Start with some traditional Chinese-American dishes, add an item or two from Vietnam, a few dishes from Thailand and a selection of Japanese maki rolls and sushi, and you have the makings of the Asian Cuisine Restaurant in Van Alstyne, a collective name for a collective restaurant.


The Chinese-American lineup is pretty basic with the addition of two dishes that are not so common, sea salt shrimp and similarly prepared soft shell crab. Pad Thai and Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Pho Ga and Pho Dac Biet) plus a Vermicelli Bowl, a couple of noodle dishes, and fried rice complete the entrée list. They also have a selection of sushi, cooked and uncooked maki rolls and sashimi.


A friend had told me about the new Asian place in Van Alstyne, so I decided to give it a try. I got there a little after noon, and after a study of the menu, complete with color pictures of many of the items, I decided to start with a bowl of hot and sour soup and then a vermicelli bowl with roast pork.


At least that was the plan, but it was set a bit askew when I was served with both dishes at the same time, rather than soup first, vermicelli bowl later. I went for the soup first, and it was very good, thick with lily buds, wood ears and the myriad of other things that typically go into this dish with a small bowl of fried strips of wonton wrappers on the side to add some crunch.


Eventually, I got to the vermicelli bowl (Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio), which is an amalgam of Vietnamese rice noodles, named for their Italian pasta counterpart, lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, cucumber, an egg roll, and, in this case, grilled pork strips (chicken or shrimp was also available.) It is served with a side of sweet fish sauce.


It was a big bowl with a lot of different tastes and textures. The pork was tasty, albeit a little bit chewy, the noodles hot and tender, and the vegetables added a cool and crunchy aspect to the meal. All of these items are arranged together in a large bowl. You can mix or pick as you choose. The bowl held far more than I could finish, especially after the soup, so I did not leave hungry.


It’s a good place to get a taste of several different Asian cuisines in one place.


What do you think of the food and service at the Asian Cuisine Restaurant? Send comments, suggestions and ideas to sparkes@heralddemocrat.com or visit http://www.facebook.com/HDRestaurantReviewer.