One beautiful Saturday afternoon, I met fellow Tallahassee blogger Brie, who writes Le Grand Fromage, at Azu - Lucy Ho's latest concept restaurant. If it was anything like Masa, one of my favorite joints in town, I would be totally psyched. However, I knew it was the replacement restaurant for the former Lucy Ho's located near the I-10 overpass and Kaiser University. Hubby and I had eaten there once when we first moved here because we had a hankerin' for some good Chinese food. Sadly, all of our chicken dishes were made with dark meat and hubby's tummy didn't feel so good after our visit (insert frownie face here). So, I was hoping that with Azu would come some major improvements.
Posted by Tally Foodie Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The first improvement was their location - Azu is more centrally located off of Apalachee Parkway. The second improvement was the interior of the restaurant. All I can remember about Lucy Ho's were some sticky vinyl tablecloths and flimsy furniture. Azu is decked out in substantial mahogany wood tables and cherry wood chairs. The wood paneled floor, beige and maroon walls and colorful accents also add to the class of the joint. And I personally love the bamboo stalk and Samurai wall. Just cause it makes me smile. I mean, come on, look at those little guys!
Now down to brass tacks, or wonton soup, in this case. It was time to sample the food. Brie and I both decided to order a lunch bento box because of the amount of food we would be able to sample. Each bento box comes with a vegetable, spring roll, noodles, fried rice and side dish of the day, which today was crab rangoon - all for just $8.00! For my bento box, I selected the General Tsao's Chicken and Brie chose the Cashew Chicken.
On the whole, our meals were delicious. The crab rangoon was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The shells of the spring rolls were light and crispy, the veggies inside were flavorful and the sweet and sour sauce was perfectly balanced with a tart kick. The noodles were coated in a light oil that didn't weigh the dish down, and the fried rice (while not extraordinary) was respectable. I was delightfully happy eating my General Tsao's chicken, which was slightly sweet, slightly spicy, with a pleasantly crunchy batter, just the way I like it - until I cut one of the bigger pieces in half. It was then that I noticed I was eating dark meat. Now, I know that some people genuinely like dark meat, but I am certainly not one of them. To me, it's just a bit slimier, saltier and somehow gamey-er than white meat. Now, Brie's cashew chicken seemed to be white meat - and I'm assuming that's because, unlike mine, it wasn't hidden beneath any batter. I then began to notice that quite a few of my pieces were also slightly fatty. I'm not sure why Azu couldn't spring for all-white meat chicken in ALL of their dishes, but I have to say it tainted my experience just a bit. Brie, on the other hand, proceeded to consume all of her cashew chicken without one complaint.
All in all, I had a rather enjoyable lunch. We got a lot of food, for just a little price. The service was outstanding. I got to meet a fellow blogger and friend with whom I've been exchanging blog comments and emails for almost a year. And I got my Chinese food fix. It's worth mentioning that Azu also has a rather sizeable sushi and sashimi menu as well (just like Masa), which I've sampled during other visits and it holds up to the standard that Masa has set. Now, if I could just convince them to stop using dark chicken meat - we'd be BFFs.
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - A
Taste - B+ (I'm knocking them for the dark meat)
Presentation - A
Service - A
Price - $
3220 Appalachee Parkway
Tallahassee FL 32311