850 White Station
Happy Valentine's Day! Please join us this evening for our Surf 'n Turf Valentine's Day Dinner for Two! No reservation necessary. Come on in!
It's the Year of the Dog! Check out Mosa Asian Bistro this Thursday for the full details of our Chinese New Year Contest and your chance to win a $50 Mosa Gift Card.
Do you wanna build a snowman? We will be closed today for lunch but will continue to monitor the weather and let everyone know if we will reopen for dinner.
We will be closed today for lunch but OPEN for dinner beginning at 4:30pm.
Oh the weather outside is frightful! Mosa will be closed for lunch today, Friday January 12th. We will be monitoring the roads and conditions and will let everyone know if we will open for dinner this evening. Stay safe and enjoy the snow!
Join Mosa Asian Bistro and the Female Warriors: Armed & Delicious for our 3rd Annual Giving Tuesday which will benefit the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Cocktails and food will be served from 5-7pm next Tuesday, November 28th at Felicia Suzanne's, along with the musical stylings of Southside Supper Club. Then we will send guests away with a "swag bag" that will make your sweet tooth dance!
Participating restaurants include Mosa Asian Bistro, Felicia Suzanne's, Central BBQ, Andrew Michael, Alcenia's, Bedrock Eats & Sweets, Muddy's Bake Shop, Sweet Potato Baby, Cooper Street 20/20, Whimsey Cookies, Katie's Kitchen, Fork It Over, The Pink Bakery and Nothing Bundt Cakes.
Tickets are $40 individual/ $75 couple in advance and $40 at the door. Buy tickets now at Eventbrite.
By far one of my favorite past times is exploring cities and finding new little nooks and places that will create lasting memories in both my mind and my palette. Food exploration--- yes that's a term I just came up with is one of my newest loves. I think I'll pitch a show to a television network lol. Seriously though, last Friday I took a half a day off and drove to East Memphis to Mosa Asian Bistro for lunch. L I T E R A L L Y, I was in for an asian feast. A total feast in food and memories indeed were made.
A total feast in food and memories indeed were made. As soon as I walked through the doors , I was greeted by Michelle and her dad owner of the restaurant--- how cool, casual and personal. Apparently from their insane and loyal following all of the patrons of the restaurant feel that way. Mosa Asian Bistro has the feel of a neighborhood bistro with the most amazing Asian food ever. The menu is totally customizable and gives you the options to add or take away what you like. Great news for vegans and vegetarians --- Mosa is known for having an array of dishes catered to you as well.
Out of all of the food I was served, I ate some of it all. Every S I N G L E dish was delightful and fresh. Mosa Asian Bistro is now one of my favorite local eats and worth a weekly visit. You all, please, do yourself a favor and go see Michelle and her Dad and the amazing staff at MOSA. You'll thank me.
Memphis is not only a great city for fine dining, it’s also chock full of restaurants offering incredible food at amazing prices. On the hunt for cheap eats, we tapped a few of our favorite Memphis foodies to offer some of their favorite options for delicious, affordable food around town. From cookbook authors to chefs, our friends weighed in with their favorite cheap eats, and our mouths are now watering. We bet yours will, too!
Eatery: Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana
Dish: De Oreja De Elefante (Steak Tortugas)
Approximate cost: $12
“I love the homemade bread, the fresh avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and seasoned sirloin — all of my favorite things in a yummy toasted sandwich!” raves Michelle.
For the full article, click here.
Thank you, Susan Ellis for sharing Mosa's Pad Thai dish with your readers.
By Jennifer Biggs of The Commercial Appeal
Food & Dining
Everybody loves dear old Dad — but can you get too much of him? No? What if you share a 10-by-10 office with him?
"It's more like a closet," said Anna Blair, who along with her sister, Katherine Riederer, has joined her father, John Vergos, at the Rendezvous.
Even still, like everyone interviewed for this story, the pros of working for Dad in the family restaurant business outweigh the cons by far — and Dad feels the same way.
"I can truly say that these last 10 years, working with my kids, have been the most rewarding of my career," said Dimitri Taras, the patriarch of the clan that runs Jim's Place Grille.
Alex and Michelle Pao, children of Mosa owner Eddie Pao, are energized by him; Eric Vernon at the Bar-B-Q Shop says working with father Frank has created a better relationship between them, and Jonathan and Pepe Magallanes at Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana are a true team.
Here are their stories.
Eddie Pao was a filmmaker in Taiwan for 12 years, and he came to Memphis to join his sister Cindy so he could work on his English; he planned to return within a year.
But a year later, he, Cindy and brother Alfred opened Formosa. At one time there were three locations; the one remaining now was sold to the longtime chef and is no longer in the Pao family.
In 2004, Eddie opened Mosa in Germantown; the fast-casual restaurant featured some Formosa items but many other dishes, too.
"I think it says so much about his talent that he could go from only knowing Chinese food to serving other Asian cuisines," said son Alex Pao, 32. "People tell us all the time that his pad Thai is the best they've ever tasted."
The creativity that led Eddie to filmmaking is unleashed in his kitchen.
