Waiting for the waiter

The first thing I noticed as the hostess led us to our table at Asiana was the two waiters leaning against the wall talking. It was early in the evening, and the restaurant was just beginning to fill up, so I thought they were prepping each other on the specials.

But after my dining partner and I spent almost 10 minutes reading the menu without a server approaching our table to even offer us drinks, I became irritated. Finally, the waiter arrived, taking our drink, appetizer, and entree orders—all at the same time.

Maybe it was the hat I wore backwards that crippled the waiter and prevented him from giving us the same service that others received. Or maybe I should have rubbed the belly of the Buddha figure as the old man sitting across the room from us did—he seemed to get good service.

My dining partner, Erin, and I decided on the spiced chicken egg rolls ($6.75) for an appetizer. We both chose seafood for entrees. She selected the sweet and sour shrimp ($11.50), and I picked the Thai-style lemon grass prawns ($11.75).

As I sipped my coffee, waiting for our appetizer, I slipped into the serene setting of the Orient. The walls are lined with Asian symbols and art, and paper lampshades hang from the ceiling. Massive but simple gold vases act as pillars for the ceiling to rest on.

When our appetizer arrived, I was impressed by the attention that went into the presentation of the dish. Although they were just egg rolls, these spiced chicken delights were positioned on their ends and set in a delicious spicy honey vinaigrette. This culinary detail caught my attention, and my confidence in the chef’s abilities—and in Asiana—rose immediately.

The egg rolls were perfectly prepared. They had a nice texture but were not overcooked. The ingredients were flavorful, and the sauce was a masterpiece—the spices blended delicately with the sweetness of the honey.

Just as we finished the appetizer, our entrees arrived. My lemon grass prawns—seven jumbo prawns sauteed in an opal basil red curry sauce—sat atop a mixture of vegetables. The prawns were crusted with light flakes of coconut. Curry and coconut complemented each other perfectly. Asiana did a wonderful job with this dish.

The chef showed the same effort in the presentation of the entrees as with the appetizer—but Erin’s sweet and sour shrimp wasn’t very good. The seven prawns, lightly battered and quick-fried, proved to be a dish too overpowering with sweetness and lacking in the contrast with the souring elements. The vegetables were good, but the shrimp were disappointing.

Asiana offers some interesting entrees, such as a soy-glazed salmon fillet ($9.75), traditional dishes like kung pao chicken ($9.25) and albacore tuna tetaki ($9.25).

Although we had no room for dessert, their toasted almond white chocolate mousse ($4.95) and macadamia and coconut tart ($4.95) looked tempting.

One of the problems with dining in many casino restaurants, aside from the handful that are always great, is inconsistency. Asiana suffers from this in terms of both the service and the food. Most of the food was good, but the service, especially in the beginning, was poor. You’d think the management would be concerned with giving consistently good service to all who dine in their restaurants.