Hard to believe, but I’m a softie when it comes to romance. My dining partner knows this; she told me so, herself. As a romantic softie, I’ve found there’s no better field of play for you to spend your hard-earned resources on the current object of your affection than Yong Asian House.
The lighting is low enough to be romantic, the décor is a pleasingly understated Asian modern, and the service is unobtrusive and first rate. Though Malaysian, Chef Choon Fah Yong’s cuisine spans southern and eastern Asia, giving a pleasantly eclectic flair to the menu. Just how eclectic was the subject of the latest dine-around bunch get-together.
The restaurant, being located in Gray, was a 15-minute drive, but it was well worth it once we were all seated, menus in hand.
The Carnivore started with a bowl of Won-Ton Soup ($1.99) followed by Teriyaki Chicken & Steak ($10.99) with fried rice and a salad. The Dieter had the Egg Drop Soup ($1.99) and Sesame Chicken ($9.59) for her entrée.
For the Retiree, a bowl of Won-Ton Soup followed by stir-fried entree of Chicken and Mixed Vegetables ($9.29) was in order. My dining partner ordered a bowl of Hot & Sour Soup ($2.99) and the Teriyaki Chicken & Shrimp ($10.99).
For my appetizer, I ordered Roti Canai ($2.59) to go with a bowl of Spinach Tofu Soup ($2.99). Deciding to be different, I chose the Lettuce Wrap appetizer ($6.99) as my entrée. Though Yong’s has excellent sushi, we decided to leave that delicacy for a later visit.
Our soups and salads were excellent, my spinach tofu soup especially so. As for the entrees, the Retiree’s Chicken & Mixed Vegetables used marinated chicken breast cut into manageable chunks and stir-fried with fresh vegetables and an excellent sauce of soy, teriyaki and sesame oil. The dish was deftly handled by the Retiree’s chopsticks, but I managed to sneak a forkful of broccoli and chicken, and was well-rewarded for my effort.
The Carnivore’s Teriyaki Chicken & Steak was a meat-lover’s dream. Chef Yong’s creation combined a substantial quantity of thick-sliced marinated sirloin beef and white meat chicken mixed with mushrooms, onions and teriyaki sauce and finished it with a light dusting of sesame. Choosing fork and spoon over chopsticks, our Carnivore was soon very happy indeed.
My dining partner’s Hot & Sour soup was good. I had a taste and found it so, though it could have used a pinch more sourness, and a lot more spice-heat. (A few more drops of rice vinegar and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes will take care of that on our next trip.) Her Teriyaki Chicken & Shrimp, while similar in style and preparation to the Carnivore’s teriyaki-based entrée, had an entirely different bouquet of flavors.
Perhaps as a result of the lightness of the shrimp and chicken mixture, the teriyaki sauce note was not as pronounced as it was with chicken and steak. There was a delicacy in this dish’s flavor theme that matched the lightness of the poultry and shellfish admirably. The veggies were pretty good, too.
The Dieter’s Egg Drop soup was smooth and tasty, while her Sesame Chicken had crunchy strips of breaded chicken breast stir-fried with vegetables in a savory brown sauce and served with an extra helping of broccoli. No problems here.
My meal was an experience, start to finish. I’d heard about Malaysia’s Roti Canai though I’d never tasted any and I was a bit hesitant about trying the accompanying sauce. I needn’t have worried. The subtly-flavored flatbread complemented the lentil-infused flavors in the “kari dhal” curry sauce provided. Then there was my spinach and tofu soup, each spoonful brimming with spinach leaves and freshly-prepared tofu in a savory chicken stock. Add a dash of black pepper: perfection.
Lastly, my Lettuce Wrap. If there ever was a dish made for romance at the dinner table, it is this one. Lettuce wraps are fun to make, and can be vegetarian if your “person of interest” is. As might be expected, Chef Yong pulled out all the stops with this “fix-it yourself” dish.
For filling, Chef mixed up a good quantity of Chinese mushrooms, sliced snow peas, onions, thinly-sliced chicken strips, bean sprouts and sweet pepper strips. For the wrapper, Chef offered a quarter head of iceberg lettuce; I would have preferred romaine as a better and tastier choice here. Be warned: iceberg lettuce leaves tend to split open at inconvenient times, usually as you are conveying your creation mouthward. This causes the contents of said creation to wind up on your shirt front or in your lap, causing a lot of sympathy and giggling between the two of you. My advice is to take your time. This is not a race, it’s a meal. Do not to overload your lettuce leaf; you can always order more.
How’d it taste, you ask?
Yong Asian House
405 Roy Martin Road,
Suite 106, Gray
Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Friday dinner 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Saturday noon-9:30 p.m.
Available on Facebook
Credit cards accepted