Monday, September 15, 2008

Review: Aqua

Last night we hit up Aqua with some friends who have been raving about its good food at good prices for a couple of years now.  I've yet to find really good Thai in this city and Aqua's so-called Thai Malaysian concept intrigued me.  (I apologize in advance for the photo quality as the lighting was extremely low and reddened by their lampshades, but I think these reviews are always more interesting with photos. )

We started with two appetizers, Roti Canai, an Indian flatbread served with a potato curry sauce, and Rice Net Spring Rolls.  The roti was one of the meal's highlights, light and crispy served with a curry dipping sauce that was mildly spiced with a wonderful coconut backdrop.  Addictive.  The spring rolls were a pretty standard shrimp spring roll, but the wrapping was a mesh type of rice paper that makes for an interesting, crispy crazy interface.  It should be light and airy, but ours were greasy.  

roti canai

Entrees were Beef Rendang, slow cooked, tender, tender beef cubes in an aromatic oniony sauce.  I was surprised by how much they fell apart in your mouth.  Mee Siam is a mildly spicy noodle dish with seafood and tofu.  Good, but nothing special.  Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps were nicely flavored with lemon grass, but was not what we were expecting.  The chicken was minced up and rather juicy, which made it hard to contain in the lettuce.  Think squab in lettuce wraps at a chinese restaurant, only with thai-er seasonings.  The Sizzling Malaysian Tofu was covered in a rather gloppy sauce, but the house made tofu was terrific.  It was crisp on the outside and creamy and molten on the inside.  Rice is ordered separately, and their coconut rice is nicely aromatic with a hint of the creamy nut. 

beef rendang

The atmosphere is nice, modern and clean.  The staff is friendly and accommodating, although they were very busy and it showed.  When our drinks were brought, we were only brought one, because they had "run out of cups" and they had to wash more before the rest of us could be served.  One entree came out a good 5-10 minutes before the others, and rice was brought after the rest of the meal, and only when reminded.

thai chicken lettuce wraps

I would return, maybe on a weeknight, when it isn't so hectic.  I think with careful ordering, you can have a satisfying and relatively affordable meal here; the bill for four people was under 80 dollars.  

Aqua on Urbanspoon


Kristen said...

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Carla said...

Hi there! I'm adopting you :) My email is if you want to ask questions or just chat. Or just visit my blog. I read and reply to my comments as I get them.

A Philly girl, eh? How interesting. I'm from Pittsburgh. This should be fun haha