Majestic Oriental Palace: Asian City by Paul Vo

20205 Hwy 59 N
Humble, TX 77338
(281) 319-4567

April 2004–You probably think most of the good restaurants are in the southern part of Houston. But if you’re curious you might start to think, “Are there any places to eat on the northern part of Houston?” For one, there are a lot of places to eat all around Houston. Near Willowbrook Mall, there’s Pappasito’s, Pappadeaux, Fuddruckers, and many others surrounding restaurants to choose from. Around FM 1960, there’s Luther’s BBQ, Chinese Buffets, and the list goes on. Who here hasn’t already tried a fajita? Some steak? Some chicken tenders? I personally have and I’m tired of eating the same things over and over.

Anyways, let’s get to the good part. Across from Deerbrook Mall, there is a restaurant called Asian City. Some of my friends and I went to this restaurant last Saturday. The restaurant is made from logs that look like one of the castles from the movie The 13th Warrior. As you start to walk towards the entrance, there’s a light grey wooden bridge with an arc in the middle so you can walk over the pond that is underneath it. Looking down at the pond, you can see the bright orange koi fishes that are about the size of your hand swimming around frightened from the sound of your footsteps. Around the bridge were bright red roses, dazzling yellow lilies with bonsai trees in the middle of the extravagant garden to resemble an oriental palace. Once you walk off the bridge you will get to the magnificent, giant wooden door that is ten feet tall and about 3-4 feet wide. The main entrance door is made of red wood with a big glass window in the middle with fascinating designs that look like it took a very long time to do. My guess would be that it’s a large, muscular dragon soaring through the beautiful sky with white clouds covering one of the arms and parts of the tail throughout its large body. Also, the oriental door handle is made of gold and feels like it’s made just for your hand to hold.

When you open the door you will see a small fully stocked bar with four aluminum stools that surround dark wooden counter. But if you’re not old enough, don’t even think about it! Inside the restaurant, it is beautifully decorated with traditional Chinese posters, vases, cloth covers, and paintings. The posters visualize a Chinese girl wearing a traditional yellow Chinese dress sitting down with her knees in front of her. In her hands is a small white fan with a painting of the peaceful horizon with birds flying around in harmony. The vase pictures a tree with Chinese words written all around and is about 4’3” in size.

Directly in front the host will ask you how many people and smoking or non-smoking like other restaurants. She was around 5’2” tall and had short black hair put back in a ponytail. Her name was Michelle. She was wearing black slacks with a clean, white dress shirt and some black tennis shoes, which got me wondering most of the night. Why make it look traditional, but wear formal clothes? I found out later that night that the owner wanted the restaurant to look professional.

The best part is you can choose to sit in the regular tables or in the group tables where the chef cooks right in front of you. The regular tables were made from the same wood as the main entrance door and could seat from two up to four people at a time. In the middle of the table you could see a beautiful Asian girl painted onto the side. She was dressed with a long yellow silk dress with purple and red flowers sewed across the side. Beside her, there were Chinese words written downward which none of my friends knew what it meant. The chairs were also made from redwood and had a dark maroon cushion so that you would have a comfortable seat while eating the delicious meals. Crafted through the chair were crazy Chinese designs that the crafter made so it would be original. I don’t know how to explain how it looks like. The regular tables are unique in those ways but I prefer the group tables. Around the group tables were large brown marble walls. The table utilizes a counter type table where you sit around the chef where he cooks the meal for you. He cooks over a state of the art grill that doesn’t have a grill. The grill looks like a giant sheet of metal with an oven underneath. These chairs didn’t have cushion on them, but they were also large and made from aluminum, which looks the same as the chairs in the UC Satellite. It was uncomfortable at first, but I didn’t mind it at all later through the night. The only thing that I didn’t like about the group tables was that they were too small. It wouldn’t fit more than 10 people. You might think 10 is a lot of people but it’s really not when you see how big the restaurant is.

