This past week I was lucky enough to try the new Summer Menu at Ãn Asian Cuisine in Cary. I was so excited, as I had never been to such a fancy tasting before ,and I can definitely appreciate some good Asian food. While I do fancy myself quite the foodie, I more often find myself in hole in the wall restaurants, not upscale eateries. I was even more excited when I peaked at Instagram pictures from Ãn (does anyone else do that before they go eat somewhere?) and the dishes looked like works of art. So as you can imagine, I was incredibly excited to get to accompany my fellow Triangle Foodie Adventures writer, Tessa, to this tasting.
It started with an introduction to the beverage director, Laura, who, as Tessa put it, seemed to give us all cocktails that matched our souls! She gave me the Carmen Amaya, which had Redemption Rye, Lustau Amontillado, Grand Marnier, Lemon Juice, Orange Bitters, and Basil. The drink was super refreshing and it was one of those cocktails where you can really taste the quality of the ingredients.
Next up were Chef Josh Hughes’ Canapés. These were three different appetizers that we all got to try. The popular Pork & Buns were fluffy buns filled with crispy pork belly and topped with pickled cucumbers. Buns are a recent love of mine, so I was so excited to see these included in our meal. We also got to try the Sudatchi Oysters…at least that’s what I’m calling them. They were so fancy that I honestly don’t know what they were called or what was in them. We each got one oyster that was topped with a citrus foam. The oysters were plated on a beautiful piece of wood atop a frozen towel to keep everything chilled. They were a little bite of heaven. Finally, we had a sashimi dish, which was placed on top of a dish steaming with liquid nitrogen. Again, one of the fanciest dishes I’ve had.
After the Chef’s Canapés we moved on to the remaining five courses (I know, so fancy). The first was the Korean Salmon, which was essentially a Salmon Tartar. One of my favorite things about this dinner is that pretty much all of the dishes (aside for the Pork & Buns) are things that I would not normally order on my own. I love salmon but don’t have a ton of experience with raw fish, so I was interested to try this dish.
The salmon was topped with Gochujang, which added just enough spice to the already flavorful salmon. There was also daikon, asian pear, some sesame seed clusters, and a piece of tempura lettuce. I know tempura lettuce sounds like the most boring thing ever, but even that part of the meal was amazing, so that’s saying something. I thought for sure this would be my favorite dish of the bunch… until we moved to the next one that is. The next dish was Sea Scallops with a sweet corn broth, small balls of tapioca, pickled plum, tempura okra and topped at the table with warm coconut broth.
I think this was actually my favorite. Again, I like scallops, but this isn’t necessarily a dish I would order off a menu for myself, but man would I be missing out. This dish was so creamy and amazing. The pickled plum added a surprising amount of flavor, so I did my best to get a little bit of everything in each bite. We all decided that we could basically just eat a whole bowl of the warm coconut broth as well.
Next was the Roasted Seabass, which was topped with Kung Pao Okra and fennel and placed on a bed of black jasmine rice. It was also topped with a yuzu tomato broth at the table. This came in a close second to the scallops. The Seabass was cooked perfectly and all of the flavors went beautifully together.
The final savory dish was Spiced Duck with a Cherry Hoison Glaze, and a bed of rice with Zephyr Squash and Pistachios. This was my first time ever having duck, surprisingly, I liked it a lot. Tessa described it as a mix between pork and chicken, and I definitely agree. The cherry glaze was also a surprising twist to the dish. I was so full at this point that I couldn’t actually finish this dish and I felt so bad because it was so pretty!
Even though I was stuffed, I of course somehow made room for dessert. Tonight it was two small pieces of chocolate. They weren’t your typical pieces of chocolate though, they were almost like mini little mousses, one chocolate and one raspberry. They were rich but also incredibly refreshing, made even more refreshing by the passion fruit ice cream they were served with.
If you couldn’t already tell by my musings thus far, this was one of the best dinners I’ve had. Each dish felt like so much time and thought went into it, and the service at Ãn was impeccable. I would definitely recommend you go check it out and try out a few of the things on the summer menu. Yes, its a little expensive, but for the quality of the food it is exactly what you would expect to pay. I will say that I would suggest trying some of the more adventurous things on the menu. I had been to Ãn once before and gotten the Ramen, and while it was good, I didn’t think it was anything amazing. However, after trying these dishes that were different from something you can get anywhere else, I felt that it was really something special.
Ãn Asian Cuisines
2800 Renaissance Rd, Cary, NC