Trying out the Asian food in Halethorpe

1309 Francis Ave., Halethorpe, (410) 737-8128, american-asian.net

Perhaps because Catonsville seems to be the hub of first-class Vietnamese food, not to mention the food-shopping paradise that is H Mart, our prospects for Asian food in neighboring Halethorpe were good. This unassuming store (in an obscure strip mall-surprise, surprise) serves Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine with admirable, if uneven, aplomb. We recommend sticking with Thai, but the sushi looks promising too. Though plenty of the bubblegum-pink chairs in the restaurant were available, we ordered carryout. The combination platter costs only $8.95 and includes an entree, fried or white rice, a pork egg roll, and a choice of soup. Of the 25 options, we chose drunken noodles with chicken, and green curry with shrimp (for which, pleasantly, there is no upcharge). We were delighted by the large, tender crustaceans, immersed in a mint-green coconut milk sauce that cleared our sinuses; bamboo shoots, wilted basil, and red peppers swam alongside the shrimp in the sauce. The drunken noodles and its nothing-special garlic-chili sauce didn't excite. But the hot and sour soup was spot-on, the perfect balance of tang and heat. The egg drop soup, though, had a thickness to its body that made us cringe a bit. We've heard recommendations for the tom yum soup and the panang curry, and we'll likely try them out. Despite its misses, American Asian had enough hits to merit another trip.

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