At the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Valley View Drive, in the corner unit of the Phoenix Plaza strip mall, neighbored by Bout Time Pub and Dixie meats, sits St. George’s only Vietnamese restaurant Ah’sya. It probably goes unnoticed by most of the passersby on Sunset Blvd, but they are missing out.
Tom, the owner of Ah’sya doesn’t give lessons on using chopsticks. “No right way to use chopsticks,” he says. “Everybody is different, the muscles in their hands, they hold them different, and use them how they want.”
What Tom does well is provide succulent Vietnamese selections artfully plated and tantalizing to the palate. He also served our meal and cleaned up the dining room; he is a hands-on owner.
Ah’sya offers Vietnamese cabbage salads, rice vermicelli, rice, and noodle soups with your choice of pork, beef, shrimp, or fish. The spices and flavorings in Vietnamese dishes are unlike those used in other Eastern fare. There is a distinct difference between the food served at Ah’sya and Thai, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean dishes.
In addition to the standard Pepsi product line of drinks, Ah’sya offers some unique beverages. I enjoyed the Iced Passionfruit Green Tea. It came in a sealed cup with a slashed end straw to pierce the lid. Tom prepares the drink fresh, then seals it to lock in the passionfruit aromatics. Included in the tea were rich tasting crunchy little bursts of flavor.
I ordered the Beef Cabbage Salad. The cabbage was shredded, cut into bite size lengths, and easy to eat, unlike some salads where the leaves are so large you need to cut them or stuff them into your mouth. The salad’s dressing conveyed a bright lemon tang. Perched atop the cabbage salad, the tender thinly sliced beef had been cooked with a balanced mildly sweet spice blend that provided an excellent counterpoint to the lemon based salad dressing.
Corey, Senior Designer at SunRiver, St. George ordered the Grilled Shrimp. They were individually grilled and presented on a lettuce leaf with a buttery fish dipping sauce on the side. His Honey Green Tea was served in a glass with no ice, along with a glass filled with ice. Tom explained, “People like different amounts of ice. So I let them decide how much ice they want to put in their tea.”
When I asked about my sealed drink, he said, “You don’t get to choose, yours is specialty drink, it comes with the right amount of ice.” He was right. My drink had an ideal amount of ice to keep the drink cold but no so much that it watered down the flavor, or was all ice and not much tea.
Ah’sya provided a pleasant dining environment with ample natural light, clean dining room, open space, and background at a level you can hear, but not so loud it interferes with conversation. The menu includes a section of vegetarian dishes in addition to the meaty regular fare.
When you crave Eastern flavor, but not the standard Chinese or Japanese cuisine, Ah’sya provides a tasty, distinctively different option at an affordable price.
Written by: Jon Thompson