Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Naisa -- Revisit

Recently I stopped into Naisa for a follow up lunch. I couldn’t believe how long it had been since my last visit.  I hadn’t been to Fountain Square in awhile, and I really like this part of the City.  Recently, I have also been reading articles about Fountain Square’s struggles with the construction in the area and I wanted to make sure to support the area.  Indy has a lot of really great restaurants in this area and I would hate to see any of them lost because of the hassle of the parking and traffic in the area.  Getting over there was a bit of a challenge because at the time, there were several roads closed into Fountain Square (which look like they have since re-opened), and you just have to plan on parking off the main streets, but if you go in knowing that, it isn’t a really big deal to just park on a side street.  Wow, though, you had to feel for Naisa, they don’t even have a sidewalk in front right now, just a bunch of crushed gravel right up to the door.  But once I was in, I was happy to see that pretty much every table was full. I also saw a lot of people coming and going in Siam Square across the street. These are two of my favorite Fountain Square places so I was glad they seemed to be doing okay.
Anyway, I wanted to get something different than I got the first time we were there, so I started with the hot and sour soup this time.  I quite enjoyed it. It was your traditional hot and sour soup with lots of stuff in it—bits of egg, tofu, and bamboo shoots.  The broth was a little thicker than is my personal preference, but I thought it was good. It wasn’t super spicy (some I have had other places gets me in the back of the throat) but it had a nice peppery flavor.  I also always like the little fried wontons on the side to throw in and add a little crunch.
For my entrée, I tried the chicken with garden veggies.  It was all white meat chicken pieces sautéed with lots of different veggies—broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, cabbage and carrots.  On both my visits, I found the chicken to be well cooked—nice and tender.  The veggies were nice—still crisp and fresh, but still cooked enough that you don’t just feel like they are raw.  The soy-based sauce was pleasant, although I can’t say the dish overall had a ton of flavor.  There was a little seafood fried wonton on the side.  It wasn’t overly cream cheesy, and was a nice variation of flavor.  These in general don’t tend to be my favorite thing but I enjoy one or two with a dish.  The meal for lunch (including the soup) is around $7.50 (sorry I lost my receipt).
Overall, this is a place I enjoy. I don’t find it amazing, but compared to a lot of casual Chinese lunch places, the food is much fresher.  It tastes like they are making an effort in the kitchen to put out high quality, fresh dishes. If I was downtown a lot, I would probably frequent this place.  But now that I think about it, are there other good Chinese places for lunch downtown? I am down there about once a week for lunch, and I would be curious to know if you can recommend other downtown Chinese places.
1025 Virginia Avenue
Indy 46203

Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. I think good chinese is in short supply around here. I work downtown and there is nothing within walking distance of my office (govt center). I love good hot and sour soup, but haven't found anything that rivals what I used to get in college in PA. Sadly, PF Chang's is about as close as it gets and it pales in comparison. The problems I have with hot and sour are that they are too often pale and too viscous. I hate hot and sour that tastes like it has tea in it or where the heat seems to come only from ground black pepper. I'm looking for a reddish soup that is thick but does not have a texture like snot.

  2. Hi Erin! Great post! Thought we'd share our dining discounts page with you - might be helpful in your tasty food adventures!

  3. Andrea, I agree, it is a fine line with hot and sour soup. My favorite is probably at Sesame Chinese, although it is not downtown. And PF Chang's should be called sweet and sour, there is no heat there as far as I can tell. And I hate it when it is snotty too.