"He is always pushing, and he has a passion and a joy for food and what he does," said Michelle Pao Levine, 40. "He makes over 22 sauces himself, things that he comes up with.
"In the Asian culture, respect for your elders is a big deal, but with him, it's just so easy. It's an honor to be with him every day. It's so important for him that we learn from others — he's always taught us that — and we learn the most from him."
"It's good to learn from others," Eddie said. "But then you put in your own ideas and make it better. I tell them that, and that is what I have always done. And I tell all of the other kids who work here for me the same thing."
Michelle is a big fan of how he works.
"He listens to us, and if we convince him we should do something, he'll say, 'OK, I'll support you, even if it's not the best choice,'" she said. "He won't say it's a bad choice, just not the best one. But knowing that we have his support means everything."
To read the full article, click here.
"A Serving for Tennis" nets over $40,000 to benefit NJTL Programming! via Tennis Memphis
Mosa Named A Serving for Tennis Champions
A Serving for Tennis was a huge success! 300 people gathered in the Cadre Building downtown and enjoyed delicious food from 15 Memphis restaurants, bid in the silent auction, and danced to live music from the Dantones. Chris "Birdman" Anderson, the Grizz and the Grizz Girls made an appearance. Guests voted Mosa Restaurant's Asian Pork Slider the favorite dish of the evening, making Mosa Asian Bistro the " A Serving for Tennis Champion!".
The following restaurants also participated in the evening: Taziki A Catered Affair One and Only BBQ Ultimate Foods Strano's Mosa Interim Restaurant Kooky Canuck Cafe' Laroux by De Javu Rizzo's Boneheads SushiJimmi Heart and Soul Catering Nothing Bundt Cakes Blues City Cafe Boneheads
Thank you to our co-chairs, Dave Joerger and Kara Joerger, Kevin and Haden Kane, Brian Bendersky and Anne Wulff, The Dantones, event sponsors, volunteers, and attendees who made the evening a huge success! A special thanks to Sherri Nischwitz, Sharon Dertien, and Karen Franklin, who helped plan and host the event. To see a complete list of sponsors and donors, please visit our website.
Thank you, Yelpers for naming Mosa Asian Bistro your favorite ASIAN, PAN ASIAN and SOUP in the 2015 Memphis Yelpies.
Read the full list of winners here.
When I told my colleague, Brad Vest, I was going to try the ribs at Mosa Asian Bistro, he said, "Just what this town needs. More ribs."
Well, Shanghai ribs aren't those hefty, smoky ribs slathered in thick barbecue sauce. They're savory, delicate with a hint of sweetness. "No way you can compare these to the Memphis style barbecue," said Alex Pao, one of Mosa's owners. "This is its own separate beast."
Pao described the pork baby back ribs, which they call "Shanghai ribs," as "Taiwanese Chinese comfort food at its finest. Rustic, but delicious."
Shanghai ribs are Mosa owner Eddie Pao's take on hong shao rou, which is "red cooked pork," but they're not anything like those ribs found on numerous Chinese restaurant buffets. "Dad put his spin on it," Alex said.
The ribs are cooked in a gravy with a soy garlic base. "They're slow cooked and braised in this giant wok for two and a half to three hours," Alex said.
They're served with a succotash made of beans sprouts, scallions, asparagus, potatoes and diced carrots. The succotash "complements the savory flavor of the ribs," Alex said.
The dish comes with a side of white or brown rice."We add a little of the rib gravy on top of it to give it flavor."The recipe was handed down from his mother's mother, Alex said. His mom served the ribs at family dinners at Thanksgiving. They found their way to Mosa's menu a week after Eddie brought them to the restaurant for a Thanksgiving feast for employees. They urged him to put them on the menu, said Mosa sous chef Richard Adams.
Mosa also serves beef or pork Asian Seoul Sliders. They come with cilantro and Asian slaw, which is made with daikon and pickled carrots, topped with aioli and served on a toasted challah bun from Ricki's Cookie Corner & Bakery. They're fabulous.
Sixteen women, mostly chefs and restaurant owners, in the Memphis food industry, took part in the first Female Warriors: Armed and Delicious event held Dec. 1 in the Brinkley Plaza lobby next to Felicia Suzanne's restaurant.
Cuisine included chicken and waffles from Brandi Marter of Bedrock Market & Cafe and rainbow panang curry from Michelle Pao Levine at Mosa Asian Bistro.
Each year, ticket proceeds will benefit an organization that develops women's skills and confidence. The Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis was this year's beneficiary.
by Michael Donahue
Source: Commercial Appeal Party Line
A special shout out to Jennifer Biggs and The Commercial Appeal for listing Mosa's Yuan Bao (chicken dumpling soup) as one of the 100 More Things To Eat in Memphis Before You Die. Read the full list here.
The restaurant was started by the brothers Pao, who opened their first Chinese restaurant in Memphis in 1979, two years after emigrating from Taiwan. Their first restaurant, Formosa, has won Memphis Magazine's Best Chinese award for 19 years in a row. Their second restaurant, Mosa Asian Bistro, fuses Chinese food with Thai, Korean and Japanese flavors, allowing the Pao family to experiment with staple recipes from all over the continent.
