Review: Suzie Wong’s

This was possibly the most exciting dining experience we’ve ever had.  Four of us, after the rally for Issue 1 downtown, headed up to Suzy Wongs for a late night dinner.  There were a few other people in the restaurant, finishing their dinners.  As soon as we sat down, we were greeted by this:

Suzy Wong

Four fire trucks, two police cars, and I ended up sitting next to the emergency exit letting the fire fighters in!  All of this was much ado about nothing– there was some smoke in the kitchen, and the staff called the fire department as a preventative measure. The rest of our experience was excellent (if a bit less dramatic).

Suzie Wong’s is in the former Seny location on Madison Road, in the DeSales Corner shopping area.  It is run by Alex Chin, the former owner of Pacific Moon and Shanghai Mama’s.  The menu has a similar flavor to these restaurants’ menus– Pan-asian; a little bit of a whole bunch of Asian cuisines.  I spotted Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese dishes, all on the same menu.  The decor is still the same red and black as Seny, with some Asian artwork, and a generally very modern feel.  It didn’t make for very good pictures, though, so only a few of the dishes we got are captured for posterity.

We started off with some appetizers.  Dave, our server, insisted that someone had to try the crab rangoon, so Terry ordered those.  I ordered some peanut noodles, and Monika grabbed spring rolls.

The crab rangoon were standard– crispy wonton wrapper, cream cheese, and minced vegetables, served with a sweet-and-sour sauce and some hot Chinese mustard.  They were exceptionally crispy (with no soggy bottom as some rangoon have), but not necessarily the best I’ve ever had.

Suzy WongMonika ordered spring rolls, which I had a bite of– again, standard but good, served with the same sauces as the crab rangoon.

My favorite, by far, were the not-too-spicy, not-too-sweet cold peanut noodles.  The portion was generous, and the flavor fantastic: so many places make them either too sweet (like eating a jar of Jif), or too salty, or too spicy.  This dish was well-balanced, and I’d order it as my entree.  Fantastic.

Suzy Wong

Then, of course, come the entrees.  Between the four of us, we ordered a good selection of the menu.  Terry ordered pineapple chicken, which I wish would have come out better, photo-wise– the dish was served over a very prettily carved pineapple!  When he mentioned he was ordering this dish, I was afraid that it would have been sickly-sweet, but instead the dish really played with the natural, sweet-yet-tart flavor of pineapple, with lots of chunks of vegetables and chicken.

Both Monika and I got clay pots: hers, since she’s vegetarian, was eggplant and tofu; mine Malaysian Chicken clay pot, in a yellow curry sauce.  The kitchen was accomodating to Monika’s mushroom allergy (always a good sign), and omitted them from her dish.  We both stole bites from each other– she loved the curried broccoli in mSuzy Wongy dish, and I was a big fan of the tofu in hers.  I really preferred mine– I love yellow curry, and this one was rich with coconut milk, lots of fresh, crisp vegetables, and a healthy portion of chicken.  The spice was just hot enough for me– you do not have a scale of spice here– but might be too weak for those who really favor spicy food.  Still, I was very happy to take home the leftovers.

Katy got the Cantonese shrimp chow ho fun, with wide rice noodles, and plump, tender shrimp.  There were a ton of noodles in the dish– maybe a bit too many– but the sauce, according to Katy, was “zippy”– but not as spicy as she’d like.  Perhaps the spice needs to be on a 1-5 scale like many other Asian restaurants?

The biggest surprise of the night?  The bill! Less than $60 for four of us: four entrees, three appetizers.  Now, obviously liquor was not included, but for that amount of food– all of which was very good– in a setting that’s nicer than your average neighborhood Asian restaurant?  I call that a steal.  Plus, both our server Dave and Alex (who was acting as host) had a good sense of humor about the beginnings of our meal, and were kind, talkative and generally great hosts.  They are open seven days a week– rare– and open late on weeknights– even moreso.   I’ll be looking forward to going back– perhaps with a more sedate start than last time!

Suzie Wong's on Madison on Urbanspoon