Fri 20 Mar 2009
Ever had one of those nights when no one can quite agree on dinner? Usually this devolves into nice fighting: “Well, I’d like vegetarian but whatever you guys want” and then “Oh, well. Japanese sounds good but if you want to do something else I don’t mind.” Don’t waste precious minutes of your life on this jibba jabba – just make a reservation at Cafe Asia.
Serving up dishes of Asian-influenced food ranging from Chinese to Thai to Japanese, Cafe Asia is a neighborhood standard across the DC metro area, but I most often find myself in their Rosslyn and downtown DC locations. Walking across the threshold of both Cafe Asia locations brings you into a soaring, modern restaurant with minimalist and sleek decor. The minimalist theme ends on the walls though – portions at Cafe Asia are a good size and I’ve often walked away with a doggie bag.
If you’re feeling indulgent, check out spicy and sweet fried calamari served crisp and sized to share. Crab wontons, served in almost bite-sized pieces, are also worth a try. On healthier days , edamame served in their pods are an easy treat. My favorite appetizer are summer rolls which are wrapped in rice paper with shrimp, rice noodles and cilantro and come with a peanut dipping sauce.
Entrees run the gamut from red curry to General Tsao chicken to pad thai. Bento boxes with sushi and maki are available for delivery or in-restaurant order, served with small portions of miso soup. Order that soup as a main course and it will arrive in a bowl large enough for swimming laps. While the regular sushi menu is unimaginative, occasional gems can be found on the special rolls menu. (They come at a price though - many cost $12 or more per roll.)
Overall, Cafe Asia isn’t going to deliver culinary gems like Sushi Taro but it’s a solid bet for lunch meetings or large groups. The menu is broad enough to please just about any palate, which is why it remains a significant work lunch destination for office-bound neighbors, and large appetizer portions kick start a congenial meal.