It Might Not Have Been Broken, But I'm Glad They Fixed It

Sometimes it’s good to follow your instincts. The other night I was walking out the door to head to my usual sushi haunt, when something told me to head east instead of west. It had been a couple of months since I’d last been to Mikado in Ardmore, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that its menu—and space—had merged with Thai Pepper (another restaurant I haven’t been to in ages), also part of the Win and Sutida Somboonsong Asian-fusion empire.

Having been around awhile, both restaurants trailed in pizzazz when compared to younger sibs Teikoku (Edgemont) and Azie (Media), or edgier, more dramatic competitors Nectar, Susanna Foo and Margaret Kuo’s Akari Room. Teikoku and Azie’s recipe for success relies heavily on fusion, so applying that to their sister properties probably seemed like a no-brainer to the Wins. The renovations were finished in the beginning of May, and the website and menu now reflect the changes. I’m happy to report that everything we tried was well worth shouting about.

The live scallops were fantastic, cold, firm and just briny enough to benefit from the sweet-heat of the pickled ginger and wasabi. A serving of tempura soft-shell crabs with spicy basil sauce and baby bok choy was very generous for its $12 price tag—lightly battered, meaty and loaded with aromatic Thai basil. The edamame were the best I have had in ages—steamed to a brilliant, and obviously not overdone, shade of green, al dente and perfectly salted. I was so interested in my plate of soft shells that I never tasted my dinner date’s whitefish carpaccio, but it is kind of Azie’s signature dish (they do theirs with hamachi, I believe) and the yuzu-soy sauce matched Azie’s menu, so I expected him to be more than satisfied by that dish. We also shared an enormous roll (a special) called Red Dragon—green tobiko and cherry red tuna on the outside, jumbo lump crab, avocado and buttery salmon on the inside—that was very tasty, although I over-dipped into the soy a couple of times, which overpowered the jumbo lump.

- Advertisement -

There was definitely a renewed sense of hip emanating from the dining room, and for a Monday, I’d say they were enjoying a good turnout. I never look a gift horse in the mouth, so I was thrilled for the change of scenery and enhanced menu, and gave myself a pat on the back for my culinary compass’ good instincts.

Visit mikadothaipepper.com.

Blackboard Specials
Came across this little tidbit earlier this morning. Lolita fans don’t need any excuses to hit one of Philly’s liveliest corners, but if you’ve never been, the BBQ menu (served family-style) offers up a worthy excuse to get out on a weeknight. Here’s a peek:

Lolita BBQ Menu for June 23

Bacon Bit
Coca-Cola-glazed pork belly, pickled watermelon rind and salty peanuts.

- Partner Content -

First Course
Sweet and spicy baby back ribs, tamarind-busy bee farm honey glaze, morita chile and jicama slaw.

Second Course (mixed grill plate of the following)
-Pickled pork tenderloin, Mexican spice rub and mango chutney.
-Pork carnitas, canela-orange glaze and tomatillo salsa.
-Grilled pork sausages and pomegranate molasses-mustard.
-Pork chop adobado, sweet and sour adobo marinade, and avocado-tomatillo salsa.

On the Side
-Grilled corn on the cob, roasted garlic aioli, cotija cheese and lime.
-Negra modelo drunken beans, chipotle and crema.
-Buttermilk coleslaw, grainy mustard, cilantro and mint.
-Cornbread with roasted jalapeno, fresh corn and chile-lime butter.

Third Course
Mexican chocolate pot de crème with fresh berries, cinnamon crème fraîche and applewood smoked bacon caramel.

Who knew?
The corkage fee is always waived for Blush Black Club members who utilized Blush’s lockers and are also privy to sample rare wines in Blush’s cellar. The membership is steep at $500/year, but for free, you can take advantage of no corkage fees on Tuesday nights. 24 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-7700.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!