An-Asian Kitchen & Bar is unfortunately prone to a “lost in translation” issue. In Vietnamese, an means “eat.” To those who don’t recognize this, it will likely be known as “An Asian Kitchen.” Regardless, the restaurant’s tasty fusion of Vietnamese and other Asian favorites is a welcome addition to the Reno scene.
My group arrived in the early evening when the place was fairly empty. Nu Metal music was cranking pretty hard on the house system, which lent a weird, uncomfortable vibe. As more diners filtered in, the tunes thankfully shifted to more chill melodies.
We got things started with crispy calamari ($10) stir-fried with jalapeño, bell pepper, scallion and garlic and served with a light sweet and sour sauce. It was perfect. This was followed by a towering appetizer sampler ($15) of egg roll, fried prawns, chicken teriyaki skewers, spare ribs, pot stickers and crab rangoon served with sweet and sour, hot mustard and house shoyu sauce. This was also spot-on, with the super meaty skewers being a stand-out. A final appetizer ($10) of little neck clams with lemongrass and white onion finished with fresh basil and chopped peanut and served with shrimp chips was my favorite. I piled-up little clam tostadas with the crispy, three-inch, shrimp-flavored wafers.
A large serving of chicken broth-based wor wonton soup ($12) was heartily filled with pork and shrimp dumplings, chicken, barbecue pork, broccoli, bok choy, head cabbage and carrot. However, my pho bac diet ($11) of rare beef, brisket, tendon, meatball, tripe, beef broth, vermicelli, onion, scallion, cilantro, bean sprout, basil, jalapeño and lime was a little lackluster. The broth was solid, and the ingredients were great, but there was hardly any tripe or tendon to be found. When I order “the whole cow” soup, I want it all.
We also ordered stir-fried servings of combo chow mein ($13) with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, carrot, onion, scallion and celery; beef ho fun ($13) with deep-fried egg noodle, onion, scallion and bean sprout; and barbecue pork ($13) with tofu, broccoli, mushroom, bamboo shoot, bok choy, baby corn, carrot, celery, water chestnut and brown sauce. All of these were pretty good. The beef in the egg noodle dish was a little dry, likely due to being twice-cooked
The seafood sizzling platter ($16) with scallop, shrimp, squid and fragrant white sauce was very similar in flavor to the bubbling seafood clay pot ($15) of shrimp, squid, scallop, bok choy, broccoli and carrot. The seafood was perfectly done on the platter, but for some reason a little overcooked and chewy in the clay pot rendition.
A grilled pork and eggroll cold noodle bowl rounded things out ($9), with a truly enjoyable combination of barbecue pork, vermicelli, chopped eggroll, lettuce, bean sprout, cilantro, daikon, carrot and crushed peanut. This rendition was completely on par with any previous example of this favorite dish I’ve had.
Jasmine tea ($3 per pot) and a sake bomb of Sapporo beer with a shot of hot sake ($5) helped take the chill off the winter night, and my friend’s la basil cocktail ($9) of gin, lemon, simple syrup and fresh basil was a refreshing enhancement to an enjoyable dining experience.