Asian fusion cuisine has been a fad that has lasted over a decade or more. Pink Pepper is no different, but has lasted in the “Valley of the Sun” for over 30 years! Just recently, they had a much needed remodeling and update. Asian Fusion meets Pink Pepper, thus the fresh and new Asian Fusion Pink Pepper had a grand re-opening in 2017! With the help of one of the premiere local valley Asian American artist, Gary Hostallero; Asian Fusion Pink Pepper was brought into the modern era with an open environment along with some traditional art and of course Gary’s personal work on display.
The Viet Lifestyle Magazine family was formally welcomed to dine with new owner Nathan Chanthavong and manager James Leckey. Sue Leckey, James’s wife help run the kitchen. Nathan has been in the US for about 10 years before that he was living in Thailand. Nathan’s entrepreneurial spirit made him want to bring traditional Thai food to the valley with his own take. When he saw the opportunity to take on the challenge of remaking the valley’s long standing restaurant; Pink Pepper, he did so with vigor and passion!
As we were greeted and seated by our host, we were in awe at the look and feel of the restaurant; spacious and the decorations were to be admired. The menu was well laid out as we salivated to order our food. For our appetizers we started with the following:
• Stuffed Shrimp: whole shrimp stuffed inside a egg roll wrapped and served with a side of sweet and sour sauce
• Crag Rangoon: Cream cheese & imitation crab meat wrapped in a wonton shell served with a side of sweet and sour sauce
• Neua Nam Tok: Flat iron steak mixed with ground rice, onions, scallions, mint, cilantro, chili powder, fish sauce and lemon juice served with a wedge of cabbage
• Sugarcane Chicken Wraps: Minced chicken meatballs , onion, ginger, roasted peanuts and bell peppers wrapped into a roll and skewered with a sugarcane and fried then served with lettuce, cucumbers, vermicelli and a side of peanut sauce
• Yum Kung Shrimp Salad: Shrimp mixed with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, mint, cilantro, scallions tossed in house dressing
My favorite starter was the Neua Nam Tok. The flat iron steak is a premium ingredient that is well noted. It was tender and cooked to the right temperature to allow the flavors to accompany the mix vegetables while the fish and lemon juice brought out a sour and sweet taste. The cabbage which is used as the wrap gave this appetizer a much needed crunch.
Second had to the Shrimp Salad and Sugarcane Chicken Wraps. The shrimp salad was refreshing and just a slight hint of spice to give it some kick; it reminded me of a ceviche actually. The Sugarcane Chicken Wrap was a fun dish as it came in a round plate while a fiery cauldron was placed in the middle so that you may grill the chicken.
After a fun start, we proceeded to order our entrees:
• Drunken Noodles: Stir fried rice noodles with shrimp, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, basil & chili garlic sauce
• Happy Family: Combo of shrimp, beef, chicken, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli & jalapenos in house special brown sauce
• Volcano Shrimp: Grilled jumbo shrimp atop baby bok choy and napa cabbage topped with house three flavored sauce
• Red Curry with Duck: Crispy fried duck topped with bamboo shoots, bell peppers, carrots & basil in red creamy coconut milk
• Basil Mixed Seafood: Shrimp, scallops, calamari and green tipped mussels mixed and stir fried with onions, bell peppers & basil in a brown sauce
• Crispy Chicken with Spicy Cream Sauce: Chicken dipped and lightly battered; fried until crispy then served on top of a bead of mixed vegetables and drizzled with spicy cream sauce
My favorite entree of the night had to be the house special Crispy Chicken with Spicy Cream Sauce. This dish had a small element of an Orange Chicken, but with a cream and spicy punch. The battered and fried chicken was doused with a spicy sauce which caramelized as it was being fried giving it a crunch! The caramelization also helped lock in the moisture of the chicken allowing it to cook to perfection. The extra spicy cream sauce as it describes; provided a creamy texture and it definitely had a kick!
Second place for me had to be the Drunken Noodles and the Volcano Shrimp. Who doesn’t like Drunken Noodles; with a name like that it seemed like a pretty good night! The noodles were soft to the bite and had a hint of sweetness while the vegetable provided a healthy crunch ending with a spicy kick from the chili garlic sauce. The Volcano Shrimp was indeed in a volcano like shape. The jumbo shrimp was very meaty and blanketing a bed of napa and baby bok choy containing the heat and layered with a chunky sweet and sour sauce.
In the end, Asian Fusion Pink Pepper has renewed itself to cater to the mainstream population. A fresh spacious view, artistic displays, and the use of premium ingredients like all natural chicken and flat iron steak to bring value and love to their menu. I welcome Asian Fusion Pink Pepper to the modern age! There’s lot to be excited about since their grand re-opening, many still view it as the old Pink Pepper with a buffet bar. With that out of the way, there’s only room for growth and prosperity to come. – Enjoy!
Asian Fusion Pink Pepper
1941 W. Guadalupe Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85202