VIA SBINSIDER RESTAURANT REVIEW by GLORIA WOLF| 7-15-2023
Living in SaddleBrooke for more than six years, we have had to drive to get our favorite Asian foods. You can go to Lee Lee International Supermarket and make your own specialties. Now, within a short driving distance you can experience flavorful Asian food. Grain River Asian Bistro is under new ownership and the menu is enticing.
Six of us went to lunch recently and had a delightful meal. All six diners were happy with their food experience. The restaurant is now featuring more Vietnamese fare but does offer traditional Chinese and Thai menu items.
Our group ordered a wide variety of items on the menu including Goi Cuon, which are spring rolls filled with shrimp and pork wrapped in rice paper, served with peanut sauce. Sweet and Sour chicken was a favorite, as was item H1. Yes, we ordered by letter and number because we didn’t know how to pronounce Mi Xao Gion Thap Cam. This is a dish of crispy fried noodles topped with a display of vegetables, beef, chicken, and shrimp.
For more traditional Vietnamese bowls, order any item under the Bun menu, which is translated to a rice vermicelli salad. The bottom of the bowl starts with a layer of fresh bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, mint, and cilantro topped with noodles, chopped peanuts, and served with two small egg rolls. The stir-fry chicken that was included was wonderfully spiced and delicious. You can order this salad with pork, beef, pork sausage, chicken, shrimp, or sugarcane shrimp. The Buns are served with a bowl of fish sauce which can add a richer flavor and a little kick, if so desired.
While fish sauce may not sound enticing to everyone, think of it as a combination of salt and pepper in one sauce. Fish sauce is a condiment prepared from fermented anchovies and salt. It blends into the background of all kinds of dishes and is used in small amounts. It doesn’t overpower the flavor of the food but enhances it.
As you would expect to find in a Vietnamese restaurant there is a collection of Pho and other regional specialty soups. There are vegetarian selections, and Asian Fusion menu items such as Pad Thai, Thai Red and Green Curry, and Asian Honey Walnut Dish, among others. We did not get a chance to try all of these with only six people, but I can’t wait to go back and try the curry. If the other foods are as good as the dishes we enjoyed then I am confident other items will taste as good.
Our server was friendly and positive. She took care of us and our separate checks with no problem. She was also very helpful with menu selections.
Be warned, the portions are large-which makes it easy to share and enjoy the selections. Please join us, and welcome this new business to our neighborhood.
I believe the web site for this restaurant has not yet been updated for the new menu and new owners. Grain River Asian Bistro is located at 12985 N Oracle Rd, Suite 125, Tucson Arizona, in the Walgreens center.