Escape to Asia

“Give me a Chinese restaurant with a full bar any day of the week,” said the crime partner. as we approached August Moon Chinese Bistro, passing some well groomed shrubbery and elegant signage.

August Moon Chinese Bistro on Lexington Road

Inside, August Moon has an impressive, high ceiling decor, rich in natural light.

This is a beautiful restaurant.

“Yes, and I don’t object to gentrification of a cuisine,” I replied, for about the third time this week.

If you are looking for the traditional Chinese take out experience, this is not that. You will not hear the sizzle of sesame oil hitting a wok. You will not order at the counter. You will not see twenty bad photographs of rice paired with mystery proteins.

Not that there is anything wrong with Chinese take out. Some of the best comfort food in the world comes out of hole in the wall, Mom and Pop joints.

But this is not that.

At August Moon, you will be seated at a table, served some water by a black-clad waiter or waitress with training, and offered a well written menu that accurately describes what you might order.

I started with a glass of Diseno Malbec, then moved on to the vegetarian Malaysian curry. If my taste buds have not yet failed me, the curry was coconut based, but strict vegans will need to call ahead to make sure. I always opt for white rice, but the much more protein-rich brown rice is an option here.

The vegetable curry is a colorful mixture of broccoli, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, onions, carrots, and bamboo. The curry sauce is excellent, complex, and highly flavorful, but a little on the bland side for me. A side order of house made chili oil quickly solved that problem, however.

I think I know why Asian food purveyors keep their food bland. I overheard customers at Time for Thai complaining that the food was, “a little spicy.”

“Why?” I asked myself. “Why go to a Thai or Chinese or Vietnamese or Korean restaurant and complain that the food is seasoned?”

But the demand for Americanized, blanded out ethnic options continues unabated, despite all logic.

Besides the curry, August Moon Chinese Bistro has several other menu options for vegetarians. You will not go hungry here.

I made a mental note of the outdoor patio which is set in a bamboo grove, in case you really need to escape to a Chinese rain garden some afternoon. I’ll definitely be parked there, come early October.

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