Sun Asian Kitchen a Welcome Addition to Area Dining
Since moving to the South Mountain District, I have been on something of a scavenger hunt. The treasure being sought is a restaurant that serves Asian cuisine the way I remember it in San Francisco. Granted, this is a tall order, but not an impossible one. There are many superb dining establishments in the ever-expanding Valley that meet, if not surpass, the expectations of even the most discerning.
There are few places that can dare compete with Shimogamo in Chandler when the topic is Japanese cuisine. I have it on expert authority that it is like being in Tokyo. The only problem has been finding such places here. Armed with desire and open eyes, I have found the right place. While we still have to wait for the refined culinary arts of Japan to reach us, the rich flavors of China have arrived, and in considerable style.
If Chinese restaurant interiors conjure images of a décor scheme limited to black and red and more images of Dragons that you can find in a B grade movie, Sun Asian Kitchen is built on an entirely different aesthetic. Bringing style, panache and sophistication to the table, the look is contemporary and smart. The stereotypical design plans of the past are a distant memory.
Nestled inside of Legacy Village – which houses Fry’s, Ace Hardware, The UPS store and a number of other eating establishments–Sun Asian Kitchen resembles, on the exterior, those of the other tenants. But once you step in the door, that is when you feel as if you have walked into a restaurant that would look comfortable in Tokyo, New York, even San Francisco.
Looking up, not so much as the ceiling was lost in consideration of the look. Curving metal perforated with a repeating pattern hang overhead as if floating. It lowers the ceiling, and gives that unexpected look that turns fixtures into sculptural art.
Brown leather chairs surround marble tables that are minimal, restrained and dignified. The words that comes to mind here it is restraint, elegance and sophistication. The marble, which was imported from Hong Kong, lends a regal stately touch. Colorful plants and well-placed lights add another dimension of charm and appeal in a space that makes you feel relaxed, comfortable, even serene.
Using warm earth tones, there is a laid back comfortable feel that is polished, Chinese characters are selectively displayed, and one low dividing wall features Egyptian hieroglyphics. Touches like these provide an international feel that visually tie it all interesting visual elements together. Even dining here inspires a certain reverence that the surrounds make possible.
Obviously, dining out should be an experience that pleases the senses visually, but the real test is the food. And how does Sun Asian Kitchen rank here? The answer is an overwhelming A plus.
A standard favorite of mine, Mongolian Beef, was on the menu, but presented with such a rich flavor it was like trying the dish anew. Having had versions so hot you may only want the dish if there is a fire station nearby, I enjoyed the more mellow creation presented here. Augmenting the flavorful and lean meat was the way it was presented. The plates, service–everything really–was polished and sophisticated. While our server guided us through the meal, the entire attitude and mood made this a relaxing way to spend the day.
In terms of price points, you are looking at entrees in the vicinity of $10. Compared to other places, the prices here are exceptionally reasonable. Considering the ambiance, service and range of offerings, you will no longer have to drive to distant parts of the Valley to enjoy high end Chinese food. Did I mention there is no MSG here?
Offerings on the menu, and it is extensive, include Kung Pao Scallops, Garlic Shrimp, Kung Pao Beef, Hunan Chicken, Garlic Chicken among other items.
Also, there are vegetarian choices for those who want to forgo meat and take out is available. However, you may be tempted to stay once you soak up the atmosphere of this extremely well-designed space. There is also a full bar that features the same posh look and feel as the rest of the establishment.
While the names of those operating Sun Asian Kitchen may not be household names–at least not yet–Ma Mg, Bin Xi and Xin Zhen, have certainly brought a level of dining to the South Mountain area that is much needed, greatly desired and no doubt will be appreciated. From all points, Sun Asian Kitchen has hit a home run.
Sun Asian Kitchen
2070 E. Baseline Road
Mon-Thur 11 am to 11 pm
Fri- 11 am to 12 pm
Sat – 12 pm to 12 pm
Sun – 12 pm to 11 pm