Sweet Asia Cafe spices up Southfield

Home+plate%3A+Locals+might+want+to+try+the+Southfield+roll+at+Sweet+Asia+Cafe.+It+features+shrimp+tempura+and+avacado%2C+topped+with+spicy+salmon+and+scallions%2C+escorted+by+wasabi+and+ginger.+It%27s+%2411.+Photo+by+Emanne+Johnson

Home plate: Locals might want to try the Southfield roll at Sweet Asia Cafe. It features shrimp tempura and avacado, topped with spicy salmon and scallions, escorted by wasabi and ginger. It’s $11. Photo by Emanne Johnson

By Emanne Johnson

Editor-in-Chief

Ordering just one meal is a difficult task at the new Sweet Asia Café in Southfield.

That’s because the café offers a wide range of Asian cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese and Thai.

Singapore rice noodles or soft-shell crab? Moo shu chicken with pancakes or a “G spot roll?” (Yes, there really is a “G spot roll” on the menu).

THE DECOR:

The 82-seat café in a strip mall fronting Telegraph Road compensates for its small space with an innovative design featuring high ceilings and wall-to-wall windows, which prevent the small space from feeling claustrophobic.

Attention to details such as color schemes and décor is also evident upon entering the establishment.

However, holding private conversations can be awkward here due to the small space and absence of background music. It just feels as though everyone is in on your conversation, which makes this place a bad idea for a first date but great for the hungry gourmand who wants to get his grub on.

THE SERVICE:

The wait staff at Sweet Asia is kind and confident in the quality of the restaurant’s food. Even with the indecisive customer who takes a while longer to order and feels the need to look at the descriptions of every meal available on the menu before making a final decision, the staff members remain patient and eager to help.

THE FOOD:

If you are the type who needs a little something to snack on while waiting for your entrée or deciding what to order, this is a good place for you. While Red Lobster has Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Fishbone’s has freshly baked dinner rolls, Sweet Asia Café serves fried wonton chips with plum sauce. The plum sauce is the restaurant’s substitution for the orange commercial “duck sauce that many Asian restaurants serve, and is made fresh by the chefs. The mute-colored Plum Sauce gives a hint of sweet and sour flavor that is just right.

Sweet Asia offers several choices of sushi rolls, hand rolls and sashimi. The “Southfield Roll” is one of the “Chef’s Special” sushi rolls, featuring shrimp tempura and avocado, topped in spicy salmon and scallions. The textures of this $11 sushi roll are distinctive because they complement the creaminess of the avocado with a crunchy fried topping. The raw salmon is smoky and flavorful, but most importantly it is fresh, which is evident by the lack of a “fishy” taste or odor to the meat.

The roll is served alongside a generous helping of wasabi and ginger.

More than 60 choices of entrees are offered, including eight vegetarian options. A notable entrée is the “Seared Salmon Teriyaki.” For $14.75 you are treated to a flaky salmon served upon a bed of vegetables and teriyaki sauce. The vegetables in this dish are fresh and crisp and the sauce has a very light sweet flavor. The salmon is cooked to perfection with a crisp outside but a tender inside.

Another entrée offered is the “Drunken Noodles,” which is a Thai-inspired stir fry of shrimp, scallops, chicken, carrots, bell peppers, jalapenos, Thai basil, and rice noodles. Instead of the skinny rice noodles most might be accustomed to, this meal is made with a mountain of broad, flat rice noodles that prove to be very filling. This mix of sweet and spicy is delicious and the flavor is very rich. The portion of this $13.95 meal is very large and can easily fill up two hungry people. However there is a downside: for hardcore Thai fans, this dish does not offer much spice and unlike other restaurants that specialize in Thai cuisine, Sweet Asia does not offer the option to intensify or tone down the heat in the dish.

If you are concerned about filling your belly without emptying your wallet too much, another filling option Sweet Asia offers is a variety of 18 different combination boxes. Options for these meals range from popular dishes, such as “General Tso’s Chicken,” to more exotic options like “Curry Chicken”; all of which come with fried rice and the choice of an egg roll or crab rangoon.

Although the restaurant offers these meals in the choice of either a regular- or a large-sized order, the regular size order is more than enough for one person. The regular-sized combination box of “Shrimp Egg Foo Young” comes with two sizable gravy-smothered patties served upon a large bed of fried rice. The salty gravy is very flavorful and complements the insipid flavor of the patty quite well. Because the patty is not seasoned much, the combination of the patties and the gravy go together well. The house-made Plum Sauce is served with the egg roll that comes with the meal.

 THE BOTTOM LINE:

Sweet Asia Café is a great place to go for a filling lunch or dinner. Whether you want take-out or to dine-in, the quality of the food and the fair prices set Sweet Asia above the average “Chinese Food” restaurant. In addition, the variety of options makes this a palate pleaser.

However, the awkward seating situation takes away from what could be a virtually perfect dining experience.

Sweet Asia Café gets a 4 out of 5 stars.

IF YOU GO:

Address:

22506 Telegraph Road, Southfield, 48033

 Phone:

(248) 223-8828

 Food type:

Chinese, Japanese and Thai – all under one roof

 Cost:

Egg rolls are $1.25 each, or go for the gusto: The Sweet Asia sushi and sashimi platter “for 3” is $68.

 Hours:

Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sundays noon – 9:30 p.m.

 Rating:

4 out of 5 stars