Le Shio. I could not believe I never heard of this new Asian Fusion restaurant. To add onto my disbelief, I realized it's located in the Fairfax Shopping Center on Rt. 202! Anyone who lives near Rt. 202 knows that it's not known for any special restaurants unless you cross the border into PA, or drive down further southbound to the Independence Mall shopping center. It may seem out of place near a Dress Barn and Five & Below, being more on the contemporary as far as decor is concerned, but that did not affect the fresh sushi they served.
First things first, DB had to order a shrimp roll ($2) as soon as we sat down! I also ordered a plate of Gyoza (fried dumplings), six pieces for $5.50. These are very common appetizers on any Asian menu and you can never go wrong with it... right? First off, I would like to say that $2 is actually expensive for a normal shrimp roll. It doesn't matter how delicious the shrimp roll is, it is still overpriced (unless they used jumbo shrimp or different fillings besides cabbage)! On that note, DB shook his head and didn't even finish the last bite because he didn't like it. I can't comment because I didn't have any, but he's eaten a lot of shrimp rolls in his day and one that he likes to rave about is from Ming Garden. No other shrimp roll can compare to Ming Garden's crispy golden roll that's generously stuffed with shrimp, cabbage, lots of different seasonings/spices, handmade (and handrolled) by their cooks and paired nicely with a homemade duck sauce. And that one was $1.55!
Moving on to the fried dumplings: lightly pan fried at the bottom, tasty ball of filling that had a bit of a bounce when you bit into it, and a thin wrapper skin that was crisp and light, did not tear until you chewed on it. The key to a good dumpling, whether steamed or fried, is having a bit of elasticity inside, so the meat does not crumble when you bite into it nor should it be chewy or too dry. It should be "dan hou", which literally translates to "bouncing in the mouth", almost like a rubber band that bounces back when you pull on it. If you're used to thick dumplings that come out drenched in vegetable oil and burnt at the bottom, Le Shio will be a breath of fresh air.
The infamous General Tso's Chicken ($13) that DB got was not surprising at all. Now, I understand why this is almost everyone's favorite dish and why it's so highly rated, but it bothers me that there is a misconception that this particular chicken is authentic Chinese food. If you are reading this and actually believe that Chinese people eat battered chicken, fried and glazed with a spicy red sauce, then I shall bang my head at the keyboard this instant! Continue reading if you wish to learn about its American origin and the beef I have it.
Actually, its origin is not very accurate as many Asian American restaurants claim they were the first to create this dish. Peng's Restaurant in NYC would be one of them, says Wikipedia. The man it's named after, this so called "General Tso" may not have existed as there is no proof (just a name pulled out of thin air because it sounds good). Speaking of the name, how many times have I heard it pronounced incorrectly? More than I can count on my fingers. You would think that if you really loved a certain food, you would learn the right pronunciation instead of making up your own way of saying it. General Teeso's Chicken. Teechow's. Cho's. Chow's. I'm pretty sure waiters don't correct these people because they enjoy laughing in their heads, but they really should not let these people go around saying they want General TeeChow's Chicken! (FYI: the "T" is silent) Also, Chinese people that live in Chinatown, San Francisco or NYC do not eat this. It was only made for American tastebuds. And if you are shocked and still not a believer, go to China and order General Tso's Chicken. They will most likely not have it and when you get your check, there will be no fortune cookie sitting on top of your bill either. Sad right? That's how I felt when I learned from the Bloggess that chalupas were created by Taco Bell! But, if it's good, then who cares if it's authentic or not.
Back to Le Shio. Obviously, I am not a fan of this dish, so I have asked DB to say a few words about his favorite Asian chicken before departing from this topic. Although, I can say that the side of fried rice (charged extra to come with fried rice with veggies) was yummy.
DB's review:"Good, crispy, real white chicken, big portion"
We also ordered Spicy Tuna roll and Salmon roll to share. Each were $5.50 and came with 8 pieces of fresh fish goodness. Most of their basic rolls were around $5.50, which is fair. As for their Specialty Rolls (Dragon Roll, Spider Roll...etc), most were a steep $15! If you are looking for an affordable sushi place, I would recommend Sushisumo on Kirkwood Highway instead. Since I did not order their special rolls, I cannot say if it is worth $15 or not.
Now for the dish I keep thinking about and the one I gave a sneak peek at in my last post and even tweeted about, the Bird's Nest! When I first read the description, I thought it was going to be a roll, but instead I got this little bundle of joy! It should really be called "Fish Nest", as there are pieces of salmon, tuna, white tuna, and yellowtail mixed with spicy mayo neatly tucked inside the makeshift avocado walls. It was beautifully displayed on top of crispy rice paper with black & red caviar for some color. It tasted as good as it looked! And the best part? It was only $8! This was equivalent to a special sushi roll except for half the price! If you like avocados and raw fish, I highly recommend ordering the Bird's Nest!