Asean opens in Columbia

Table Talk

November 19, 1998|By Elizabeth Large

The new Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro in Columbia has everything going for it but its name. I give the owners a year before they get sick of seeing it misspelled and hearing it mispronounced and change it to Asian Bistro. (You pronounce it AH-see-an, by the way.)

Wong is the founder of the well-regarded Hunan Manor in Columbia; he's still involved with it in a small way. His new restaurant at 8775 Centre Park Drive, Columbia Palace 9, has an executive chef from Mr. K's in Washington, Chou Chung Yen, and a menu that includes Malaysian, Sichuan and Hunan dishes.

Entree prices range from $12.95 for chicken and vegetables in plum sauce to $26 for a whole Peking duck. On Sundays there's an all-you-can eat champagne brunch.

Tex-Mex goes high class

The Austin Grill opened this week in the American Can Co. building in Canton. This is the Washington chain of upscale Tex-Mex - if that isn't an oxymoron - restaurants. The food is prepared from scratch, including 20 different salsas and sauces made daily from more than a dozen fresh and dried chilies. Not for the faint of heart.

Signature dishes include wood-grilled fajitas, grilled pork loin with Oaxacan mole sauce, shrimp tacos and that classic Mexican specialty, Ibarra chocolate brownies with ice cream.

The hot wines

Just as I've started to see more viogniers on restaurant wine lists, I notice that this month's In Style magazine lists them as the hot white wine (as opposed to oaky chardonnays). Viogniers, for those not familiar with them, are often described as "fruity" or "flowery" and should be drunk young. Also in are "old vine" (red) zinfandel, Santa Barbara pinot noir, Australian reds and under- $10 merlots.

I don't know where they get this stuff, but also hot is "food and wine experimentation" as opposed to "food-wine pairing rules." So go ahead, have that Santa Barbara pinot noir with your stuffed sole and don't let your waiter talk you out of it.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278; fax to 410-752-6049; or e-mail to elizabeth.largaltsun.com.

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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