I recently traveled to San José, California for work and did not get to visit any of the many Asian restaurants except for a musty Japanese place that smelled like old socks. On the way back to Miami I was wondering where I could go to make up for this faux pas and Lan Pan Asian Café crossed my mind – it had been a while since my last visit. So when I got home, and the little chicken suggested that we go there, I thought it was a sign.
The restaurant looked very different – it was completely renovated since the last time I was there. Same layout but new tables and chairs gave it an airy, more modern look than before.
We started with the Glazed Spare Ribs caramelized in a sweet chili sauce. These were good-looking, slightly spicy and pleasantly tangy according to the little chicken as I did not get to taste them. I could smell the aroma of the ribs from across the table where I was sitting, but she was not in a sharing mood.
Miss J. ordered the Asian Nachos – Crispy wontons topped with shredded braised pork, chopped avocado, tomato, and cilantro cream. “Who orders nachos in an Asian restaurant?” I asked myself while wondering what the picture would look like. After tasting them, they were quite good, to my amazement.
The Filipino Rice Bowl has been a favorite of the chickens for a long time – garlic fried rice topped with braised pork, fried sunny-side-up egg, and pickled onions. I was always reticent to try it because of the egg, which I thought was runny. The little one was willing to share this bowl as she was full from eating all the ribs. The flavor was nothing short of magnificent – what have I been missing all these years? This ensemble of ingredients was genius, and the egg was slightly creamy, not runny – the perfect texture. Mixing it all up also brought an odd joy to the eyes and tasting it put a smile on my face.
My main was the Red Curry Beef – skirt steak, sweet potato, onion, mushroom, snow peas, and spinach simmered in a red curry broth, served with rice. This dish looked terrific upon arrival at the table – it was one of the most beautiful curries I have ever seen; love at first sight without even tasting it. I was almost blinded by the vivid colors of the red peppers and snow peas and flabbergasted by the bold and vibrant flavor of this dish. It was a generous serving and did not finish the whole thing at the restaurant. The rest was eaten later at home with a big-ass serving spoon with the remaining brown rice.
The Garlic Beef Tataki was also lovely – seared skirt steak served over spinach with garlic, scallion, and daikon radish; soy broth, and served with rice.
Chicken Katsu & Potstickers are dishes that are always winners with the kids – the katsu, chicken breast dusted with breadcrumbs and lightly fried, came with a sweet and sour sauce and was great. The potstickers were filled with chicken and mushroom, pan seared and served with a garlic-soy dipping sauce.
California Roll & Lan Salad – Crab and avocado rolled in rice and sesame. The Lan Salad was another pretty dish – field greens, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrots, cilantro-ginger vinaigrette.
For dessert, the girls had Bubble Teas with rainbow jelly which they seemed to enjoy.
Lan Pan Asian Café is one of my favorite restaurants in this area. The service is warm and friendly, the menu is very diverse with dishes from Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea. Most importantly, the food is guaranteed to make you happy.
Lan Pan Asian Café
8332 S Dixie Hwy
Miami, FL 33143