First of all, sorry about the lack of updates recently. It has been a busy time around the house with Thanksgiving, working more, holiday shopping, etc. As such there hasn't been much time to try new places and review them. Or to return to past ones for a second bite review. However we were able to go out to eat last week. We decided to try XO Asian Cuisine located downtown on Monroe. Mel is very cautious about trying new Asian restaurants, but had tried some food from XO because it was catered in for a lunch. She wanted to try the actual restaurant and so we headed downtown. (Pictures will be coming later.)
The restaurant is attractive, albeit a little comical in the use of Asian decor. It is also located right in the heart of downtown. The prices are good, especially for the amount of food brought out.
We started with some dumplings that were steamed and fried. They were filled with pork, green onion, and ginger. The dipping sauce was a soy sauce with a little green onion, ginger, and maybe sesame oil. The dumpling was good. It was cooked nicely and the had a nice consistency to it. There were actual pieces of pork and veggies in it as apposed to a over minced mush. The flavors were good and melded nicely. The only thing I didn't care for was the little salad under it. It was not needed.
For the mains Mel got sesame chicken and I got sambal chicken. Both, in my opinion, were fairly mundane and could be found at any number of Asian buffets. The sesame chicken was slathered in that unnatural orange colored sauce that you see at 99% of Chinese restaurants. The sambal chicken was also underwhelming. I may be wrong, but from what I know, sambal is Thai chili paste. There didn't seem to be much in there. The shrimp paste was the prominent flavor. The chicken was a little mealy. The veggies were cooked well though. The rice was also pretty good. It was nice and sticky and worked well with the dishes.
Despite these quibbles, I have to admit that the dishes are attractively priced. Our meal, of starter and two mains, came in under $30. Also the service was good. The waitress was attentive without being hovering, and the food came out fast. I have to say I was disappointed by the food. I was hoping for a more authentic Asian meal, not the mainstream, made for American tastes stuff found everywhere. I like to think I cook a little bit more authentic food at home. And that was the real shame. My expectations for Asian food were let down and my search for a tastier, more authentic Asian restaurant continues. However, I can say that if you are downtown and want a decent, well priced Asian inspired meal XO is a good place to start.