French-Chinese Fusion

The stoic horse statue of P.F. Chang’s might overwhelm you with its commanding size and authenticity. The animal statues that flank the entrance to Euro Asian will tease your curiosity with its mysteriousness. Although they may appear a bit unfriendly, they assure you are safe and at home. You might think they are lions, dragons or even dogs. They are actually Kirins (Qilin in Chinese), one of the four auspicious animals in Chinese mythology, along with the dragon, the phoenix and the turtle. Standing in front of them, you may wonder what’s going on behind them. Curiosity leads you to the glass door, and you are greeted with the warm smiles of the courteous wait staff.

Quick Tour of the Eatery

The two handcrafted wooden and cement divine animals on the exterior of the restaurant are just an introduction to this uniquely designed and decorated restaurant. The interior, which seats a maximum of 165 people, is divided into two main dining rooms. To the left is the bar, which is also used as a lounge-type dining room, perhaps for couples on a date or those looking to watch sports on one of their four plasma televisions. In this room, the lights are set lower and the bar is only feet away. High-backed leather chairs are seated around dark wooden tables set with chopsticks placed on ceramic holders that are used to keep them off the table.

The main dining room contains the sushi bar and is split into a bi-level arrangement. Many unique decorations add personality and color to the room. On the right side, three stairs lead up to an elevated balcony containing four tables positioned on a striped bamboo floor. A trellis with intertwined dried leaf canopies is positioned over three tables on the left side of the room while bamboo sticks covered in cotton are used to separate the dark wooden tables from other diners on the raised platform.

The ceiling, painted in colorful yellows, blues and greens, is carved into intricate recessed shapes. Adjacent to the main dining room is a traditional Japanese room used for private parties. Here diners must remove their shoes and sit on the floor with their feet in a well under the table. The floor, table and chairs in this room are all carved from bamboo imported from China. This unique room creates an authentic Japanese environment for those looking to host a birthday, office party or special occasion.

In the spring and summer, Euro Asian offers outdoor seating along the sidewalk, facing the lounge area. The floor-to-ceiling double doors open up to connect the outdoor patio to the restaurant, and offer diners the ability to enjoy their meal outside.

Glimpse of the Menu

Menus must be delicately designed. Food photographs entice, and a brief introduction of each dish helps dinners to order wisely. Since Euro Asian chefs like to integrate seasonal produce with their food, it might surprise you if you ask for anything special for the season. Salad with specialty Asian fruits such as lychee and longan is included in this category. Not limited to the salad section, these charismatic oriental fruits also show off their versatility in wine and drinks. Ice cubes cool you down, and fruity drinks cheer you up. They will make you forget about the heat at the other side of the drapes.

Euro Asian’s menu offers a selection of 16 appetizers, which does not include the three soups and seven salads. The starters include everything from the more traditional Asian dishes such as edamame or dumplings to unique twists such as the Thai Crab Cake or Asian Way Pizza—a thin pancake topped with tuna, onion and a creamy sauce. The salad portions are plentiful and offer more than the traditional greens. For example, the Spicy Kani Salad contains thin strips of crabmeat and cucumber tossed in a spicy orange mayonnaise sauce. Served in a bamboo leaf and presented in a doughnut-hole shaped bowl, this crunchy salad whets your appetite for the next course.

The entrées are divided into three sections. Eleven meat- and fish-based main dishes range from $18 to $33, and feature Prawns Tempura and Cod. Their most popular entrées are the Kobe Steak, which is sold at market price and the Chilean Sea Bass, which is steamed and served with a ginger scallion sauce.

The remainder of the entrées are sushi items. Diners have a choice between an assortment of sashimi and sushi rolls or one of the chef’s signature rolls. For those who just want a roll on the side or a few pieces of sashimi to tide you over before the main course, Euro Asian offers a large selection of rolls and sashimi a la carte. The sashimi ranges from three to six dollars and includes spicy tuna, eel and Alaskan king crab. All sashimi is served with grated white radish, wasabi and soy sauce. One tip to share: you can select your desired ingredients, and what you will have is customized. Along with the homemade sauce, which takes three days to prepare, the treat will make you heady.

The Paradise Roll is also a pleasant surprise. Served on a clear rectangular dish, the eight pieces are filled with spicy lobster, shrimp, banana tempura and sprouts, and arrived covered with a banana leaf. All in all, the signature rolls seem to be the best deal for the main course. Containing well-presented, unique combinations of ingredients, these rolls are satisfying, flavorful and filling.

The drinks are outstanding, with two separate menus, one for cold wine and sake and the other for mixed drinks, hot sake, beer and aged liquors. Euro Asian’s drink menu contains more than 12 cold sake choices, including Asian pear, raspberry, peach and mandarin orange. Also, the mixed drinks are unique twists on traditional cocktails. The menu contains nine different varieties of saketini, which range in flavors from Orange Kiss to Green Coconut.

A bottle of cold Oregon-produced Asian Pear Sake is enough for a table of three or four to share. The sake is served in a glass decanter kept cold using a cavity in the side of the carafe, which held the ice so as not to dilute the sake. Small shot glasses served with shredded cucumber inside are provided for each of the drinkers. The sake has a delicate pear flavor and is quite thirst-quenching, an interesting Japanese alternative to Western grape-based wine.

Restaurant Conception

The sculptures that guard the entrance reveal the cultural identity of the man in charge of the place. Michael Cheng, owner of nine restaurants, never wonders away from his Chinese cultural background in terms of creating dining ambiance. Paintings, calligraphy and wood carvings have their Chinese voice, just like the food speaks Asian and French. Cheng came to America in 1981, and at the age of 20, he opened his first restaurant, which has persevered through the years that he established the other eight eateries until now. However, Euro Asian is Cheng’s first establishment in New York.

Asked about how he came up with the concept of French-Chinese cuisine, Cheng attributes it to a discussion he had with friends in the foodservice industry, which let him see the feasibility of fusing two grand cuisines from the East and West. Cheng has positioned Euro Asian as an upscale French-style Chinese restaurant, which is a revolutionary concept in the Chinese restaurant industry. A large number of Chinese restaurants win customers with low prices. However, profit shrinks greatly as cost of operation soars. It is a headache for many restaurateurs. Euro Asian is part of Cheng’s effort to boost sales and meanwhile promote Chinese food.

“Food, cooking food, presenting food and enjoying food is art. It’s a matter of how you look at it,” said Cheng, as he picks up an ivory-colored plate, and continues with his art argument, “this plate is small but can you imagine how many art works it held and will hold.” Cheng’s confidence in his food originates with his partners in the kitchen. Every course prepared by Euro Asian chefs is special and each course is worth a try. Cheng shares his favorite list: Euro Kobe Steak, Steam Chilean Seabass and Mille Feuillie Toro.

A notebook is always available in the dining hall for customers to write down complaints or suggestions, which are talked about at the meeting Cheng holds every Monday with all the staff. Art is not fancy, and the art of restaurant operation requires attentiveness to diners like a grand symphony that never turns its back on what the audience’s ears and heart need. “I cherish every single word from my customers, rave or complaint, “says Michael Cheng.

30 Westchester Ave.
Port Chester, NY 10573
Tel: (914) 937-3680

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