and sort of dry fried and served with toasty peanuts, green onions, and red chilies.  The shrimp were a nice size and were cooked very well and were seasoned with black pepper.  All the dishes came with three types of rice—white rice, fried rice and seasoned Indian-style rice.  They were all good—the rice was a bit sticky, which is how I prefer it.
I have read some complaints about service, and I have to say, other than waiting past our reservation time to be seated, I was surprised with how good the service was.  They were certainly very busy, but we did not wait long for anything once we were seated.  We all really enjoyed the experience and I would say we will certainly be back.  I know some of you will say, how “authentic” is any of it?  But honestly, who am I to say what is authentic or not, when I have never been to Asia?  Much of it tasted good, and that is what I go by.
Asian Grill
74 North 9th Street
Noblesville, IN 46060
317/773-9990


Asian Grill on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

  1. We walked by this place the other night on our way to our Valentines Day dinner. The girlfriend and I were talking about how we definitely needed to try that place. Good to know that it sounds like it is worth a visit.

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  2. This place is a favorite of my wife and I. Two things that need to be sampled when you are there are the pickled vegetables and the wings appetizer. The wings come covered in a spicy peanut sauce and are always perfectly crispy. I always order extra pickled vegetables as well. The vegetables consist of carrot, cucumber and Daikon radish and just totally rock my world.

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  3. Thanks for coming by and trying out our restaurant. A friend is an avid reader of yours and just let me know that you posted this. We are a little out of the way for most of the local reviewers and really appreciate it whenever we're able to get a little exposure since we're such a small, independent type place. Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you next time you visit.

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  4. Brent- you should definitely give it a try. Would be interested to hear some other people's thoughts.

    Natec: thanks for the tip, will put them on my list for the next time. Actually we did have some of the pickled veggies on our plates, quite good.

    Tyler- thanks for commenting! We enjoyed our dinner and will definitely be back again. If you were closer to me, you would probably go into our regular carry out rotation as well!

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  5. We will try it soon..and then I'll eventually get around to writing about it hehe. Also, thanks for adding me to your blogroll :)

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  6. Jessica in NoblesvilleFebruary 15, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    I'm heartened to see favorable reviews. I live nearby and love most of the locally-owned establishments that are sprinkled around Noblesville. However, one really bad experience a few years ago at the Asian Grill has kept me from returning. From what I remember, the food was decent, but the service was the worst we'd ever had at a sit-down restaurant. Perhaps my husband and I will give it another try ... I'll see if I can talk him into it. I'm willing to be cautiously optimistic and give them another try.

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  7. I have started buying the Groupons too, a good way to try some new places. I enjoyed my two trips to Asian Grill and really liked the Thai Beef Salad. I look forward to returning for dinner again, even without the coupon.

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  8. Glad to see you enjoyed- I posted a blog after our experience and it sounds like we both enjoyed it! And we didn't order the same, so I'm excited to see there are more great items on the menu.

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  9. I had to make a run to Noblesville after work today and never really ventured up there so I checked out your lists for NVille restaurants and picked Asian Grill. Its too bad this place isn't closer because I liked it quite a bit. Had the crab wontons, and for the size of the wrapper I expected more filling but the sauce was good. Their mushroom soup is awesome, just awesome. I ordered more to go. It was really lightly creamed based with really tender shredded chicken and all sorts of chopped mushroom, basil on top. Got the shang hai noodles which I could barely eat any of just because I was full but the flavor was good, veggies were fresh and the chicken was very tender. But its the soup I am going to keep thinking about.

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  10. My wife and I live in Noblesville and have eaten take-out/delivery from Asian Grill a few times. Up until this last time, my favorite items were the lettuce wraps and the black pepper chicken. This time both my wife and I really liked the fried rice (ours had chicken) but especially the hot and sour soup. The texture may have been a little thinner than some, but there was plenty of vinegar and pepper punch. I believe it also has tofu, bamboo shoots, and black mushroom in it. I have been craving it ever since. With a previous commenter loving the mushroom soup, it sounds like they are on their soup game :). Erin, I've seen quite a few reviews when you've gotten hot and sour soup, I'm curious to hear your opinion if you get a chance!

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Thanks, Erin