The Malaysian Crispy Chicken lunch special — a toss of deep-fried chicken in sweet chili sauce — is served with organic green salad and jasmine rice. [Mail Tribune / Nick Morgan]

New flavors and decor at renovated Asian Grill

The newly reopened and fully renovated Asian Grill in Medford serves Pan-Asian cuisine in a stylish environment.

I've found lots to like during my two visits for lunch at the restaurant located in the Blue Sky Plaza at 1250 Biddle Road. There's a menu with more than a dozen entrees, including uncommon Asian fusion choices and Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean favorites. The restaurant's been at the shopping center since 2000, but it's at an all-new spot after making way for Men's Wearhouse last year.

I brought my dad for a visit Sunday, and we found the spot to be a perfect reprieve from the holiday shopping hustle and bustle. With vegetarian options and familiar favorites such as Teriyaki Chicken among more adventurous curries, there should be something for any palate and diet. Dad, however, found the dozen-plus plate choices a little daunting. 

Our server highlighted some choices for first-timers, such as the char-grilled Teriyaki Beef and deep-fried offerings such as Orange Sesame Chicken. He went for the Crispy Fish ($11.50), which featured strips of Alaskan cod "egg flash-fried" with a texture similar to tempura. Each plate comes with jasmine or brown rice and one of three veggie sides.

I found what I was looking for in the Malaysian Crispy Chicken ($9.50). It featured strips of chicken breast cooked in a similar fashion as Dad's fish, but lightly tossed in a sweet chili sauce with green onions, cilantro and diced peppers. I thought it had a well-prepared mix of flavors.

I enjoyed the side of jasmine rice and the organic mixed green salad with a soy dressing and cherry tomatoes, but on another visit I discovered I prefer the tangy cucumber salad with its mix of onions, cilantro and lime juice. Curious about the restaurant's noodle dishes, I tried the Chicken Pad Thai ($9.50), which I found to be delicious. The noodles were thinner than typical, closer to angel hair than the linguine size I usually see, but the ground chicken and peanut sauce were so fresh that I quickly saw things their way.

On one visit I started with Tiger Rolls ($3), a fried spring roll wrapper containing a blend of crab meat and cream cheese served with a side of sweet chili sauce. I'm hooked on its mix of crispy and creamy textures, and I'd definitely order it again.

At another time, I tried their pot stickers, pan-fried and seared on one side in Chinese restaurant fashion. They were nicely arranged with a side of soy sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds, but the Tiger Rolls are the standouts.

Diners looking to eat well at a bargain price will like Asian Grill's lunch menu, served until 5 p.m. every day, with combo-plate prices that hover in the neighborhood of $10. The dinner menu has a broader selection, such as grilled Curry Basil Salmon ($17). Dinner entrees are about $15 apiece, with many starters below $10.

Cementing my favorable impression was an elegant, modern and sparkling clean environment.

The dark floors gleam under LED spot lighting, while silver bamboo wallpaper, gray tile and paint and bright-green upholstered chairs softly lighten the dining area. Clean lines and natural textures abound. Soft surfaces prevent the Zen minimalism from feeling Spartan. It's an upscale look that surpasses its strip-mall exterior, though that location means plenty of parking.

Waitstaff look crisp in all-black ensembles, and even simple dishes are served handsomely arranged on white rectangular plates. Compared to many Asian-style restaurants in the Medford area with dining areas that are merely serviceable, Asian Grill has an absolute strength.

Asian Grill's mix of fair prices, interesting dishes and elegant style checks every box. It's open for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Find them online at asiangrillmedford.com or call 541-608-7115.

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