Thursday, July 08, 2010

Asiana Garden

Asiana Garden
5992 Mount Moriah Rd

Asiana Garden has been open for about twenty years. I remember going with my dad and again with my friend's parents when I was in college. I have no idea why it took me so long to go back! It's just one of those places that we always drive by, say we should go to, but then never do.

Warren and I were trying to think of a good restaurant to go to before seeing The Last Airbender last Thursday with the monkeys (Satchel, 8, and Jiro, 6), and it finally seemed like the perfect time to go to Asiana Garden. 1. It isn't too far from the Paradiso and 2. We like to eat Asian food all the time, but especially before movies featuring Asia, anime, etc. The monkeys only cared about the movie and begged to skip dinner.

Inside, we had the choice of sitting at a regular table, or at a table with a small grill in the middle where we could cook our own dinner. We of course chose the latter. The nice waitress brought waters and menus right over. I noticed a wall of photos and went to look at them before ordering. Back at the table, I reported that the dumplings looked really good. We also agreed to get the spicy Korean pork to cook at the table, and I couldn't resist the Bi Bim Bop. I asked our waitress if the spicy pork would be too spicy for the kids and she said yes, and recommended the Korean beef instead. Once we had ordered everything, I asked if we had ordered enough and she suggested maybe getting one more dish. So we added the spicy pork back on! (Tip: don't ever ask the waitress, who might also be the owner, if she thinks you've ordered enough food!)

The waitress soon rolled it a cart full of food. The spicy pork and Korean beef came with a multitude of sides including rice, spicy pickles, kim chi, shaved daikon, squid, miso paste, and romaine lettuce leaves each on their own plate. It was immediately clear that we'd come to the right place! (Most meals at home involve multiple small plates and dishes.) The monkeys tore into the rice and would occasionally agree to taste something Warren held out to them on a fork. (The squid and shaved daikon were approved by the monkeys.)

While the meat cooked, we feasted on the items in the little bowls, and on the super hot dumplings. They had pork and cabbage inside and came with a soy and chili dipping sauce. Satchel ate one and Jiro ate half of one.

My Bi Bim Bop also came out nice and fast. I liked the addition of seaweed on top. My favorite part is the crispy bits of rice that cook onto the bottom of the bowl. (This comes out super hot, you pour spicy sauce on top, and then mix everything together.)

Every so often the waitress or another young waiter would come over and check on the meat. When they cut it with scissors, we knew we were getting close to chow time.

Warren liked making little Asian tacos with the accoutrements. Our waitress instructed us to eat the meat on the lettuce. "It's tastier that way," she said.

Satchel and Jiro both loved the food and getting to see it cook. Satchel was freezing, as usual, and the warmth of the grill warmed him up. It was sunken in the table so there was no danger of getting burned, but a few years ago when the monkeys were a bit wilder, I probably would have opted for a regular table. (They can cook the meat in the kitchen and bring it out.) They also offer a portable grill option. I didn't see that, so I don't know if it would be safer or more dangerous.

There were a lot of families dining when we were there. Most notable was the fact that the customers were from many different cultures. We saw hispanics, Asians, and Indians. I'd say that's a pretty good sign of the quality of the food and service.

Satchel pointed out that there wasn't a single candy/gum/toy machine by the front door. I consider that a plus. A quick trip to the bathroom revealed it to be very nice, but no changing table. Our multiple leftovers were put into two styrofoam boxes.

Our total was $52, which was definitely more than we had planned on spending, but again, we over-ordered. We could have easily skipped the Bi Bim Bop and the dumplings and still had plenty to eat.

Asiana Garden on Urbanspoon


Ann Flowers said...

Thanks for sharing the information on Asiana garden. it was nice going through your blog. enjoyed the tour.

modeflowers said...

Foods are so delicious and the ambiance is good.

Mi Kyung said...

Thank you for sharing. I want to try this restaurant when I visit Memphis.

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