Often, a confusing restaurant is bad. We’ve all walked into places and thought, “What are they thinking?” In some cases, like Kung Food Chu’s AmerAsia, confusing is good. Is it a craft beer bar? Is it an Asian restaurant?
I’ve been encouraged for months to go to AmerAsia by my friends, many of whom live in Covington and are regulars. I don’t know why I delayed, but one Tuesday night, I insisted that The Better Half and I head over across the river for some Asian food.
Asian restaurants are not really known for their alcohol selection. Tsingtao, some plum wine, and maybe some sake and you have the general alcohol list for most run of the mill Asian restaurants. AmerAsia, on the other hand, has a better craft beer selection than most restaurants I can think of– and will gladly suggest pairings for their dishes. There are over 100 beer choices, so chances are you’ll find something you like to go with your food. Alas, these are not on their website, so you’ll have to go in to see the selection, but the night we went, I had a Goose Island Sofie and The Better Half went for a Six Point “The Crisp” lager.
All of the food is made from scratch by Chef Chu, who’s been cooking since he was 9, which was apparently a long time ago. And by everything, I mean everything–even the egg rolls and the duck sauce– so if you’re looking for your favorite sickly-sweet sauce or standard egg roll, you won’t find it here. The menu is very tongue-in-cheek, with images of kung fu movie stars and dishes like “fly rice” and “Brocco-lee”. Cute.
We started out with crab rangoon. These usually come one of two ways: flavored cream cheese out of a tub, stuffed in a wonton, or sweetened cream cheese stuffed in a wonton. This was neither– savory, crispy– and was that a bit of crab? Good stuff. Eggrolls are also excellent, not bland and cabbage-filled, but actually have flavor, though they’re still a good vehicle for duck sauce and hot mustard.
If you like spice, this is a good spot. Anything above 5 on a scale of 1-10 they use ghost chilis, and if you order a 10 they bring it out while wearing a gas mask. Clever. I settled on a 3 for my pad thai, which was good– not my favorite pad thai ever, since Chu adds some non-traditional ingredients like summer squash, but certainly unique. Level 3 was perfect for me– I am not afraid of heat, but want to be able to taste the whole dish.
The Better Half’s Generals’ chicken was fantastic. It wasn’t breaded– just sautéed chicken pieces which allowed the flavorful– level 2, this time– sauce shine. So often General Tso’s chicken is a spicy version of sweet and sour: deep fried and sickly-sweet. It was a pleasant surprise.
It’s a tiny place, and gets packed fairly quickly, so go on off-hours. They have a great lunch special– $5.50 for a dish off of a special list, and 50 cents for an egg roll or soup. Good deal.