Whatever Happened To The Wonkettini? But Here's A Review Of Asian Spice, Anyway
You remember Asian Spice -- Wonkette had a contest last summer for the Wonkettini, and the winning cocktail recipe would actually be put on the cocktail menu. Well, the “blackout drink” never actually made it to the menu, so Your Reviewer wasn’t able to “get fucked up” as promised. But!
Asian Spice, a catchall Asian restaurant on 7th and H, brings DC’s Chinatown back to the right continent. The restaurant touts itself as an Asian-fusion restaurant, but the only thing that’s “fusion” about it is the menu itself, which draws from mostly Thai and Japanese cuisine, with a few Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Malaysian dishes thrown in.
The dishes are pretty authentic renditions of the real thing, adjusted to a Western palette. Strong flavors are brought down a notch and the more subtle flavors, punched up. It’s both a blessing and a curse, but you’ll have to make concessions to any restaurant that has the balls to offer pad Thai, bulgoki and sushi on a single menu.
The fresh soft roll, a Vietnamese rice paper roll stuffed with vermicelli noodles, shrimp, basil and julienne cabbage and carrots, was bland. The hoisin-peanut dipping sauce was supposed to be its flavoring agent, but it needed some serious fish sauce action.
Asian Spice’s sushi menu was much more exciting, especially the texture. There was something crispy, (well, maybe “dusty” is a better way to describe it) about the sushi that was thoroughly enjoyable. Upon further examination, this “dustiness” turned out to be tempura flakes. It made the Chesapeake Bay roll, a heavenly bundle of crabmeat and torched salmon belly, a standout.
The tuna and avocado roll was OK -- it had a little too much razzmatazz and would have been infinitely better without the special wasabi sauce. Order the sauce on the side, if at all.
Finish off your meal with a Filipino turon, a kind of fried banana egg roll drizzled with honey and dusted with powdered sugar.
The food is good, overall, if a little pricey. You really don’t have much of an Asian option aside from Full Kee, Jacky’s Café and Wok n’ Roll in Chinatown, so this is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. But Mr. Asian Spice managers, PUT THAT WONKETTINI ON THE MENU.