Mosa Asian Bistro is located at 850 South White Station close to your East Memphis property. They're open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. They cook to order, and lunch is the busiest time, so call (901) 683-8889 to order ahead. Gluten-free and vegan options are available. And their customized full-service catering is available if you live in East Memphis and are throwing a party. For a full menu, visit the restaurant online.
FULL BLOG HERE
Source: Kaizen Realty
Party Line: Vin-A-Que
Source: Commercial Appeal/GoMemphis
Whole hogs took center stage at Vin-A-Que, which was held Oct. 2 at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Hogs were still cooking in pits on the patio in front of the museum when guests arrived at the event, one of the museum's Memphis Food + Wine fundraisers.
Johnny Lawrence from Sweet Grass added "mojo sauce" after barbecue lovers served themselves pork carved from the hog at the booth headed by the restaurant's chef/owner, Ryan Trimm. The tangy sauce included Cuban sour oranges, onions, garlic, cilantro and olive oil. Chefs from Restaurant Iris, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy also cooked hogs.
Overhearing the words, "I could eat barbecue every day," Nico Zorbino added, "In the right city."
Memphis, obviously, is one of those cities. Guests ate barbecue from local restaurants that included Mosa Asian Bistro, Central BBQ, One & Only BBQ, Payne's Bar-B-Que, The Barbecue Shop, Corky's BBQ and Hi-Tone/Hi-Que BBQ.
"I'm porked out," said LeRoy Best, who, at that point, had sampled barbecue from four of the stations, according to Paula Diana, who was with him.
Former Memphian Rob Baird, who now lives in Austin, Texas, provided the music, including originals from his upcoming CD "Wrong Side of the River." "We made it in a garage in Texas," Rob said. The CD is slated to be released in March, but the single "Ain't Nobody Got a Hold on Me" is out on iTunes and Spotify.
"It's kind of a Delta blues stomp kind of thing," Rob said. "Kind of back to the Memphis days, to be honest."
Thank you to I Love Memphis blog and Holly Whitfield for listing Mosa's Banh Mi sandwich as #8 and Mr. Eddie's Favorite Noodles as #64 in 100 More Things To Eat in Memphis. Read the full list here.
Mosa Asian Bistro | 80 reviews | Eastgate | 850 S White Station, Memphis, TN | Asian Fusion, Thai, Chinese
“One of the best Asian restaurants I've ever eaten at. Those crab cheese wontons are so good. I got the sweet and sour chicken and my girl got the teriyaki chicken. Both were really good and the portion size is huge... my new go-to spot in Memphis.”
Justin S., Memphis, TN
The fall season has always been a time for change. In the south we celebrate a break in the hot weather, kids going back to school and the long anticipated reveal of football season. At Mosa Asian Bistro, we have a few of our own changes to celebrate this fall.
- You may notice some physical changes taking place over the next month. We are making some renovations and improvements to the restaurant, so please forgive our mess. We will be open during normal business hours, so please come see us for lunch or dinner during this time.
Thank you for your continued support of Mosa. We look forward to serving you soon.
Michelle Pao Levine
This was my first time at Mosa Asian Bistro, and it was quite the memorable visit. They just rolled out a summer sandwich special last week, so I had to try it. It’s called the Banh Mi ($9) and you can get it weekdays during lunch. It’s Mosa’s very own specially marinated pho beef in a Korean BBQ sauce with a fried egg, pickled Asian slaw, cilantro, and a sriracha and aioli sauce all on a toasted Ricki’s Cookie Corner challah bun. The sandwich is served with the chef’s choice of a seasonal summer fruit salad.On the first bite you get a hint of spiciness right away. There’s a lot of flavors and textures going on, but in a great way. The softness of the bun is so nice, especially when the crunchiness of the pickled Asian slaw kicks in with it. Now let’s talk about the Korean BBQ sauce. I don’t know how it’s made but… give me more of that sauce! It’s pretty much a light BBQ sauce and it was delicious. The pho beef is tender and the pieces are thinly placed on the sandwich. It’s delightful to eat this way. My mouth isn’t overwhelmed with chunks of thick beef. I must admit, I thought this sandwich was going to be heavy. Not at all. It was light, yet very filling. I didn’t taste the fried egg until I was more than halfway through the sandwich and it was a yummy, creamy surprise. I can’t decide what my favorite part of this sandwich is. The beef alone would be great by itself, but I’m so glad that Mosa Asian Bistro came up with this fusion creation! The fruit salad was pieces of mango and fuzzy white nectarines. It was juicy and extremely fresh. I gobbled it up. Sometimes, the chef will mix it up and give you plums!There wasn’t one piece of the sandwich left on my plate. I don’t know who was more satisfied... me, who did all the damage… or the owner Mr. Eddie, who personally made my sandwich. We were both smiling ear to ear.
