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Thursday September 21, 2017
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Crown Jewel

 

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The West End's imaginative starters reflect the restaurant's straddling of traditional and Asian-influenced culinary worlds. Sesame Tuna features sashimi-grade Hawaiian Ahi coated in black and white sesame seeds, seared rare with a sesame seaweed salad, wasabi, and soy sauce. The presentation was beautiful, and the tuna melted effortlessly in the mouth, neatly contrasted by the crunch of the sesame seeds. Another Eastern appetizer, an occasional special, featured chili-lime grilled shrimp served over garlic buttered udon noodles, a sweet-hot concoction that practically sang on my palate. Nothing could have better symbolized the marriage of eastern and western cuisine than good ol' butter on those slurpy Asian noodles.

The veal dumplings appetizer purported to be east by southwest, being described on the printed menu as "a blend of ground veal, roasted corn, fresh spinach and Chinese chili sauce wrapped in wonton skins, pan fried and served with a southwest salsa." But the corn, spinach, and chili were noticeably scant, and the chunky tomato sauce (with unbilled cremini mushrooms) tasted decidedly Tuscan. Still, I moaned with each flavorful bite of hot, juicy veal as I pondered the difference between a wonton wrapper and ravioli. (Not much, though ravioli dough may have slightly higher egg content.)

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