Little Asia in Tiger Town

Since I am spending time in a hotel with the new job I am dining out frequently. One day I found Tokyo Sushi Grill and dropped in for lunch. Next door was another Asian restaurant, which is kind of unusual, but I figured I’d give them a shot later. The two turned out to be a study in contrasts.

Tokyo was a lot less populated than its namesake but I was ok with that. The interior was polished, neat and orderly. There were several servers and two guys working at the sushi stations plus people coming in and out of the kitchen. I was offered a seat at the sushi bar and thought it was a sign to order the lunch sushi special. They have a pick 2 from a variety of rolls, sushi & sashimi. So I got an Alaska roll and tuna sushi.

It came with a choice of salad or soup and I got the salad with house ginger dressing. My entrée was served up before I even put a dent in my salad and I discovered I was getting tempura vegetables as well. The tuna tasted fresh and the Alaska roll had crab, salmon & avocado. Lots of good food delivered quickly and at a decent price. It was a nice experience.

The next evening I decided to head back and try the spot next door. The very faded sign declared it was “Yolk Asian Bistro” the menu says Lao Hu Cheng Asian Bistro. According to their Google comment Lao Hu Cheng roughly translates from Mandarin to Tiger City or Tiger Town, which is pretty appropriate.

This place was more homey and mismatched than Tokyo next door. There is one older lady greeting people, taking orders, cooking and delivering orders. The menu is limited but has a great variety from several countries.

I ordered the Sweet Potato Glass noodles with chicken since I’d never had those before. The meals come with free hot tea and the lady was pushing that tea like she was getting paid by the cup. I got a can of hibiscus flavored sparkling water because that was another thing I’d never had. I knew I disappointed her and this is about the time I started feeling like I was dealing with a relative. As I sat there waiting for the food and another customer came in and I listened to their interactions that feeling did not go away. When I got my food she made sure she told me she only put a little kimchi. When she saw I ate it and liked it she came back over and offered to bring me more.

At this point I felt like I was having dinner at my Asian Grandma’s house. I didn’t taste too much in the way of sweet potatoes but the sauce was so tasty and everything cooked so perfectly I was eating it like I was being timed. It wasn’t fancy but dang it was tasty.

As I was leaving she tried again to get me to try the tea, there were two choices, Chinese or Japanese green teas. I hated disappointing her again because I felt like I was letting my granny down but I just couldn’t hold another thing.

I recommend trying both of these places and I’ll definitely be back for lunch in Tokyo and dinner with Grandma.

Sushi Saturday


It felt like a seafood weekend so a little sushi seemed to be in order.  Representing Japan for the Culinary-Passport was Red Bowl Asian Bistro in Rock Hill.  To be precise they are an Asian fusion restaurant and have multiple cuisines represented on the menu so they aren’t solely a Japanese place but they do have a pretty extensive sushi menu as well as hibachi options.  There are at least 4 Red Bowl restaurants in the area so their offering certainly provided a level of success.  I’m pointing this out because my experience wasn’t the kind a culinary empire is built on.

I was greeted by a nice lady who directed a young lady to seat me.  She didn’t sigh but it sure felt like I was interrupting her leaning time.  The waitress was Jenny on the spot and was at the table and ready to take my drink order before I even got the menu open.

I decided to start with a crispy chicken egg roll and for the entrée went with the lunch sushi which is a “pick two” from a limited selection of rolls or 3 pcs of chef’s choice nigiri plus either miso soup or salad.  I chose the Fantasy Roll, the nigiri and miso soup.  The egg roll arrived so fast my Kindle app had not even loaded yet.  It was warm and tasted pretty decent, nothing exceptional.

So next my sushi came and I had to mention I was supposed to get miso soup and was told “oh, it’s on the way”.  I guess the soup comes after the entrée here.  I waited the couple of minutes it took to get the miso and really shouldn’t have bothered.

The soup was mediocre and I didn’t bother finishing it.  The fantasy roll (crab, roe, spicy mayo) was good but I’ve had better from a Publix grocery store.  The nigiri was the high spot as the fish and shrimp looked good, had nice textures and tasted fresh.

Overall this was a disappointing experience and I couldn’t recommend them based on this visit.  Even my fortune cookie arrived broken and the fortune was something about how great my wife was.  Having said that, a number of years ago I went to the Red Bowl in Fort Mill and it was excellent so I might give them another try once the memory of this trip fades.

If you didn’t visit it last time check out Tell Me More – Japan