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Bistro d' Asia -- fun fusion in Coronado

"Our recipes are based on ideas of fusion," Alla Elsadek said. "Our executive chef, Jeff Perng, has taken ideas from all over Asia but has changed them to conform to American tastes. He also melds tastes from all over China to create combinations that are simply wonderful."

Elsadek has been involved with several local restaurants for more than 10 years, but now focuses all his creative energies on this restaurant, to drive its success.

Bistro d'Asia is an exciting Oriental restaurant that seems to offer something for everyone. The restaurant is located in Coronado, a short distance from the Hotel del Coronado. The exterior resembles a Chinese pagoda but also reflects Mexican architecture. A small patio on the side allows for outside dining.

The interior of the restaurant consists of two large rooms and a smaller private dining room for large groups. A bar and a small sushi counter run along the back wall. Japanese and Chinese artifacts and art decorate the rooms.

The sushi bar is open for lunch as well as dinner. Prices are moderate for nigiri sushi, and sashimi is slightly more expensive. There is a good selection of rolls. The Mango Albacore Roll, with shrimp tempura and avocado, was large and delicious. The Spicy Tuna Hand Roll was terrific.

Most entrees are defined as steamed, "woked," sizzled, grilled and "noodled" -- a clever way of describing preparation. Mekong Seafood, with shrimp, scallops and mussels steamed in an aromatic broth of roasted garlic is a prime example of steamed. The fragrance of the dish was tempting. "Woked" is exemplified by Saigon Kung Pao Chicken -- diced chicken breast wok-fried with fresh garlic, onion, peanuts, green pepper, chilies and sweet basil. The combination of flavors and textures combine together in the heat of the wok to generate wonderfully synthesized tastes.

Steaks and chicken are grilled. Hong Kong Steak is a New York cut ceremoniously flambČed with brandy at the tableside. It is served Benihana style on a sizzling hot plate. Hanoi Tuna in Two Styles is stir-fried tuna in a Thai red curry sauce or Cantonese black bean sauce, served on a sizzling hot plate.

Noodled options include Chow Fun Marco Polo, which contains fresh wide rice noodles stir-fried with beef and chicken in a black bean tomato sauce.

The bistro focus is clearly spelled out in the name identifications of the dishes -- Mekong, Saigon, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Waikiki and so on. The dishes come from all over Asia. The tastes are international in scope, and the flavors are endless.

There is something for everyone -- even vegetarians. Buddha's Delight is a traditional Chinese Buddhist monk specialty, a mixture of seasonal veggies and mushrooms tossed with bean thread noodles in a vegetable jus. Monk's Curry is a vegetarian curry featuring eggplant, hard spiced tofu, sweet onion and other fresh market vegetables in an exotic Thai curry sauce.

Bistro d'Asia is well worth making that trip across the bridge to try. Don't forget, there's no toll now. Bistro d'Asia is located at 1360 Orange Ave. Call (619) 437-6677 for information and reservations.


Rottenberg is editor of Dining San Diego Magazine and member of the California Restaurant Writers Association.

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