Asian tapas bar works better in theory than in a practical sense.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Retail stores and chain restaurants pack either side of U.S. 20 in Rossford.
For those looking to shop or eat local, it's refreshing to find a respite from all that hustle and bustle. Flame Asian Tapas Bar & Grill, which occupies two suites in a strip behind Giant Eagle, offers such a place.
The restaurant serves both full-size Asian entrees -- ranging from Chinese to Japanese and Korean -- as well as smaller, tapas dishes meant to share among friends at your table.
Some menu items work better than others, but, overall Flame seems to be working out some of the kinks since opening in mid-March.
For example, Crouching, Tiger Hidden Dragon ($18) is easily one of the most attractive entrees on the menu. The meal arrives with a lobster tail shell adorning the top of the dish for perfect presentation. The lobster meat and prawns, which are stir-fried with mixed veggies in a brown-oyster sauce, are enjoyable except for one thing: The protein is too salty.
Also, tapas always work better in theory than in a practical sense. They are smaller portions from the menu meant to be shared and enjoyed by more than one person. But how often does that happen, especially when two diners have decidedly different tastes?
Address: 27250 Crossroads Pkwy.,Rossford.
Menu: Asian, Asian-American.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$-$$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: flameasiantapas.com
My dining partner ordered the Korean beef tacos ($4) and the Chicken Kat Su ($7.50) during a recent lunch visit. Both arrived well before my orders: Bangkok You So Hot wings ($7) and House Special Spicy Seafood Noodles ($13). In essence, we both ended up eating separately while the other waited.
The Korean Beef Tacos are misnamed as they are more small dumplings than tacos, but the smoky beef with a sweet and spicy flavor is delicious inside the crisp wanton shell.
The bite-sized Chicken Kat Su is interesting as the small fried pieces of chicken had a crispy coating and the "fruit and veggie sauce" is almost too sweet. It's hard to describe, but there are notes of sweetness which are similar to apples and currants.
The six Thai-inspired wings are on point with heat, an attribute any hot wing fan can appreciate.
The House Special also comes through with a nice spicy broth. The mussels, shrimp, and calamari work well with Japanese udon noodles, which were chewy and fun to eat.
Try the full-entree Shrimp Purse ($8). It was by far the best thing we ate during our dinner, with succulent shrimp wrapped in a crispy rice paper purse served with a sweet chili sauce.
The Chili-Peppered Soft-Shell Crab ($8) was fried in light tempura and topped with stir-fried spicy sauce. It had too much breading to be effective and the spiciest part of the sauce was left on the plate instead of on the crab.
Also, the Crab Rangoon ($6) doesn't skimp on the cream cheese and is served in crisp wantons that are not overly oily, as is the case with some restaurants. They almost taste baked or pan-fried instead of deep fried.
The pineapple chicken ($6) is Flame's version of sweet and sour chicken and was tasty. The ingredients all seemed fresh, but the sauce was a bit too thick and syrupy. The garlic chicken ($10) is equally fresh but heavy on the garlic.
The seared Ahi Tuna Salad ($7.50) on the tapas menu is a mixture of outstanding tuna cooked perfectly with an average toasted sesame dressing over an ordinary salad.
The Korean Bone-In BBQ Beef Short Ribs ($6) are tender and covered with a tangy and sweet sauce. Next time, we'll get the full 12-ounce portion instead of the four ounce.
We recommend filling up on tapas rather than ordering dessert. The options we had were a standard turtle cheese cake or Mochi Flower ice cream wrapped in rice paper ($6.50). There is no need for the ice cream to be wrapped in rice paper because it created a gooey, chewy outer coating around average ice cream.
It appears that Flame has big aspirations, like having a full bar and scheduling wine tastings and themed food specials, but in doing so it stops short on some minor but important details such as the weird dorm room-style decor and not listing the restaurant's address on its Web site.
We look forward to checking back in the future to see what progress has been made.
Contact Bill of Fare at email@example.com.
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