Lunch at A.W. Lin’s Downtown Location
I have no idea what took me so long to check out A.W. Lin’s downtown location, but after a friend suggested it as a recent lunch meet-up, I was more than happy to make my inaugural visit. The Chenal location has always been enjoyable, but I rarely find myself in its vicinity. In general, A.W. Lin’s doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves, especially since an argument could be made that the restaurant serves some of the best Chinese food (and Asian food, for that matter) in the area.
And while I only scratched the surface of what A.W. Lin’s has to offer, our dishes of Thai Style Mini Spring Rolls, Orange Chicken, and Thai Style Crispy Cashew Chicken were absolutely delightful. Spring rolls are almost always a good way to start the meal, and these were no exception—tightly wrapped, fried right, and perfect with the accompanying chili sauce.
Indeed, we doubled up on chicken for entrees, but the dishes were different enough for it not to be an issue. If you made me choose between the two, I’d probably opt for the Orange Chicken. I loved the meaty pieces of the battered, then fried breast meat that were coated in a slightly sweet and spicy red chili sauce. Julienned bell peppers and zucchini also made an appearance, but I longed for more of them on the plate. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but there was actually too much chicken, so a better ratio of protein-to-vegetables would have made this dish even better.
As for the Thai Style Crispy Cashew Chicken, expect thinner strips of crispy chicken, along with mango, bell peppers and cashews, all in a sweet lemon sauce. Here’s the one aspect that stood out about this dish: it wasn’t overly lemony. Thank goodness. I can’t stand when restaurants go haywire with the amount of lemon added to a dish, as it can overwhelm the other ingredients. Make it a supporting actor, not the star of the show, is what I say. Kudos to A.W. Lin’s for doing just that.
While I loved our choices, next time around, I really want to dive into more of the menu. That includes a selection of noodle dishes (hello, Drunken Noodles!), fried rice, wonton soup, and the Spicy and Crispy Fish, which was later recommended to me by a friend. Chef specials like the Mala Combo in Hot Pot (stir-fried jumbo shrimp, ribeye, calamari, cauliflower, carrots, and dried tofu skin served in a hot pot) and Spicy Sesame Beef caught my eye. A.W. Lin’s also has a 13-item lunch menu (served Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) that comes with two spring rolls and rice.
Heck, there is even sushi on the menu, but that will have to be a post for a different day. As for now, I encourage you to go check out the A.W. Lin’s downtown location. If the experience is anything like mine, I think you will become a regular, if you aren’t already.