With the exception of Thai cuisine, we’ve been unable to find really good Asian or Chinese food in eastern Tennessee. Consequently, it’s one of the dining experiences that we search for when we travel.
Cafe Asia is rated #7 in Trip Advisor out of the 300+ restaurants located in the area in and around Roanoke Virginia. It was our second night in town and we made the drive out into the northeastern suburbs to find this restaurant. It was rated 173:4, very good and excellent vs. poor or terrible.
The décor of Café Asia is modern and clean with minimal old fashioned Asian decoration or influences… Where we were seated the wood and metal arch above us as well as the colors provided a warm but modern feel to the room.
I started my meal with a Heineken ($3.00), and Laurie decided to try a Tequila Sunrise. ($5.50) She hadn’t had one before and wasn’t sure about Tequila but she liked the drink even if it didn’t make her favorite list.
Laurie has always been a fan of Summer Rolls. ($6.25) These consist of shrimp, lettuce, bean sprouts, rice noodles and mint leaves wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut sauce. They are refreshing but I prefer something with more of a flavor pop. Laurie was quite satisfied with this version…
Since it was our anniversary trip…and it was a present to ourselves…we went ‘wild’ and ordered a second appetizer. The Café Asia version of Fried Calamari ($9.25), was described as lightly breaded and sautéed with Chinese 5 spices…accompanied by dipping sauce on the side.
The breading wasn’t particularly ‘light’ but it was different. We thought that this appetizer was a little bland…even with the dipping sauce, but the breading was a different twist on a standard menu item. Overall, it was satisfactory.
As it was our anniversary and Laurie loves lobster, she ordered the Feng Style Lobster as her entree. ($30.45) This is described as lightly breaded lobster pieces sautéed with ginger and scallion with cilantro on top. She also asked for a bit of ‘extra heat’ with the preparation.
First of all the picture on the menu doesn’t resemble her meal as served. Where did all of the sweet peppers come from? Secondly, the lobster ‘pieces’ were still in their shells and they were difficult to remove them so she could eat her dinner. Finally, there was absolutely no extra spicy ‘heat’ that was detectable… She didn't waste any lobster though!
Rice was nicely served in these pretty little bowls…
Our waiter showed moments of superior service only to get lost from time to time in whatever thoughts or tasks that he was involved in. He was nice but he needed to stay focused more on his customers instead of the hostess.
This attractive plate of food was my entrée. It’s the Four Treasures. ($15.25) This entrée consisted of chicken, shrimp, beef, and scallops sautéed in garlic sauce surrounded by broccoli. It is normally served as a ‘one pepper’ dish, denoting the level of spicy heat that the chef adds to the sauce. I asked for a ‘four pepper’ treatment!
To start with, I expect lightly cooked broccoli with Chinese food and I like it that way. My broccoli was barely cooked and it was a bit tougher than usual to eat. Secondly, to paraphrase an old advertising slogan, “Where’s the sauce?!” There was almost no sauce to enjoy with my rice or broccoli. The other problems related to minimal garlic in the little bit of sauce that I had and I had to ask for pepper sauce to achieve any level of ‘heat’ for my entrée.
We were disappointed with Café Asia. In our opinion it just didn’t live up to its rating on Trip Advisor. Presentation was above average but the food didn’t achieve an above average rating from our viewpoint… Café Asia is located at 3940 Valley Gateway Boulevard (Alt. US Hwy. 220) in Roanoke Virginia. Phone: 540-206-2298. Website: http://cafeasiaroanoke.com/.
Following dinner, we headed on down the highway toward our hotel. Laurie took this photo at 60 mph of this sunset! It was a promise for a beautiful day for our trip back home to East Tennessee…
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for dinner!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave