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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

ASIAN FUSION

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Anaba Tea Room

2107 E. Capitol Drive

Although offering a wide variety of tea along with cucumber and watercress sandwiches for traditionalists, many items on the day menu follow an Asian theme. Anaba is now serving a dinner menu Wednesday through Saturday, whose Asian inspired dishes draw influences from Korean, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and China. Be sure to enjoy the rooftop garden during the warm months. (J.B.) $$. CC. OD. RS. SB. Handicap access. 963-9510.

Juto

605 W. Virginia St.

Small plates are the specialty here. Many have Asian touches mixed with items like Parmesan garlic chicken wings and breaded provolone meatballs. Fusion items include peppercorn steak sushi and cheese steak pot stickers where Asia meets Philadelphia. Korean flavors appear in a salad with kimchi vinaigrette and kalbi lettuce wraps. Saturday through Monday also offers Vietnamese pho, a large bowl ranking with the very best found locally. (J.B.) $$. CC. Handicapped access. 988-9115

Mekong Café

5930 W. North Ave.

The varied cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos meet on one menu. Begin with ban xio, Vietnamese crepes with a golden color from turmeric and the sweetness of coconut milk, then perhaps a Thai curry or seafood dumplings in a sweet brown sauce. The more adventurous will want to try the homemade Laotian sausages with a fiery kick of hot pepper. Finish with a dessert of deep-fried taro or purple sticky rice pudding. This kitchen cooks with the confidence that ranks this café with the very best purveyors of Southeast Asian food. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. 257-2228

NaNa Asian Fusion

4511 N. Oakland Ave.

The front room has a sushi bar, but sushi is not the only attraction. Many fusion entrees are listed by the sauce (Japanese eggplant garlic, Szechuan peppercorn, Malaysian curry, etc.) and you choose a meat or tofu for it. Vegetables are also added. You might be surprised with asparagus or jicama. Everything is fresh. The sushi selection is good and includes toro. For variety order the sunomono which includes six different sashimis for a modest price. The décor is warm and serene. (J.B.) $$. CC. Handicapped access. 967-8888

RuYi

1721 W. Canal St.

(Potawatomi Casino)

Take a break from bingo and slots and pay a visit to RuYi, a casual spot that serves some fine Asian fare at Potawatomi Casino. The restaurant is small but the menu has large ambitions with the flavors of Japan, China, Korea and Southeast Asia. Papaya salad and Korean beef are perfectly good but the best items tend to be Chinese. The jumbo pot stickers are definitive and the shrimp with spicy salt and pepper is splendid. The noise level is the sole drawback, just a reminder that the slot machines are still waiting for you. (J.B.) $$. CC. LT. Handicap access. (800) PAYS-BIG or (800) 729-7244

Screaming Tuna

106 W. Seeboth St.

The urban riverside setting is spectacular with floor to ceiling windows. The menu combines sushi with appetizers and entrees with Asian fusion. Entrees include Kobe beef, ahi tuna and Thai ginger red snapper but the truly interesting items are among the small plates. Try the trio of ocean salads (squid and seaweed) and absolutely opt for the sake cevichean—intriguing fusion of Japanese and Mexican ingredients. The fresh spring rolls are Thai in spirit. The sushi bar has all the usual nigiri plus some interesting maki choices. (J.B.) $$$. CC. OD. Handicap access. (414) 763-1637

Umami Moto

718 N. Milwaukee St.

The décor is cool and urban. The menu has a Japanese core of sushi and sashimi, but adds more creativity to the Asian fusion. The big eye tuna is of sublime quality as is the beef in the Kobe slider, simply unmatched. Pairings often take novel twists—diver scallops with lardo and winter truffle? Yes! This is one of those rare combinations of fine service, quality ingredients and food with edge. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. Handicap access. 727-9333