Sunday, January 20, 2013
Eatery - Ten Asian Bistro (CA)
4647 MacArthur Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Asian Fusion
We entered Ten Asian Bistro quite dubiously because it appeared to us to be an Asian fusion type of restaurant. Definitely spot-on. Our experience with them prior to even walking in the door wasn't all too good though as our original reservation there did not go through. Why's that you ask? They accepted a reservation on a day they were closed. We didn't realize this until we pulled up to the restaurant...to closed doors. Maybe it was my fault for booking through OpenTable but I would expect the restaurant to notify its reservation system of any closed days. ANYWAY, it looked like they tried very hard to create a lounge-y restaurant with an Asian touch. In other words, it came off a tad over the top. Nevertheless, good general vibes but perhaps an off night for the rest of the experience.
So what is the consequence of focusing on ambiance at your restaurant? Something has to fall through the cracks, even if just a little. We found that the food was below our expectations even though we already had an idea of what Asian fusion cuisine would be like compared to traditional Asian cuisine. We had their ahi poke, the shishito pepper calamari, and the popcorn lobster as our starters. They were pretty below par. The ahi had definitely been cut incorrectly against the grain, leaving us with a rough texture and veiny meat. The shishito pepper calamari was much too salty, and despite being served alongside some rice, we were provided with a fork. When I asked our waitress for a spoon for the rice since we were covering it with a sauce (making it difficult to pick up grains through tines), she asked why the fork didn't work for us. The popcorn lobster was overcooked and dry on the inside, salty and oily on the outside.
We shrugged it off, hoping that our remaining dishes would save the night. Our two left were their spicy crunchy roll and chicken Pad Thai, dishes quite in line with the type of venue it was. The crunchy roll arrived soggy from the saturation of sauce - it looks like the person plating was heavy handed. Not only was there sauce on the plate itself but plenty of it drizzled on top. I wish I could say it was good sauce but it was overbearingly alcoholic in taste. I couldn't tell if it was just spoiled or the proportions were off (did they use sake?). It was definitely unenjoyable, and I love crunchy rolls in general. Every other ingredient was masked by the smell and taste of what had been drowning our food. The Pad Thai that came out looked fine but definitely needed the lime with which it was served. We did actually enjoy the pieces of chicken and how it was cooked - soft, juicy, and perfectly sized for small bites. However, the noodles were overcooked (they broke when we tried picking up some with our chopsticks) and the sauce bland. In fact, the noodles weren't the typical type for Pad Thai even!
I don't know writing negative reviews of places or holding service against them but there were several errors on our check as well. I can't give this place just 1 star though because it wasn't, as Duc kindly puts it, a "place where you spit out the food you put in your mouth." However, there's much game to be upped here. For now, I'll avoid it.