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Asian Diner, reviewed
Asian Diner's Panang curry is a Thai dish that shares
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Date published: 9/20/2012
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Don't be fooled by the word "diner" in the name of this outstanding restaurant. What's served at Asian Diner is anything but blue-plate specials.
Asian Diner moved to its current location near Walmart and Lowe's on Southpoint Parkway in the Massaponax area of Spotsylvania County almost a year ago. Before that, chefs were dishing up its popular fare in a nearby shopping center on the other side of U.S. 1. Not surprisingly, loyal customers have followed and new ones are discovering the many tempting dishes.
The owners, from Taiwan, offer meals made with delightful flavors and textures of China, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia.
My Dining Partner and I began with an Asian Roll ($4.50), six slices of sushi roll made with salmon, avocado and cucumber. The ingredients were fresh and made for a nice combination. We continued with an appetizer of Pine Nuts Chicken ($7.95), which could easily serve as an entire meal. Our server noted that it is one of the most popular dishes and I could understand why. Finely minced chicken, onions and peppers topped with a generous amount of pine nuts is served warm in a special sauce over "bowls" of lettuce leaves. Like other dishes we sampled, this popped with individual textures and flavors.
MDP ordered tom yum soup ($4.25), an aromatic lemongrass-based broth seasoned with a hot-and-sour kick and dotted with shrimp, slices of fresh tomato andmushrooms. It, too, was excellent.
He ordered Belado ($14.95), a spicy Indonesian seafood medley of shrimp, fish cake, scallops, fat mussels and squid in a chili sauce. He was pleased that the seasoning was hot, as billed. Our server said that the spiciness of other dishes could be toned down or eliminated, but not this recipe. It packed a punch but did not burn.
I was in the mood for fish, although I was also tempted by Mango Chicken. At our server's recommendation, I chose Crispy Whole Fish ($13.95), which needed a 30-minute preparation time. We placed the order early so there was no wait. Again, the chefs outdid themselves with the presentation, flavor and texture of this delicacy from Taiwan. The meaty tilapia was served with a sweet sauce packed with tiny pieces of crisp green beans that lent such color and texture to the presentation that it could have made a perfect celebratory centerpiece for our table.
There are a number of excellent family-owned Asian restaurants in this area, and Asian Diner is among the best. It just needs to add "Gourmet" to its name, because that's clearly its reputation.
Linda Salisbury is the author of the Bailey Fish books, an award-winning adventure series for kids.
What: Asian Diner Address: 10048 Southpoint Parkway, Massaponax, across from Walmart and Lowe's Info: 540/891-2838 Asian-Diner.com Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prices:
Soups and salads: $1.95-$4.95
Children's menu: $4.95-$5.95
Beer and wine.The Scoop: Family friendly, clean, good service and excellent food. Several vegetarian
selections.Payment: Major credit cards accepted.