50/Fifty Asian Fusion Cuisine, 201 N. Indian Hill Blvd. (at 2nd), Claremont
The new restaurant by the former owner of Bangkok Blue in La Verne, 50/Fifty opened in Februaryxx in Claremont’s Village West, in a space previously occupied by a wine shop. Relatively small, it’s got floor-to-ceiling windows along its frontage and a menu posted in the window, both inviting touches.
I met a couple of friends there for lunch recently. The atmosphere is quiet and restful. The color-sensitive one described the walls as pumpkin and the cloth napkins as coral. I’ll take her word for it.
“Asian fusion” seems like a misnomer; the dishes strike me as original spins on Thai and other Asian cuisines rather than true fusion. We got wok-fired Asian noodles ($12), Mandalay curry with chicken ($12) and Joyce’s beef and vegetable stew ($15). One or two bites into the latter, the foodie who ordered it said, “This is amazing!” And it was, the beef tender and flavorful. That dish might qualify as fusion since it’s a sort of American beef stew with Asian touches.
The noodles and curry weren’t amazing but were good. My accompanying brown rice was the best I’ve had. One had an Thai iced coffee and really liked it.
We shared some of our dishes, but I returned a week later on my own to get the stew for myself, and it was just as good as the previous week. I look forward to more meals here. The prices here are a couple of bucks too high, but this is Claremont’s high-rent district and thus understandable. The service was polite but too reserved.
My friends, who faced the windows, liked the view; someone had to have their back to the windows and that was me. They kept remarking on what was going on outside, such as a fellow diner who went outside to take a call and spat on the sidewalk. “I feel like I’m missing out,” I lamented.
“Is that orangutan going to slip on that banana peel?” one friend said by way of reply, pretending to look over my shoulder. “He might drop that wedding cake!”
I didn’t even turn around.