Chinese Take-Out 09.16.2010

My favorite item on a Chinese take-out menu is orange chicken, extra spicy if available. Several years ago, I discovered Asian Cafe in Bethesda. I was severely pregnant with Adventure Girl and had just left a prenatal yoga class. I was ravenous. Asian Cafe was right across the street from the yoga studio. I called Eric and told him to meet me there as soon as possible. The consequences are grave for leaving a pregnant woman waiting or hungry. Grave.

I was not impressed with the decor or the fact that there was not a single customer but I had a hankering for Chinese and this was going to happen. Everything in the restaurant is red, there are numerous mirrors, cheap-looking Chiense art, and not much of a staff presence. I sat in a booth in the back and asked for a menu. The waitress brought me a Chinese menu and a Thai menu. I immediately felt uneasy mixing the two cuisines but, as mentioned earlier, I was ravenous.

Eric arrived about 20 minutes later and this is what he found on our table: orange chicken (white meat, extra spicy), cold sesame noodles, fried dumplings, pad Thai, and hot and sour soup. And an orange soda. He looked confused when I asked him what he was going to order.

Aside from the lack of aesthetics, I give Asian Cafe high marks for good Chinese and/or Thai take-out. I've enjoyed eating at plenty of dives so I am not anti-dive. But Asian Cafe isn't even a dive. It's just decorated so badly. They do, however, have quick delivery. They've told me plenty of times that the wait would be 45 minutes but lo and behold, they are at my doorstep in 28 minutes.

I returned to the restaurant several times post-pre-natal yoga class during my pregnancy with Super Boy and I was always the only customer sitting in and too hungry to be put off by the bad decor, which had not changed since my first pregnancy. The yoga class would end at lunch time on Saturdays; I don't know if the restaurant gets business during the week during lunch.

Last Friday, we were over at our friends Mike and Katya's and I recommended Asian Cafe for take-out. I requested the usual to share -- orange chicken (white meat, but not extra spicy), pad Thai (no peanuts on account of Adventure Girl having a mild reaction), and fried dumplings (oh-so-good). Someone ordered chicken and broccoli (nice) and there was a beef dish I did not try. Katya ordered avocado salad, which was spicy and phenomenal. Will have to order that again.

The restaurant is located on Cordell Avenue in Bethesda, down the street from Matuba -- a Japanese favorite.

4858 Cordell Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland