MOSA White Station
850 White Station
  • Tuesday to Thursday 11AM - 2:30PM, 4PM - 8:30PM
  • Friday 11AM - 2:30PM, 4PM - 9:30PM
  • Saturday 4PM - 9:30PM
  • Sunday 11AM-2:30PM, 4PM – 8:30 PM
  • CLOSED Monday

(901) 683-8889
(901) 755-6755 

News

Dining Review: Mosa Asian Bistro hits spot with eclectic, flavorful menu

By Jennifer Biggs
Source: Commercial Appeal

When you walk into Mosa Asian Bistro, take a minute to look at the white board before you take your seat. There won’t be a lot there — one special, maybe two — but you’ll see something you like. Over two review visits and plenty of others over the years, I ate my favorite dish at Mosa because my friend spotted something on the board she wanted to try:

Yuan bao is one of the best bowls of soup I’ve tasted. Not the absolute best — there have been too many that have come and gone, too many toothsome bowls of tom yum (RIP, Golden Dragon/Royal Dragon; we still miss you), too many matzo balls floating in golden elixir, a whole lot of pho — and the latter is what yuan bao most closely resembles of that list, with dumplings instead of noodles.

The chicken broth was stellar, clear and clean, the perfect base for the fresh cilantro and chives scattered on top and the handmade dumplings floating so abundantly within. The dumplings are wrinkled, imperfectly shaped won- tons wrapped around tasty morsels of chicken filling, and they are just as good as the broth. Cabbage and carrots add a little color and a bit of flavor, but this is really about the broth and the dumplings. And the soy ginger sauce, served at your preferred heat level, on the side. It’s simple, but it adds another layer of flavor — though I recommend not adding it to the soup. Instead, just dip your dumplings into it. One in, one not. Mix it up.

It’s fantastic, and if you like clear yet hearty Asian soups — just think wonton soup, but elevate it several notches — you’ll love this. One warning: The cabbage flavor intensifies if you manage to have leftovers, so if you’re not crazy about it (I am), remove it from the broth before your refrigerate it for your lunch.

Mosa is the very popular Pan-Asian restaurant owned by Eddie Pao and his partner, son Alex. Eddie, longtime Memphians might know, founded Formosa on Summer Avenue about 40 years ago with his brother Alfred; it has long since moved to Quince. Chinese, Thai, Taiwanese, even a little Japanese food is served.

At Mosa, you order at the counter at lunch, and dinner is full service, but the same menu is in play. Prices are fine for lunch and a true value for dinner; the most expensive entrée is $15, a small serving of very good hot and sour soup is $2, the excellent yuan bao is $8.50.

And portions are generous, extremely so on noodle dishes such as lo mein or the big bowl of pad see u, a dish of wide noodles flavored with sesame and served with the protein of your choice.

The menu is divvied up by signature entrées, rice plates and noodle dishes (along with starters, salads and desserts). The Rainbow Panang Curry, Mosa’s most popular dish, is one of the signature entrées. Despite being so popular and so beloved by those who order it over and over, it’s among my least favorite items on the menu. The sauce is heavy and much too sweet for me to enjoy more than a bite or two. I ordered it with chicken on a recent visit, and while the meat was plentiful, it was lost beneath the sea of sauce. To each his own, but I think Mosa shines when the kitchen employs a lighter hand, and I prefer other dishes.

Beyond the yuan bao, there’s three-seasoned shrimp, a riff on the Chinese standard salt-and-pepper shrimp. Good-size (though not jumbo, as the menu says) shrimp are seasoned with salt and pepper, garlic and green onion, quickly fried and served over sauteed Napa cabbage, with a pickled slaw of carrots and radish at one end of the long fish plate and a mound of white or brown rice at the other. (It’s the $15 dish, one of only three that hit double digits.)

The Korean BBQ beef is another good one. Flank steak is sliced, sauteed in a silky brown soy glaze and served over crisp chow mein noodles for a nice contrast in texture. Szechuan chicken was very good, too (and remember, you can order beef, shrimp, tofu or sans protein, as you wish). The chicken was extremely tender, served in a spicy (as ordered) sauce with a touch of sweetness and plenty of fresh, barely-cooked vegetables such as broccoli, onion and peppers.

A word about starters, here at the end: If chicken wings are available (they were on the white board when I last visited), give them a try if you like wings. These are extremely crisp, served dry to stay that way, with a sriracha or barbecue wing sauce on the side. The filling for the lettuce wraps was much wetter and thicker than I expected, and it contained a lot of mushrooms. Instead of contrasting well with the iceberg lettuce, it seemed too heavy; I prefer the typical ground chicken filling with lime and fish sauce.

Hot and sour won- tons were excellent — the Paos know how to make a dumpling — full of pork and shrimp and tossed with green onion in a soy-based sauce flavored to your heat level.

It’s a bit loud in the restaurant when it’s busy. If you want a quieter dinner, snag an outdoor table, or go before the rush comes in. With food this good at prices so reasonable, folks are filing in by 7 p.m. most nights.

Address: 850 S. White Station

Telephone: 901-683-8889

Reviewer’s choice: Yuan boa ($8.50); Korean BBQ beef ($12); Szechuan chicken ($8.50); hot and sour wontons appetizer ($5.50 for 6); wings ($6.50 for 6); pad see u ($8.50 with shrimp).

Alcohol: Wine and beer.

Posted by Mosa Asian Bistro at 10:40 AM

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