Taste of Asia, 2007 Foothill Blvd. (at D), La Verne.
Taste of Asia opened last year in the former Caribbean Gardens space in the small, ’70s vintage Oak Tree Center on the north side of Foothill and near the movie theaters. (It’s easy to overlook the center, but in a plus, the small parking lot is shaded by actual oak trees.)
Inside, Taste of Asia is modern and slightly upscale, although the paper rather than cloth napkins stuffed in the glasses will throw you off. The menu is mostly Thai but with some Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.
I’ve been there three times so far and expect to keep going. Everything I’ve had so far has been good: Steamed fish with lime ($9.95), with minced garlic and carrot, and lime sliced thin as communion wafers; yellow curry chicken ($8.95), yum seafood salad ($10.95), Vietnamese hand rolls ($5.95) and, most notably, off the “chef’s recommendations” list, tropical salmon ($14.95), which comes grilled on a bed of spinach and topped with mango, tomatoes and onions.
Yes, I love Mix Bowl in Pomona, but Taste of Asia is on a different order of magnitude, slow food rather than fast food.
It’s a family operation, and Chef Virada comes into the dining room every time to go table to table to chat with customers and make sure everyone is satisfied. Framed diplomas in the hallway to the restrooms show that she trained at a culinary school in Bangkok. But she was working at Bausch and Lomb before opening Taste of Asia.
“This is my dream, to have a restaurant,” she told me. We can all pinch ourselves and be happy her dream is our reality.