Asian bistro in Colorado Springs boasts huge menu but panang curry shines

By Robin Intemann Updated: July 5, 2017 at 11:20 am • Published: July 5, 2017 0

With a continent the size of Asia, it's no wonder the menu at Mikado Asian Bistro is expansive. It represents many familiar and not-so well-known Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes associated with the Far East.

Along with standards such as sweet-and-sour entrees and Kung Pao options, and the ubiquitous General Tso's chicken, there are two pages of sushi, rolls, sashimi and nigari. That's in addition to tempura, teriyaki, Thai curries, chicken pockets (i.e. lettuce wraps) and more.

I had hoped for a little help from our server, but she would only agree that there are a lot of decisions to make. Eventually, she conceded that the panang curry ($12.95) is one of the more popular items.

After the Lion King ($11.95) and Boston ($6) rolls, I ordered the panang curry. It comes, as do most entrees, with soup, salad and rice. My hot-and-sour soup was tangy but not particularly spicy. The wonton soup was predictable. Neither soup deviated from the customary versions. The salad was a small bowl of iceberg lettuce, with adornments such as tomato and shredded carrots. The splash of pale orange dressing was initially off-putting but had a pleasant taste.

Our rolls arrived while we were finishing the soups. They were playfully colorful thanks to the ingredients. The Lion King featured crab and avocado wrapped in rice and topped with baked salmon and eel sauce. The Boston is a variation of a California roll with shrimp added to the avocado. My ability to eat sushi like a pro, or at least be discreet in the mess I make, leaves a lot to be desired. I clearly need to keep trying.

I was glad I followed our server's reluctant suggestion. The panang curry was creamy with a well-balanced amount of crunch in fresh vegetables: pieces of green and red peppers, celery root and onion. This was offset by the soft potato cubes and tomato slices. The sprigs of Thai basil provided a pleasing licorice flavor that melded with the coconut milk base of the sauce. Although I wasn't asked my preference of heat level, I appreciated the flavors nonetheless.

Eye-catching grill marks on the beef teriyaki ($16.95) made for an impressive presentation. The meat was served on a bed of steamed vegetables including baby corn, which always makes us laugh and want to play with the food. We resisted the temptation. The beef was tender, but without a knife to cut the large portions, it was unwieldy. It was easy to eat with chopsticks, except it felt a little barbaric tearing off bites with my teeth. This did not overshadow the sweet and savory tastes imparted by the caramelized sauce, though.

Mikado Asian Bistro is in a stand-alone building on the city's far north side. The interior is a bit jarring as contemporary sleek meets old-school trite. The d├ęcor features a lot of glass and stainless steel with nods to Asian culture. Colorful paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, along with a few paper balloons with Mother's Day wishes. Several models of clipper ships, a large TV in the bar space and a small retail area just inside the front door complete the setting. Two towers of stored wine bottles near the center of the restaurant command attention. The lounge music over the speakers did nothing to set a mood.

Water glasses were kept full, and different servers brought different dishes. Although it came across as perfunctory, service was carried out with smiles.

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