The chef cooks everything right in front of your face so you know how he cooks it. Tommy was the name of the chef my friends and I got for the evening. The food tastes great and cooked to perfection right in front of you. But before he starts to cook he displays some cool tricks with the knives. If you order some squid he takes out a small yellow lemon, throws it into the air, grabs a knife and cuts it in half in the air. Another trick he does is throwing different large metallic knives around like he was juggling them before he starts chopping up the food. I was pretty scared that one of those big knives could hit me! One of my friends was trying to hide under the table because he was scared of getting stabbed with one. I’m glad the chef really knew how to handle the knives. He cooks everything from marinated steak to Jumbo shrimps. You’re probably wondering if there are any different sauces besides the A1 sauce to dip the food. I have no idea what sauce the chef gives you but it’s a white creamy sauce that has a distinct taste I can’t quite figure out.

If you don’t want to eat cooked foods there is an ok size sushi bar located right next to the alcoholic beverage bar. It was approximately 15-20 feet long. I think about 10 people could fit along the counter. Customers would sit a long polished aluminum stools that had just enough height so you could see the sushi trays. The trays lie on top of trays of ice and is covered by a glass window like the cafeteria in elementary school. Glass windows are there to cover it from people that just touch the food but not eat it. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to eat something someone else touched with their hands. If you want a certain sushi dish, the chef gets it for you. He wore the typical white clothing with the large white hat that makes him look like Dr. Seuss and was really nice. Every now and then he would talk to you to make sure everything was good. He would ask if you needed anything or, “Is the food ok? I don’t really like sushi but I tried it anyway since you only have one life.

If you haven’t tried sushi yet, you should try it. There is this one sushi roll that is rice wrapped with uncooked fish called Sashimi. You can dip it with the white sauce or with some Soy sauce. Soy sauce is a brown sauce that gives your food a better taste depending on how much you put on it to bring out the full, fresh flavor. Also, it is made from 3 main ingredients: soybeans, wheat, and salt. In Japan, Soy sauce is found as a table-top seasoning, just as salt and pepper are used in America. I didn’t eat that much sushi because I’m used to eating cooked meals. Another reason why I don’t like sushi is because I’m one of those people that believe the myth that you can die from eating raw meat. That’s not true if you eat clean raw meat. Asian City cleans their meats thoroughly. Besides the sushi and meats, one of my friends tried the salads and they said it was pretty good. The dressing they used was tart orange and it gave the salad a fresh flavor. When we were eating some sushi, I could hear the other customers around applauding that the sushi was good. One of the customers said, “Wow, I never ate sushi before, but this is good!” As I was listening close to their conversations, I looked around and was so surprised that the place was so packed. There was a bunch of people in the front frustrated that they had to wait at least thirty minutes to an hour to just get a table.

After a couple of hours eating and sitting there talking to each other, we got to chat with the owner of the restaurant. Turns out, he was the chef we got and is my friend’s uncle. It was pretty cool; he was a very nice person. He asked if the food was good and of course to me it was great! I was surprised we got to talk to him because the place was busy and he gave some of his time to talk to us. Even though he was busy, I got to ask him some questions about the restaurant. I asked him if he enjoys all the customers that come in here and leave happy. He said that he tries his hardest to make the people happy and want them to come back for more. Other things that I got to ask him before he had to run off were that if he planned on opening stores around the Houston area and if he enjoyed being the owner and chef at the same. He replied that he doesn’t know and that he loves being both owner and chef since it’s what he loves to do. The other workers there were also courteous. The restaurant reminded me of how home-cooked meals were at the house. The food being fresh and the workers making you feel at home. The sushi wasn’t that expensive but reasonably priced. They also had dinner specials but I didn’t get to try it. It’s not the typical order-your-food-and-wait-5-minutes-only-to-ask-the-waiter-where’s-my-food-deal. The service is incredible; it’s done before you can say, “Is it done yet?” You get the food in seconds while the food is being cooked in front of you. You maybe think it’s the same as other restaurants, but once you go inside, it’s a whole other world. Even though Asian City is known for its sushi, the cooked meals are good as well. Think of it as, if you can’t choose a place to eat at if it it’s with your family, friends, or even your significant other, try Asian City. You won’t be disappointed.

Map


links

Asian City Reviews
Deerbrook Mall
The World of Kikkoman
The 13th Warrior
University of Houston


Advertisements

One response to “Majestic Oriental Palace: Asian City by Paul Vo

  1. links don’t work from the original article

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s