Source: Memphis Flyer/Hungry Memphis, by Michelle Lewis
The 8 Best Chicken Wings in Memphis
Mosa Asian Bistro | East Memphis
Mosa is known for its delicious Chinese and Thai food, but some of the best wings in the city can also be found on the menu. The Rainbow Wings feature a Panang Curry dipping sauce that includes fresh lime, lemongrass, and panang curry. The curry is sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once. You CAN taste the rainbow. The sauce is served on the side so the wings stay nice and crisp, so what you do with the extra is up to you.
Read the full list here.
Most Asian Bistro is pleased to introduce the Bhan Mi as the new summer special. Our own specially marinated Pho beef in a Korean BBQ sauce, with a fried egg, Asian pickled slaw, cilantro, Sriracha and aioli sauce on a toasted Ricki's Cookie Corner Challah bun, this sandwich is served with a seasonal fruit salad.
Please consider stopping into Mosa this week to try it for yourself!
The annual Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis ballot is now open. Mosa Asian Bistro is nominated in three categories: Best Chinese, Best Thai and Best Japanese/Sushi. Please consider voting us your favorite in each category.
Here are the rules:
1. Voting is open 10am on Wednesday, July 15th through 11:59pm on Tuesday, August 4th.
2. Your ballot must have at least 50% of the categories completed to be counted.
3. One ballot per reader please. Their system only accepts one vote per device, and they reserve the right to discard any ballot they deem fraudulent.
4. Most categories have a drop-down menu of choices, and all categories have a write-in option. The drop down menus are developed by the Memphis Flyer editorial team, and are intended to help the counting process, NOT to encourage you to vote for a specific business. Please, vote your conscience and use the write-in area where necessary.
Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis Issue will hit the streets on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015. Thank you for your support!
If you want to be in control of what you eat, try Cheffie’s, where you create your own meal from scratch. Put together a robust salad or flavorful sandwich from a wide selection of ingredients like grilled chicken, eggs, oven-roasted turkey, tuna salad, or walnut-apple chicken salad, paired with savory cheeses like feta, goat, parmesan, or blue. Add in veggies and fruits like roasted peppers, cucumbers, chickpeas, cranberries, sundried tomatoes, and much more for the perfect flavor.
Mosa Asian Bistro
Feel like healthy Thai, Japanese, or Chinese food? You can get it all at Mosa, a bistro featuring rice and noodle bowls, curries, and more. Everything is exceptionally fresh and made to order. Expect crowds here, but it’s worth the wait.
Imagine Vegan serves traditional American fare—except that the “meat” isn’t meat! Have chicken, grilled fish, and turkey in their guilt-free forms here, and come for brunch on Sundays. Another option is Two Vegan Sistas, which offers raw food dishes along with cooked vegan meals and does not use soy.
It’s just what it sounds like—a restaurant that supports local farms and has fresh, wholesome offerings and a rustic charm. Enjoy salmon, chicken, steak, shrimp, and more alongside fresh salads and traditional sides.
Mary's Gluten-free Goods
Finish off your healthy culinary experience with a heavenly treat from Mary’s, where gluten-free delights abound. Take your time with a cupcake, cinnamon roll, chocolate chip cookie, or some almond and toffee crunch (pictured at left), or bring home a buttery pound cake to share (or hide from) the family. If you recently went gluten-free and miss the days of soft, rich breads, try Mary’s banana bread, cinnamon coffee cake, or French bread, or take home some pizza crust to make yourself a pizza that truly satisfies.
THE 14 BEST SPOTS FOR CHEAP EATS IN MEMPHIS | Thrillist
What you're getting: Rainbow Wings, $5 for four, $6.50 for six
Memphis has a lot of affordable hot wing options, no doubt, but there's only one place for Rainbow Wings. They feature a panang curry, fresh lime, and lemongrass dipping sauce, which is a total game changer. The curry is sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once, and the wings are perfectly crispy.
Read the full list here.
With the Southern Hot Wing Festival and Contest coming up Saturday, it’s a good time to revisit the chicken wing, something we haven’t written about extensively in 10 years or more. But it was clearly too big of a job for one person, so we split the work four ways: GoMemphis editors Chris Herrington and Mark Richens, Michael Donahue and I each took a list and got to work. Of course, those lists grew — and grew — every time we mentioned what we were doing, because everyone wanted to tell us about their favorite place.In the end, it came down to a few things: No chains. (Sorry, Rick Ross.) No fast food. And then it came down to reputation. We couldn’t possibly go everywhere — literally hundreds of places serve wings — so we narrowed our list down to about 40 places known to be good and picked our favorite 20 of those. Did we miss something? No doubt we did, but we’re going to count on you to weigh in at gomemphis.com and tell us your favorites.
Here’s our list, in alphabetical order. Hope you have your Wet-naps ready.
Mosa Asian Bistro (850 S. White Station; 901-683-8889): I only knew Mosa served wings because I happened to be reviewing the restaurant while we were out tasting wings. They’re excellent, and super crisp. They come in an order of flats and drummies and you can get Sriracha or barbecue sauce on the side. It’s for dipping so these wings stay crisp. And if you love the Rainbow Panang curry, you’re in luck: You can get Panang curry wings, too. — JB
For the full list, click here.
