Savor Euro-Asian Flavor at Potstickers Asian Grill 302-731-0188


Press & Awards

Potstickers stands apart from its uninspired competition.

By Eric Ruth, The News Journal

The News Journal

Through the years, we have grown to accept a certain ying-meets-yang philoophy when it comes to East Asain restaurants, whether they are Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Thai.

We love the food. We tolerate everything else.

At most of these restaurants, servers tend to be plainly inexperienced, indifferently brusque and minimally fluent, oblivious to any desire for graciousness or unhurried charm. Menus avoid anything resembling helpful descriptions. Decors are usually dated and dusty, with a 70's design sensibility, complete with careworn seats, wobbly tables and flimsy napkins.

Thankfully, places like Potstickers Asian Grill are working hard to change all that.

Suburban strip mall Asian dining doesn't have to be just gooey moo goo gai pan and cheesy dragon sculptures; it can also be impeccably executed modern decor with fresh-tasting food. It can bring us elegant banquettes and pleasant servers who bring inventive "Euro-Asian" interpretations of dishes that, even when they lack a little fire and sass, take chances and ignore some rules.

Suburbia – and the legions of reluctant suburbanites waiting for a seat at the Red Lobster next door – need more places like Potstickers. Instead of fresh-from-the-freezer seafood, they can get a decent mix of suhi and sashimi, some invigorating rolls and entrees that are at least titillating, even when they are not perfect.

Potstickers shows itself at its best with the potstickers themselves – especially the delicate spinach-and-shrimp dumplings or the meaty seared pork with Napa cabbage.

The sushi assortment is minimal, but well executed and tender – seared salmon, tuna and albacore are excellent.

Even better, the suburban masses now have a place where the stylish and sophisticated decor surpasses its strip-mall setting, a place for invigorating cocktails (try the aromatic lychee martini) and a relaxing evening far from the chain mentality. But even as Potstickers does a great job emulating the aesthetics of fusion cuisine, it can struggle capturing the substance and complexity that is high fusion's true characteristic.

Entrees reach for offbeat concepts, and deliver solid execution, but too often show a timid character. Duck “Two Ways” ($21) delivers a nicely seared and tender breast along with shredded meat in mixed vegetables, but the “Jack Daniels hoisin sauce” is just too sweet and too one-dimensional to add elegance. A supremely tender and perfectly charred filet mignon ($24) comes with a nice plum wine demiglace, a Napa cabbage potato cake and a pasty, oddly mealy topping that's supposed to be a wasabi “crust,” but which fails to deliver any heat or attitude.

It's that tentative approach that keeps Potstickers just short of being the sophisticated, modern restaurant it aims to be. A perfectly cooked chunk of black cod ($23) is flaky and tender, and its miso-and-pomegranate glaze has a nicely sweet-and-salty personality, through it's one that is shy on zest and depth. Panko-crusted crab cakes with a cream sauce of lemon grass and corn is an appealing take on a local classic, even if the crab cakes suffer from a soggy crust and pasty texture.

It's best to view such shortcomings in the context of all Potstickers brings, and all the fine things it is trying to do. Even when the desserts deliver a few humdrum moments – from the uncrusted and unsensual creme brulee to the under-ripe and unappealing fried bananas with ice cream – Potstickers deserves a lot of credit for at leasst reaching for elegance, even if it sometimes falls short. In a way, it's just the kind of East Asian restaurant we have been waiting for, even when we realize we still may have to wait a little longer for it all to work right.

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