There are both entrées and house specialties. The former lean toward Chinese dishes we have all had many, many times. General Tso's chicken, about as American as American-Chinese dishes get, had the sweet, sticky quality of Chinese takeout. There were red chiles on the plate, but not much heat in the dish.

I had more luck with the house specialties. Cornish hen had a crisp skin and tender meat. I wanted more flavor from the honey-garlic dipping sauce that came with it, but I dug the side dish, a very chewy, almost tacky rice cake that had a mild, coconut-like sweetness. And at $11.95, the plate offers quite a value, relative to the rest of the menu.

To my surprise, I preferred the Cornish hen to the Peking duck. The duck's skin was crisp and tasty, but the meat was only moderately flavorful. Tucked with scallions and a smear of hoisin sauce inside a soft rice bun, the meal tasted mostly of hoisin. At $26.95, I expected better duck.

A delicate balance: Lumière Place's Asia serves food from a broad range of cultures.
Jennifer Silverberg
A delicate balance: Lumière Place's Asia serves food from a broad range of cultures.
Asia's special spider roll, with shrimp tempura, crab, asparagus and avocado.
Jennifer Silverberg
Asia's special spider roll, with shrimp tempura, crab, asparagus and avocado.

Location Info

Map

Asia

999 N. 2nd St.
St. Louis, MO 63102

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Details

Asia
Cornish hen...$11.95
Pho...$12.95
Peking duck...$26.95
999 North Second Street (in Lumière Place)
314-881-7777
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat.

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Having blown my budget on the burger with foie gras and black truffle at Burger Bar, I didn't order either of Asia's splurge dishes, bird's nest soup and shark fin soup. That said, I urge those of you who work up a sweat whenever I mention foie gras to ponder the practice of "finning" sharks for shark fin soup. Here's a chance to be self-righteous and justified!

Speaking of self-righteous and justified: A twelve-ounce bottle of Sapporo beer at Asia costs $7.25, which is just plain ridiculous. (Tsingtao costs $4.25. But Tsingtao isn't very good.)

Service is very fast-paced. Dishes emerged from the kitchen quickly: I ordered sushi and then, minutes later, an entrée. Both arrived at the same time. Checks were left at my table while I was still eating.

Your check does come with a fortune cookie. My first fortune told me, "You will continue to take chances and be glad you did." Maybe I'll start hitting on eighteen... I wondered whether every fortune at Asia would have a gambling interpretation, but another informed me I would "prosper in the field of wacky inventions."

I like my chances in succeeding in that field better than beating the house at blackjack.

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