Source: Commercial Appeal/GoMemphis.com
The Memphis food scene and spring temps are an unbeatable combination. And frankly, outdoor dining is one of the best ways to enjoy local cuisine this time of year. Many of your favorite restaurants have welcoming patios for days when the weather is just right, and we’ve compiled a solid list here to get you started.
Mosa Asian Bistro850 White Station • (901) 683-8889 • mosaasianbistro.comFeel at home on the patio at Mosa Asian Bistro. Michelle Pao Levine and her father, Eddie Pao, are co-owners of Mosa. This restaurant recently made national foodie news in an article, “The Best Chinese Food Restaurant In Every State.” In it, Mosa was named Memphis’ No. 1! Enjoy your delicious meal on the patio, which is enclosed with a lovely wrought-iron fence with greenery.
For a full list of Memphis' best patios, click here.
Chinese Eats Cheat Sheet
Nothing hits the spot better than sweet and sour chicken... or dumplings... or maybe wonton soup? The only thing harder than deciding what to order at a Chinese restaurant is deciding where to go. Lucky for Memphis, this Weekly Yelp is dedicated to food you can really sink your teeth into!
Eastgate 850 S White Station, Memphis, TN
Asian Fusion, Thai, Chinese
“Gems of authenticity there, like the soups, the noodle soups, the hot wontons, and the fried rice... I love the su-chai vegetables (which literally means vegetables vegetables) and the sesame chicken.” Daniel C., Memphis, TN
For a full list, click here.
Somewhere over the Rainbow I decided, “This is one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in a long time.” I’m referring to the Rainbow Panang Curry at Mosa Asian Bistro.
Owner Eddie Pao said the coconut curry dish, which is made with 25 ingredients, is their best-seller.
“They sell most of it to me,” joked server Patrick Le, who orders it a couple of times a week. “It has a tangy kick unlike any other curry.”
“It surpassed the Szechuan, the most popular dish for 20 years,” said Pao’s son, Alex.
I’ve known Eddie since he opened his first restaurant in Memphis forty-something years ago on Summer. I did a story about his career as a motion picture director in Taiwan. Alex said he and his wife recently gave Eddie several framed photos from his days as a director. One pictured a young Eddie directing a kung fu actor. “My dad had long curly black hair,” Alex said. “I’ve never seen an Asian guy who has long hair like that.”
Eddie compared his Rainbow Panang Curry to a movie that becomes a classic.“
Part of his legacy is introducing eclectic, authentic Asian cuisine to Mid-Southerners,” Alex said.
The basic ingredients in Rainbow Panang Curry are snow peas, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and baby corn. The sauce includes lemon grass, cilantro, coconut milk and coconut cream. “It’s our most expensive sauce to produce,” Alex said. “The price of coconut milk goes up and down.”
A French chef, who was visiting Memphis, taught Eddie to make panang curry. “He gave Eddie the template and he filled out the rest,” Alex said.
Eddie named it “Rainbow” because of the colors. And, Alex added, “It has so many flavors.
People write a line or two on their credit card slips about how much they like the dish, which sells for $11 at lunch and dinner, Eddie said. He remembered one that read, “I’ve never had this dish in my life. Thank you very much.”
Mosa Asian Bistro, Eastgate Shopping Center, 850 S. White Station in Eastgate Shopping Center; 901-683-8889
Mosa Asian Bistro’s lo mein is just one example of the creative approach some of the best Chinese restaurants take on classic and original dishes. Photo: Mosa Asian BistroChinese food is an American obsession. Almost everyone has a favorite dish they can find on just about any menu at any Chinese restaurant in the country. Some restaurants,however, are just better than others.
In our attempt to pinpoint the best Chinese restaurants in each state and Washington, D.C., we reached out to Yelp data scientists. They compiled a list based on the number of stars and amount of reviews each restaurant received from Yelpers. The higher the combined number, the better the ranking. Some of the restaurants serve a variety of Asian cuisine – such as Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese – but devote a large portion of their menu to Chinese food, according to the reviews and menus.Compiling any “best of” restaurant list is a dangerous mission and risks offending at least a few of the faithful. People have their favorite go-to spot and not much can be done to break their devotion. While we salute their loyalty, we also embrace discovery, adventure, and sharing. This list represents that spirit.If you’re looking for a change, a proven winner while traveling, or a dish your local favorite just doesn’t serve, these restaurants are all worth visiting. They received mostly high marks (overall four to five stars out of five) for quality food; full, well-balanced flavors; decent portions; reasonable prices; and generally good service.After reading through hundreds of Yelp reviews, a few other trends and highlights emerged:
— Location doesn’t matter. There’s always a strong concentration of great Asian restaurants in any big city, but you’re likely to a find a rival to many of them in tertiary cities, small towns, and the middle of nowhere. Pleasant surprises lurk where you’ll least expect them.
— While most of these restaurants serve a full variety of Americanized favorites, many delve deep into authentic dishes. Sometimes they’re on the menu, sometimes they aren’t. Always ask.
— Odds are you’ll find the restaurant owner, or a close family member, working the floor or stove at many of these restaurants. They appreciate the business, like to chat, and will do what they can to accommodate.
