In the Graduate Hospital area, I highly recommend Bistro Southeast for their Asian-inspired sandwiches at more-than affordable prices. You definitely get the sense that it's a family-owned business, with long ties to the Philadelphia food scene. In fact, owner Troy Eap's sister owns highly regarded Artisan Boulanger in South Philly. So when Troy (pictured on the bottom right) invited me down to check out the distinct dinner menu, there was no hesitation on my part!
Simply designed, there are plenty of tables at Bistro Southeast for diners to enjoy their amalgamation of Southeast Asian and Cajun flavors - Casian, if you will!
Shrimp Summer Roll [$5.95]
The GF came along for the ride this time and she was so glad she did. We started off with the summer rolls, which featured crisp veggies, fragrant herbs, and snappy shrimp. They came with a duo of hoisin and mint cilantro sauces. Wonderful start to the meal.
The Thai sweet chili wings are a must order in my mind and possibly better than the ones at Cheu Noodle Bar. Perfectly crisp, with some kick to the Thai chili sauce, the cilantro helped to cut through the sticky sweetness of each bite.
1 lb. shrimp, 1 lb. clams, sausage, corn, potatoes
If you're stopping by for dinner, you obviously have to try one of their boils. Potatoes, corn, sausage, shrimp and/or clams are steamed together with butter, garlic, and Casian spices to maintain moistness and optimal seasoning. The potatoes still had bite and the sausage had wonderful snap to it. The clams were perfect little morsels of butter and brine, but the star of the boil was the head-on shrimp. The juicy bits of head fat were inundated with that buttery Casian flavor. A squirt of lime to provide some acid and countervailing balance? Heaven. Not exactly date food because you'll require multiple napkins and wetnaps, but what better way to test whether you're with the right person?
Fried Cheesecake [$6.95]
Asian restaurants aren't known for their desserts, but I appreciated that Bistro Southeast tries with their deep-fried cheesecake. Crisply fried and not overly doughy, the cheesecake still maintained its consistency within. Dragonfruit slices and rambutan provided some light and subtly sweetness as well.
So if you're in the Graduate Hospital area or are craving Cajun flavors, be sure to check out Bistro Southeast! If you see Troy, don't hesitate to chat him up because he's a joy to speak with and will treat you like family.Pro-tip: If you check in on Facebook or Yelp, there's a 10% discount as well.