The Pan Asian restaurant, Le Shio, opened up in the Fairfax Shopping Center on Concord pike back in January, so I convince a friend to meet me there for lunch a couple months after the restaurant's opening. I haven't seen her since. Hope she's not mad at me about the dining choice.
Dark and minimal describes the sleek, industrial black interior of Le Shio. A bar sits off in the front corner, a low wall bisects the middle, and a sushi bar resides on the back wall. Even in the daytime, Le Shio keeps the lights dimmed down low on their food.
The menu is extensive and spans many Asian cuisines, so making up your mind on what to order may be difficult. Most items have a vegetable or tofu option, and there's even a "wok self creation" where you choose the protein, vegetables, and sauce.
A 24-piece vegetarian maki sushi platter for $11 sounds too good to be true. And it is. The platter lacks the variety you find on standard vegetable sushi platters. You're given three maki rolls, each cut into eight pieces.
You'd do better ordering three vegetable maki rolls of your choice than having the choice be made for you. The platter had an avocado, cucumber asparagus and radish roll; avocado and cucumber roll; and oshinko roll. Order those three rolls a la cart for only $10.
Until now, I thought there was no way to make bad vegetable sushi, but Le Shio managed to do it. The maki rolls were loosely rolled, misshapen, and the rice on the outside of the nori was falling off.
Trying to up the fancy factor, Le Shio puts mixed greens in the Japanese carrot and ginger dressed salad. I prefer the crunch of classic iceberg in this situation with such a weighty dressing.
I have no idea what flavor the blue-green colored wrappers on the Chinese steamed vegetable dumplings is supposed to be. My guess is that these are not made in house (why would anyone make blue-green dumplings?), but are frozen. The chewy, hard edges also point to the dumplings being frozen.
Service at Le Shio with multiple servers tending to our table was atrocious. The worst of it was when one server actually swooped in and tried to wrestle the chopsticks out of my hand (no exaggeration) as I was packing up a to-go box, saying that they'd pack up the leftovers. No, it's too late. You lost your chance while you were tending some other table. Also, do not touch me.
Not impressed with my first visit, I waited about a month and stopped in for takeout to avoid a wrestling match, and to be able to see my food in the daylight. I was tempted to make my own wok creation, but those never come out as well as imagined, so decided to get pad Thai as a litmus test. It's not on the menu, but you can order pad Thai with tofu. Besides the standard mung bean sprouts, you'll also get a bevy of vegetables : carrots, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, baby corn, snap peas, and zucchini.
Le Shio's pad is one of the blandest I've had. If you like pad Thai funked up with fish sauce, you will not find it here. If you like pad Thai sweet and tangy, you won't find it here, either. It's noodle-y and Asian-esque, and that's about it. Now, there's nothing unpleasant about Le Shio's pad Thai — noodles, vegetables and tofu are cooked well — it's just bland.
The Balinese mango salad is advertised as coming with spicy chili dressing, but the dressing was only sweet.
It seems as though Le Shio is taking some shortcuts in the kitchen and dumbing down flavors. Reviews out there already are mixed with some in love and others not so much. My guess is that Le Shio has found favor with those who are comfortable with Asian cuisine only when it is toned down. This a strategy that will probably work for Le Shio.
Fairfax Shopping Center
2303 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803