— “Fusion” is no longer a dirty word. More restaurants are serving multiple types of Asian food and doing it well. The sushi is often as good and fresh as the Chinese food.
— Many of these restaurants are small and hard to find. If you happen to miss one on the first pass, keep trying. Chances are you’ll be glad you did.
Source: Yahoo Food
Authentic is the first word that comes to mind when you meet Michelle Pao Levine. Her easy manner is a perfect fit for her job. As co-owner of Mosa Asian Bistro with dad Eddie Pao, she has the natural instinct of a restaurateur to make people feel at home. A 1995 graduate of St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Michelle serves on the school’s alumnae board, and she is a fellow of the New Memphis Institute. She’s quick to throw her support behind the city’s major food-focused fundraisers, from Youth Villages’ Soup Sunday to Grizzlies Coach Dave Joerger’s annual event that supports Tennis Memphis. Michelle and husband Mark Levine are getting ready to celebrate their 10th anniversary, and are enjoying being parents to 18-month-old Matthew. And today, we get to share Michelle with you as our FACES of Memphis feature.
Tell us about your family’s journey to America. My father was born in China, in a province near Hunan. My mom, Charleen, and I were both born in Taipei, Taiwan. My dad was a movie director there; he directed Kung Fu movies and worked with (director) Ang Lee way back in the day. My mom was a secretary in a law firm. My family speaks Mandarin, and I didn’t learn English until kindergarten. I was born in 1976, we immigrated to the United States in 1977, and dad opened the first Little Formosa in 1978.
Describe your early career. Where did you work, and what were your jobs? Right out of college, I spent a brief time in legal marketing. It didn’t take me long to realize my calling. At the time, there were several start-up restaurant concepts in Atlanta that were hiring. I joined Doc Chey’s Noodle House working for the founder, Rich Chey, and his partners. My role was to create the operations and marketing manuals for franchise partners. The menu at Mosa offers a highly customizable dining experience.
What brought you back to Memphis? Mosa brought me back to Memphis! Actually, it was the opportunity to start my own business with an investor/partner (my dad), that brought me back to Memphis. I knew at the time that there were no hybrid-style restaurants in Memphis. Hybrid meaning full service/fast casual, and especially no Pan Asian-style restaurants. We knew that it would be risky, but we were up for the challenge!
What’s your typical day like? I’m pretty lucky. I start my day around 6:30 a.m., and I’m usually off to drop Matthew at daycare by 9 a.m. Then I run a few errands and to Mosa, and about 10:15 a.m. we start our day. I pick Matthew up around 4 p.m., head home and make dinner with Mark, and I give Matthew his dinner and bath, so he’s ready for bed. About three nights a week, I go back to Mosa at 8:30 p.m., and I close the restaurant. At some point during the day, I try my best to get in a 20-minute run. I pass out by midnight.
It sounds like you have a lot of flexibility in your daily schedule. I feel so lucky that I have my own business and can say “Michelle will not be available between this and this time.” We are fortunate now to be doing what we both love. If you are so lucky to have your avocation become your vocation, you just want to nurture it and see it grow year after year.
You’re Taiwanese and American, and Mark is Jewish. How will you raise Matthew? Matthew will celebrate both Jewish holidays and Eastern Christmas. Culturally, we want him to be very aware of his Jewish side. He will go through Hebrew school and Mandarin school — he’s going to love us for that!
What are the biggest challenges working in a family business? Some of the biggest challenges in working with your family are respecting each other’s boundaries and time. Hands down, those are the toughest challenges we continuously face.The best part of working with my family is knowing that no one is more committed than we are to one another. I know how lucky I am every single day to have Eddie next to me. His mentality is the reason why, for 40 years, he has been able to be such a strong business owner and provider.
Watching you at the restaurant, it’s clear that being a mentor to your employees is very important to you. I don’t know why I feel like it should come with my role, but it does. That’s what I looked for in a boss – I looked for a person who I want to learn from, and that was Rich Chey. I was really looking for that. In the end, ultimately, I went for a mentor like Rich. I wanted to go even further than how Rich mentored me, because I think that what a lot of people lack is communication from their own family.
Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? It’s part of your journey through life to know who you are, and to help find that greater purpose for your life. I hope I am that person for my staff, because I really try. Most are very young, so I try to advise them on everything … how do you apply for an apartment or rent a house, or apply to college? I help with scholarship applications, and I’ve given so many recommendations. I want them to know how important it is to care about people; care and empathy is what helps you realize what’s important. During the day, diners order at the counter and food is delivered to the table. At night, Mosa is a sit-down restaurant.
What are your tips for successfully managing family and business? Separate business life from personal life, and do not hold grudges
How about your best advice for working moms? Remember to take care of yourself!
So far, what’s the best advice you’ve given, whether as a mom or as a mentor? Be grateful for each day, and live life with great purpose.Trays filled with wonton crisps await a bowl of hot soup.
What are your hobbies, and how do you unwind? I love to spend time catching up with my friends (something I rarely get to do these days), whether it be over a glass of wine or on the phone. And I love to cook. I have an enormous collection of cookbooks. I love to listen to music while running — it sets me free. And I love to read and get lost in a great story.
