Greetings Eaters and Readers!
This month’s pick was:
4002 N 144th St
Fare: Upscale Asian fusion with artsy flare
Cost: We both spent $40 on drinks, shared appetizer, dinner and shared dessert. Reservations: Recommended
Let’s be honest: if we could get away with dining in comfy pants and hoodies – and bring our cats along for the fun – we would. But sometimes, a restaurant requires one to act like an adult. Our evening at Wave Bistro was just that – a direct challenge to our adulting capabilities. Camouflaged by the presence of a strip mall and the shadow of a Home Depot, Wave Bistro was a delightful surprise of elevated elegance and beautiful presentation.
Martha: “Have you ever had Sake before?”
Jaclyn: “No, but I’ve always wanted to. Isn’t that a shot?”
Martha: “That’s a Sake Bomb…you need to bring it up here (elevated hand), we’re in a fancy place.”
We decided to save trying Sake for another time and went for snazzy cocktails instead. Jaclyn got a Mt. Fuji ($8) that was a mixture of rum, melon liqueur and sweet & sour mix. Despite its fun, Hi-C Ecto Cooler appearance, it was just okay. Martha got a Mango Mambo ($8). A mixture of pineapple juice, coconut milk, and fruity liqueurs – the drink was underwhelming. She felt like she couldn’t enjoy the flavor and worked too hard for sips of coconut milk in between chunks of fruit and ice.
Side Note: During our NFF ‘research’, we eat a lot and take oodles of pictures. We are keenly aware that, to the outside eye, this can be both odd and annoying. In a flurry of embarrassment, we leaned over to the table next to us to both apologize and explain ourselves. Martha tried to mumble all the important words to our neighbors: “New Food. Friday. Blog. Writing. Sorry?” This failed verbal experiment quickly opened the door to getting to know our fellow diners and their enthusiasm for Wave Bistro was contagious. They told us about dishes they loved and recommended; about the dishes they were getting that night; and they made us excited for our own impending meal.
The appetizer was an easy choice for both of us: the Lettuce Wraps ($8.75). In retrospect, Martha wishes she had actually read all appetizer offerings and realized 1) everything sounds delicious and 2) they have pork dumplings. The wraps come with your choice of shrimp or chicken and they were everything we hoped they would be: crisp, cold leafs of lettuce in which we heaped a healthy scoop of diced chicken, carrots, celery and shiitake mushrooms. The wraps are accompanied with three sauces: hoisin, spicy mustard and sweet & sour. All sauces can hold their own and taste delicious, but Jaclyn thoroughly enjoyed all three at the same time during the last few bites of her lettuce wrap.
To our pleasant surprise, the aforementioned dining neighbors (henceforth known as the unofficial mascots of Wave Bistro!) ordered us the Tempura Shrimp ($6.95). They were huge, crispy and complimented with a tempura dip. Despite a small hesitation towards seafood on both our parts – this appetizer won us both over with the very first bite.
Martha had mixed feelings about both being brave and stepping outside her comfort zone, but also wanting to enjoy the meal. It felt like a safe compromise to choose the Szechwan Chicken Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce ($14.95). The chicken was sure to please and Martha had previously undeveloped feelings about eggplant.
The plate comes out hot and looks like a colorful blended party of stir-fried eggplant, peppers, pea pods and chicken. This menu item is marked with an asterisk to indicate it is spicy – but she didn’t notice or mind the amount of heat. Just a warm garlic undertone. Martha now knows she doesn’t prefer eggplant.
Jaclyn ordered the Crispy Chicken Breast ($14.50). It was coated in tempura bread crumbs and deep-fried to crispy golden brown perfection, served with honey chili and teriyaki sauce. What she expected to see versus what she got was a pleasant surprise. Jaclyn anticipated a mix of the sauces drizzled over one piece of chicken and instead received individual sauces next to two giant pieces of chicken. Being able to go back and forth between the very tasty sauces was in itself worth ordering.
This is how adults choose dessert (right?):
“On the count of three, say which one you want.”
“One, two, three.”
Simultaneously, “Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte!”
The Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte ($7.95) was Swiss-imported garnet with white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Keeping in mind that we were beyond full, but sticking to our belief that you should always get dessert, this was a perfect choice. It was just light enough that it didn’t feel like overkill.
Jaclyn: “Why did you eat the raspberry? I thought you didn’t like raspberries.”
Martha: “I know, but they put it there for a reason. And I wanted to see what that reason was. I still don’t know …what that reason is. Ooo there’s cake at the bottom!”
Note: After much deliberation and confusion, this photo does not represent our review. Rather, it is our half-hearted, “hurry up it’s raining” attempt at American Gothic.