Maybe it's the Zen atmosphere or the abundance of vacant tables and the secluded, just-off-the-path location. Whatever the case, the dishes at Tea Tree Asian Bistro in Levis Commons have lost their edge.
Still an enjoyable experience and not to be pushed aside, Tea Tree seems to have forgotten it's no longer a big fish in a small pond. As the Toledo restaurant scene continues to grow, the niche market for Asian cuisine is quickly being populated not only with elegant Asian bistros, but also with good ones. Time to light the fire of competition under those woks.
The menu at Tea Tree is broad, and for hungry customers it offers an excellent and tantalizing array of choices from wok-prepared dishes with Korean flare to fresh sushi and sashimi.
We began our meal with steaming green tea ($2.50) and the Harvest Spring Rolls ($9). The dish was light and fresh with a hearty peanut sauce. Well done, Tea Tree.
Things went slightly down hill when we moved on to entrees. Our party ordered a variety: Pad Thai ($15), the Seafood Splashdown ($12), and three sushi rolls: California ($6), Tsunami ($8.50), and Mango Tree ($17).
The Pad Thai was a hearty dish in a brown sauce with a strong peanut flavor and a bit of a spicy kick. The Seafood Splashdown, shrimp and scallops cooked with mixed vegetables in Tea Tree's house brown sauce, was a nice balance of light fare with a hearty sauce. The platter went beyond the usual vegetable medley, including mushrooms, thick-cut carrots, green peppers, baby corn, broccoli, and onions.
The problem was the overwhelming dose of salt I could taste in every bite, which didn't quite ruin the dish, but made it difficult to enjoy. The Pad Thai was less salt-infused, but you could still taste the bite of sodium in every mouthful.
The sushi did not disappoint. The classic California roll was fresh and an excellent base to our other more exotic choices. The Tsunami roll, shrimp, crab meat, roe, and scallion in spicy sauce, had just enough heat. For those who prefer a lot of kick, this roll might be too tame.
And last but not least, and winner of best in show, the Mango Tree was a rich, indulgent treat. Served piled high, it comes with mango, shrimp tempura, avocado, and cream cheese in soy paper, topped with crabmeat, and a spicy sauce. The hearty and rich combination is pulled back from being over the top with the light tang and sweetness of mango. We devoured this in less than five minutes.
However, the bottom line remains: Satisfactory food, a few top notch dishes, and elegant décor, although much appreciated, do not justify the extravagant price tags. The good news? Tea Tree often has specials and offers half-off sushi on Tuesday nights from 5 p.m. to close.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tea Tree Asian Bistro
Address: 4100 Chappel Dr., Perrysburg.
Category: Upscale casual.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: teatreeasianbistro.com.