Where’s the first place you take an out-of-towner when they come to visit you in Memphis? Cooper Young/Overton Square … the best restaurant scene!
What’s your favorite Memphis attraction and why? My favorite Memphis place is the Memphis Zoo, because it attracts a melting pot of people, something you don’t get to see much every day. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the pandas and giant elephants?
Finish this sentence: If I had a superpower, it would be …To enable everyone to find their purpose in life and act upon it
What’s one fun fact about you? Twenty-two countries were represented at our wedding.
What one word describes you?Thoughtful
What inspires you? Everyday heroes
What are three lighthearted things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends? Coffee, running shoes and Claritin.
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing of yourself with us today. And thank you to Micki Martin for today’s images of Michelle, taken at Mosa Asian Bistro.
Get your wonton on at Mosa Asian Bistro, with these hot and sour morsels of marinated pork and shrimp, wrapped in a wonton, steamed and tossed in a spicy garlic sauce.
Hot and sour wontons, $5
by Sally Davies Walker
by Amber, History & Pearls
Anyone who has been following me on Instagram or Twitter lately (or read my "Friday Finds" post a couple of weeks ago!) knows that I've been having a problem. A delicious problem. I'm in love. With a restaurant. Mosa Asian Bistro.Seriously, I'm pretty sure a HIMYM intervention may be needed.But I don't care. I LOVE Mosa. It took me ages to make it out there, but now that I have, I refuse to be stopped!Not only does Mosa have some amazing food (think a fusion of Chinese, Americanized Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Japanese - as close to "pan-Asian" as I've had here) they also have a great story, some of the friendliest (and most helpful!) staff in Memphis who really love and are knowledgable about their food, and a great social media presence that makes me feel super welcome and excited about eating there. So I've been...3...times this month, and it's been great each time.
Read full blog review here.
Mosa Asian Bistro currently listed as #1 Best Value and #3 Healthy Menu Easy to find in Memphis according to USA TODAY 10Best. Check out why here: http://www.10best.com/destinations/tennessee/memphis/memphis/restaurants/mosa-asian-bistro/.
by Stacey Greenberg
Restaurants specializing in wings could soon outnumber barbecue restaurants in Memphis and maybe even churches. Wings are seemingly everywhere, sneaking their way onto the menus of all types of restaurants.Central BBQ"Wings are one of my top sellers," says Craig Blondis, owner of Central BBQ. Blondis never intended to have wings on the menu, but one or two customers bugged him in the early days to give wings a try. Blondis made them one day, and the next day one of his customers ordered 200 and had them delivered to his office. "That's how it took off," Blondis says. "It was never my intention. I was just goofing around. Now our wings have been voted the best three or four times."They have a nice, smoky taste, and the meat easily falls off the bone. Blondis says he marinates raw wings in Louisiana hot sauce for one to two days before smoking them for an hour or two. Then he chills them and flash fries them. The last step is to season them — wet, naked, jerked, dry spice, honey gold, or sweet heat.Some customers like to order the wings "muddy," which means they come with a wet sauce and a dry rub. The most common muddy combination is a traditional wet Buffalo sauce with the hot rub, but customers also request the sweet heat with the jerk rub on top.Sweet heat on its own is also a popular choice. It's the honey gold sauce with the addition of habanero and Chinese red peppers. "You get the sweet up front and the heat on the back end," Blondis explains. It has a nice Asian flair to it, and the sauce sticks to your fingers in such a way that you may consider eating them too.A half order comes with three wings ($5.99) and full orders six ($9.99).Slider InnWings are a popular menu item at Slider Inn because they are good for sharing and go well with football games, general manager Jesse Keenan says.The wings are fried unbattered and then sauced. The sauce is very simple and classic. "We use Frank's hot sauce and butter, but we have our own special ratio," he says. "Everyone absolutely loves our sauce. It has a heat to it, but the butter mellows it out so it doesn't finish super hot."I don't know if it is due to the perfect ratio of butter and hot sauce, but Slider's sauce seems to soak into skin, coating the wings perfectly, delivering the full-on Buffalo flavor without too much mess. However, Keenan says that their motto is, "If you are going to get sticky fingers, we want you to get them sticky at Slider Inn."A half order of six wings is $6.99 and a full order of 12 is $12.99, but Slider is running a 50 cent wing special through Super Bowl Sunday.Mosa Asian BistroMosa may not be the first place you think of when it comes to wings, but if you are looking for something a little different, it should be. They've had a Sriracha style for about three months now and debuted the Rainbow Wings last month.The Rainbow Wings feature a panang curry dipping sauce, which is a game changer. Owner Michelle Pao Levine says the sauce is the same sauce as in their Rainbow Panang Curry dish. "It's a super special sauce because of all the amazing ingredients we use: fresh lime, lemongrass, and panang curry, to name a few," she says. The curry is sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once. It seriously brings your tongue to life. The wings are considered a special order item, so they do take a little longer to prepare — about 10 minutes per order. Customers can dip them in the sauce or slather them at will. (I recommend the latter.) An order of four is $5, and an order of six is $6.50.
