Restaurant Review: Watercress Asian Bistro

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Why is it that most Chinese restaurants are stuck in the seventies?  They are covered floor to ceiling in black lacquer with orange flourishes and menus that haven’t been updated since 1972 either.  Well, lucky for Redmond, this is not the experience at Watercress Asian Bistro.  It has a very contemporary feel, friendly and attentive staff and a fusion menu with modern takes on classic Chinese dishes.

I’ve been meaning to get over to Watercress since they opened a few years ago.  I have friends who are regulars there since they have a gluten free menu.  They were very careful to help me find a dish without dairy too.  I was able to overhear the waitress talking with the chef about the ingredients of the specific dish I wanted, so I know they weren’t just telling me what I wanted to hear (you’d be surprised how often this happens).

As far as taste goes, I can’t say it’s in my top 5 of Redmond restaurants, but at least the food wasn’t deep fried and coated in msg and sugar.  I had a very fresh mango chicken dish with sticky brown rice.  The rice was cooked perfectly (brown seems hard for even Asian restaurants to get right) and there were lots of nice veggies in the dish.  Best of all, they didn’t skimp on the mango.  My only criticism is that something in the flavors didn’t quite go.  I’m not sure if it was the curry spices or just too many bell peppers.  Overall, though, the peas were crisp, the chicken tender and the mangoes sweet.

Most dishes at Watercress will set you back $11 to $15.  In my opinion, if they’re going to keep people coming in the door during the recession they may need to offer some dinner deals.  It’s not that I felt ripped off, I just think it’s getting hard to justify spending that kind of money when Redmond has so many other restaurants of the same quality with mains closer to $10.

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