Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review: Dragonwell Asian Bistro


Last night I went to dinner at Sungari's Dragonwell Asian Bistro in Downtown Portland. If it weren't for the design of the website and the many positive reviews this restaurant received, I probably never would have agreed to go. The entrance of the restaurant is located directly in front of a MAX line stop, beside a tiny hole-in-the-wall 7-11 type store and the restaurant itself dark and mysterious...but we went and I do have to say it was worth it. 



One reviewer called this place has having "the best happy hour in Portland" and while my personal list of happy hour spots is not so vast I do have to agree the happy hour prices were fantastic. Everything on the Happy Hour Menu was between $1.00-$6.00.  The one downfall I found was the drinks were limited. While the bar had a BOOK of cocktails and wines, the happy hour menu consisted of four drinks. The House Pick white wine, red wine, cocktail and sake....all for only $5 yes, but you didn't get to choose. Go with the " - of the day" or pay normal costs ($10+)


So I went ahead and had the "Happy Tail" of the evening - Mai Tai (my first). A little on the sweet side but still good nonetheless.


In the end we ordered a small variety of food - hot & sour soup, Vietnamese salad rolls (with pork and shrimp), the Shrimp Trio Sushi Roll, and the appetizer sampler (bbq pork, fried shrimp, spring rolls, and some dried out slivers of beef...can't remember what they called it). 

Vietnamese Salad Rolls


Appetizer sampler


Shrimp Trio Sushi
I do regret not having a better camera on me at the time - all I had was my phone and in the dimly lit restaurant you can see the pictures didn't turn out the best. So with a little websearching I was able to find a nice collection of food/drink photos. 



Is this my new favorite-must-take-everyone-I-know to place?  Probably not. But if I'm looking for some quality Asian-style food in a tad swankier of an establishment I'm sure I'll be headed to the Dragonwell Asian Bistro. 

After all any restaurant whose website has a little history lesson and myths/legends is bound to find a soft spot in my heart. 

"The legend of the Dragon Well: ...Sungari refers to the third largest river in China.... The Dragon Well is located in the FengHuang Mountain, the SW of West Lake China. With green mountains, a clear spring, verdant trees and quite environment, it is a natural scenic spot with wild flavor in the West Lake Tourist Zone. The Dragon Well consists of Dragon Well Village, Dragon Well Temple and Dragon Well Tea. Their names originated from the Dragon Well Spring. The spring is one of the three famous springs. The spring comes from the rock and its water is clean and free from pollution.

The Myth: Along with the legend of the well being connected to the sea there is also a story behind the dragon well. The most popular story explaining the orgins of the Dragon Well is of a Taoist priest living in the area around AD 250 who told farmers to end their drought by praying to a dragon who lived in a nearby well. The rains came and the well became famous. The Dragon Well Monastery still stands next to the well. Even until today it is said that when you visit the well and swirl your hands in the pool of water a twisted swirl or dragon-like effect appears deep within the water then disappears. It is believed that this is caused when dense, underground water is stirred and raised to the surface to mix with a lighter density ground water. The dense water then sinks again. You have to see it to believe it. Locals have a story that the well is connected underground with the sea and that a dragon lives within. Perhaps that's what is really going on...."

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