An Asian Surprise
Usually, I have low expectations of restaurants located in grocery store strip malls. I have even lower expectations of Asian restaurants in said strip malls. I've come to expect quality similar to what you'd find from a bad Chinese restaurant in a mall food court. Typically, there's not much atmosphere, variety, or flavor with the food. Cafe Asia did not fit this criteria.
Cafe Asia is located in the Kroger Shopping Center in Bonsack off Route 460. From the outside, nothing really stands out to make you think it's different than any other strip mall Asian restaurant. Fortunately, I'd heard very good things from other people who eat there regularly and I had high expectations. When we arrived, I was impressed with the design and decor of the interior. There was a sushi bar, hardwood floors, and plenty of room in what seems like a limited amount of space. It also appeared they did a large number of take out orders.
The food was some of the best Asian food I've had in Roanoke. We ordered two appetizers before the meal - edamame and crab wontons. The edamame was good and the crab wontons had a good mix of crab and cream cheese - not quite as good as Pei Wei but not bad at all. For an entree, I decided to order the Chicken Curry. I had a tough time deciding between all the entrees and noodle dishes but the flavors of the curry were intriguing. I wasn't disappointed when a giant bowl filled with chicken, onion, peas, carrots, and pineapple in a delicious sauce was served. The chicken was incredibly tender (sit in the crock-pot all day sort of tender) and everything had fresh and bold flavor. There was some spice in the sauce, but the sweetness of the pineapple helped balance it out nicely. It was also served with a side of rice. For $8, I was shocked at how big the portion was. I don't think I was able to eat half of it and was able to have leftovers for two additional meals. I'd definitely go back for the curry, but I'd also be interested in trying many of the other entrees. I've also heard good things about the sushi, which I would try at lunch when the prices are more reasonable. All this to say, a few more trips out to Cafe Asia are in order.
It's been a while since I can remember having a go-to Asian restaurant in Roanoke (other than getting sushi at Wasabi's) but Cafe Asia could become that place. The prices and portions were great and I loved the taste of the food. I just need to make my way over to Bonsack more often.
3940 Valley Gateway Boulevard B1, Roanoke, VA 24012