We will be closed on Thursday, November 27 to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families. We'll see you again on Friday.
Mosa has been on my list of places to go forever. The monkeys (Satchel, 12 and Jiro, 10) and I finally made it there last Saturday afternoon. Mosa was originally on Poplar near Kirby, and was opened by Mr. Eddie, who you may know from the old Formosa on Summer Avenue. (Sidenote: My sister, a few friends and I totally pretended we got lost on the way home from a field trip in high school so that we could go eat at Formosa. I have no idea why they let us drive ourselves. Do they still do that? Anyways, we all got suspended.)When Mosa was on Poplar it was one of those order at the counter and sit down places. Now it's a sit down place. It's in the shopping center near Poplar & White Station behind Bed, Bath and Beyond.Once inside, we saw several of our Midtown friends. Definitely a good sign. My friend, Mairi, even gave me a few menu suggestions, including the Thai tea.I was able to get Satchel excited about eating here with the promise of chicken wings. We did not see them on the menu, but thankfully I noticed we walked right past this sign on our way in.Both monkeys were hungry, so we ordered 4 wings of each flavor and an appetizer of dumplings. Jiro also ordered a kids' Teriyaki chicken and Satchel ordered the Niew Ro Mein, which is a soup. I ordered the Thai tea and the hot & sour soup as Mairi suggested.The tea was very yummy. The waiter said it was an orange spiced tea with half & half. No wonder! The dumplings were also a hit.We immediately had to decide how many everyone was getting. I agreed to only have one. After one bite Jiro said, "That's sooooooooo good." Satchel agreed that they were better than the ones at Fresh Market. (We get those to go and cook them at home sometimes.) After his final bite, Jiro said, "That was the most delicious thing ever."Next up, some spiced peanuts and a cucumber/pickle salad that we were told was the appetizer for Satchel's soup. How awesome is that?Then came the chicken wings. OH MY GOODNESS.I am torn as to how I feel about the sauce being on the side for dipping. On the one hand it makes the wing eating experience a little neater. On the other, it really just made me want to slather MYSELF in the Rainbow Panang Curry sauce. IT'S SO GOOD. SO. SO. GOOD.It's sweet, spicy, tangy--it's just everything all at once. I want to marry it. The Sriracha style sauce was fine, but it paled in comparison.The monkeys just ate the perfectly fried wings plain, which meant I got ALL of the sauce.We were still working on the wings when everything else came out. Jiro's kids' meal had a lot of vegetables. When I noted it, he said, "Yeah, I guess I'll eat it anyway." Ha!Satchel's soup looked great, and contained stew meat, which he loved.Jiro also wanted some of it and Satchel agreed to share after I agreed to get six more chicken wings.My hot & sour soup was just ok. It was a little peppery and boring after what we'd already had. I passed it to Jiro, and he ate the tofu out of it.Our total bill was $43.15, which really isn't bad considering how much food we ordered. We are totally going back. And I will marry that sauce!
Happy hour is now extended on Monday through Thursday from 5-7:30 PM and on Fridays from 5-8:30 PM. Cheers!
Twenty years is a long time to do anything, but this Best of Memphis thing seems to be working out okay. The readers like it; the winners love it. We have a fun party. Since 1994, when the first Best of Memphis appeared, it's been an annual, momentary blast of positivity: Yay, you! Yay, us! Yay, everybody!(Never mind the grumpypants. They'll eye-roll and harrumph no matter who wins.)Now, over the years, there have been a select few who have being the best down cold, winning their category since 1994. They are simply better at being the best than anybody else. They are: Huey's (Best Burger); Folk's Folly (Best Steak); Sekisui (Best Japanese/Sushi); Buster's (Best Liquor Store); and Joe Birch (Best TV News Anchor).
As always, we thank our readers for participating in the Best of Memphis each year. Without you, there would be no Best of Memphis. And we thank our advertisers. Without them, there would be no Flyer. Much gratitude goes to Joe Birch of WMC-TV, Kelly Johnson and Jamie Chapman of Molly's La Casita, and Josh Hammond and Caitlin Belisario of Buster's Liquors, all of whom went above and beyond to provide images to use in this issue.
2. A-Tan — tie —Wang's Mandarin House
3. Formosa Chinese Restaurant — tie — Mosa Asian Bistro
The Veterans Affairs Council recently hosted a weeklong convention in Memphis. During their visit, the Taiwanese delegation hosted a banquet for 80 at Mosa Asian Bistro, as there were several Taiwanese veterans being honored.
A fresh -and we mean fresh -take on Asian dining, Mosa is a bistro that combines the best of Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes - noodle and rice bowls, curries and a host of small plates - in a casual atmosphere that rocks with the business crowd at lunch and families at dinner. Dishes are made to order, truly some of the freshest Asian cuisine we've experienced. During lunch hours, you order at the counter and take a number, and one of the runners will bring your food. The Pao family is ever-present in the kitchen or at the register, always making time to say hello and catch up with customers - and after just two visits or so, you can consider yourself a regular. ((901) 683-8889)
For the full list, click here.