East-West Bistro is located in a neighborhood center in Pasadena, MD. They did not spend a lot on advertising so they restaurant is not very crowded. Those that know it’s there though get treated to a special meal that’s different than many other Chinese style restaurants. The restaurant is definitely Asian in style, but maybe calling it a Chinese restaurant is incorrect. They have a broad variety of choices of entrees on their menu. Many are the typical Chinese restaurant selections, but they also have a selection of items such as Japanese, Thai, and Korean as well to give their diners a variety of cooking styles to choose from.
My wife and I were seated when we first arrived at the restaurant next to their beautiful etched glass panels in a booth. Service during the evening was at a good pace, and the dining room had a piano player playing softly during the meal. We were a little concerned to find the restaurant only had diners seated about three other tables as 7:00 on a Saturday night, but those concerns were erased during the evening very easily. On the appetizer menu there are some classics such as shrimp toast, spring rolls, california rolls, and tempura selections. There also were some of the less standard selections of sweet and sour spicy cabbage, fried wontons, fried crepes, calamari, and lamb chops. We chose a rather traditional appetizer in the steamed pork dumplings. In general the appetizers range from about $5 to $7 which is reasonably priced.
They also have a selection of nine different soups to choose from including traditional ones such as hot and sour soup and wonton soup. A couple non traditional ones included crab meat with asparagus soup and Chicken and corn cream soup. We did not order a soup but they range in price from $1.95 to $3.25.
The entrees are plentiful and too many to mention them all by name in this article. The menu starts with the “chef’s selections” these are a variety of seafood, chicken, beef, and pork selections. They range in general from $13 to $16 with the lobster items being over $20. One of the more unusual selections we saw was a boneless half tea duck which sounded interesting but we shied away from. My wife did order the Happy Family Trio from this section of the menu and was very happy with her choice. She felt the seafood was well cooked and the sauce had a lot of flavor without being overpowering in relationship to the meat.
The poultry items tend to range from the standard sweet and sour chicken to the more original such as Malay Curry Chicken and Mongolian Chicken. These items ranged in general from $11-14 with a couple slightly above that range. The beef, seafood, and pork selections did not look to be very original as we had seen these many times in other restaurants, they range from $11-18 with most in the $14 and under range. The noodle selections though is what drew my eye.
A couple years ago my wife and I were in Portland, Oregon for my sister’s wedding. We enjoyed a very nice Asian meal for the rehearsal dinner in which they brought selection after selection to the table served family style. One of our favorites was the Singapore Style Rice Noodles. I was thrilled to see this on the menu at East-West Bistro. The noodles are very thin and in a moderately spicy sauce that has a sweet and sour touch to it. The easiest way to think of it is as the sauce from General Tso’s Chicken or Shrimp (both are served here as well), but a much lighter version of it with a less overpowering flavor. The noodles included egg, shrimp, and chicken along with vegetables, and was a very good rendition of the dish. Other noodle entries include the same item done in a Taiwanese style, Pad Thai, and Double Pan Fried noodles just to name a few from the selection of eight. Most of these noodle entrees are $10 with a couple priced at $12.
One item my wife and I both noticed when our entrees arrived is that they are not the huge piles of food you get at some Asian restaurants. I’m sure you all are familiar with them, where you get an entree plate then a whole serving dish of your entree. In the end those types of restaurants tend to encourage you to over eat and sometimes the quality is emphasized over quantity. With East-West Bistro the situation is quite different. Your meal comes on a reasonably sized dish. Do not worry, you will still leave filling fulfilled with the amount of food you received without feeling like you over indulged. My wife and I actually both had leftovers for the next day even with the smaller portions.
East-West Bistro also has a full menu of mixed drinks and desserts as well. My wife had the Peach Blossom Martini which was a very strong peach flavored drink that went down smoothly though. I tasted hers, but decided not to have a drink on this evening. The selections though seem very nice and at $7.50 are cheaper than some restaurants charge for their martinis in our area. The dessert selections on average were $6 or more and from what we saw they appeared not to be made on the premises so we decided to skip that course of our meal.
Despite the disappointment in the dessert selections, we were extremely happy with our meal at East-West Bistro in Pasadena, MD. We are sure that through positive word of mouth the business at the restaurant will pick up. Yet, then again it is nice to be able to go to a restaurant on a Saturday night in our area without having to make reservations or sit in long lines for over an hour. Maybe we’ll keep this one to ourselves, too late I guess for that though.