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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Asian Grill Restaurant

This great little restaurant is one of Maine's culinary gems, comparing favorably to Asian restaurants in the greater Washington, DC area. Housed in a small, unpretentious buildingm the Asian Grill Restaurant is proof that you can't judge a book by its cover. The building is nondescript; the food definitely is not. In my opinion, it's the best Asian food in the area.

Extensive variety of Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean food
Great flavors and presentation
Moderate prices
Nondescript building
19 appetizers ($4.25 - $7.95), 8 salads ($2.00 - $10.95), 11 soups ($2.00 - $11.95)
3 fried rice dishes ($7.95 - $10.95), 5 vegetarian dishes ($7.95), 4 curry dishes ($7.95 - $10.95)
22 entrees ($7.95 - $12.95) plus 20 Chef's Specials ($10.95 - $13.95)
Sushi ($2.95 - $4.95 for 6 pieces, or $14.95 - $15.95 for combos), including Maki and Nigiri
Lunch Specials (meat or fish dish) with rice, 2 crab rangoons, 2 Thai rolls, Asian salad, and soup
From Portland, take I-295 to Brunswick coastal route. Asian Grill is on left at 164 Pleasant St
Hours: Open 7 days a week from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Spice can be altered according to your preferences. No MSG
Beer and wine are available
Guide Review - The Asian Grill Restaurant
I've been to the Asian Grill dozens of times, but I can never resist the delicious Won Ton Soup. The Thai version of this old standby, not to be confused with Chinese Won Ton Soup, is a flavorful clear broth filled with tiny pieces of perfectly cooked fresh broccoli, scallions, shredded carrots, and cabbage. The dumplings are tasty bits of marinated chicken, pork, and vegetables wrapped in a wonton, all topped with finely chopped crispy garlic. Delightful!
The Vietnamese Rolls contain a savory mixed with ground pork, onions, carrots and clear noodle wrapped in rice paper and lightly fried, served with a clear Vietnamese sauce topped with tiny pieces of crushed peanuts. Other rolls include Shumai (Korean) with marinated chicken and shrimp; Spring Rolls (Thai) with mixed vegetables, served with sweet and sour sauce; and Summer Rolls (Vietnamese), with rice noodles, shrimp, lettuce and carrots wrapped in rice paper.

It would take a long time to explore the Asian Grill's entire menu; even more so because the Pad Thai is so excellent that I have trouble ordering any other entree. The stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, bean sprouts, scallions, and ground peanuts can be ordered with vegetables, tofu, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid, scallops or other seafood for $7.95 - $9.95.

The owner, Ahn, is friendly and welcoming and has an uncanny ability to remember names of regular customers and the dishes they like to order. She'll make you feel welcome. The food will make you return.

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