For some odd reason we crave Asian food around the holidays. (Too many cookies?)
We decided to try the cute Asian Star located in a small plaza on Seneca Street near the Southgate Plaza.
The comfy dining room has booths and tables divided by screens for privacy.
In addition to its a la carte menu, Asian Star offers a “House Specials” menu with combination dinners for one, two, three, etc. Dinners come with an eggroll, choice of soup, entrées and white rice. It’s the way to go on a budget.
Depending on the number of diners, entrée choices vary from Group A and B. For instance, two people get one from A, one from B. Three get two from A, one B. Four get two from A, two from B, and so on. Dinner for one is $13.95/$11.25 (single A or B choice), dinner for two is $22.50; three, $33.75; four, $44.95 up to eight for $89.95 with four entrees from each group.
Group A includes tried and true dishes like General Tso’s chicken and beef with garlic sauce, but also Mongolian beef, Thai curry or pad Thai. Group B includes usual suspects like sweet and sour chicken, chicken or pork with mixed vegetables, chicken with cashews, moo shu (chicken, pork or vegetable) and the like.
Diners can puzzle out choices while eating those crunchy things with duck dipping sauce.
Beverage options include pop, wine, beer and big pots of good tea, including wild orange decaf.
Our meal started with a good standard egg roll followed by a soup choice — wonton, egg drop or hot and sour.
Delicate wontons came in nice sized cup of hot (temperature) chicken broth. The mushroom/meaty broth of the hot and sour soup had a slight kick, with enough sour to set it off. Again the usual, but satisfying.
The Asian Star special chicken was a sweetish dish with plenty of chicken and vegetables (including interesting mushrooms) in a darker sauce with a spicy heat. The pad Thai was a pretty plate of noodles with plenty of vegetables and chicken, garnished with a side of chopped peanuts and fresh lime wedges.
The pork fried rice was solid, as was the white rice. Both did the job of soaking up sauces.
Asian Star’s large menu features a range of cuisine styles: Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese. For research purposes, we added Thai mango chicken ($12.50).
While our standard entrees were very good, the Thai mango was the star with lots of beautiful vegetables — sweet peppers, sweet peas, zucchini — along with thick slices of mango that gave a nice fresh citrus slant to the dish. Diners can request levels of heat. Our “little spicy” (listed on the receipt) was just hot enough. With rice, the dish would easily feed two.
Asian Star prepared all our dishes with care, and served them with pretty garnishes on simple white plates. While we went the cheap route, Asian Star’s presentation made our dinner a little more special with these touches.
With a practiced eye, our friendly waiter supplied exactly enough containers for our leftovers, along with a plate of fresh sliced oranges and fortune cookies. “Love is the affinity which links and draws together elements of the world,” one read.
Just the right words to take us into the New Year.
4060 Seneca St., West Seneca (675-9888)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
More: Online ordering. Lunch specials until 3 p.m.