Dining profiles

Tong’s track record rests on creative food, personality

Seafood pad Thai is made with tamarind sauce. Ed Peaco / For the News-Leader

Seafood pad Thai is made with tamarind sauce. Ed Peaco / For the News-Leader

News-Leader, Sept. 4, 2013. This content cannot be reproduced without permission of the News-Leader.

Seafood pad Thai: The typical pad Thai ingredients (rice noodles, bean sprouts, scallions and egg) are embellished with shrimp, crab and squid. This dish employs tamarind sauce instead of the typical vinegar-and-sugar-based sauce. The result was a slightly sweet, slightly savory flavor. This dish sells well even though it is not on the menu, Trithara said. If you don’t like squid, you can have it omitted and other seafood added. However, the squid is tender and worth a try.
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MetroFarmerDuckMetropolitan Farmer blends old, new, local

News-Leader, Feb. 5, 2014. This content cannot be reproduced without permission of the News-Leader.

Seared duck breast with a molasses glaze, accompanied by braised kale and potatoes au gratin. This dish sets itself apart from typical duck preparations that are extra sweet. The use of sorghum molasses moderated the sweetness, allowing the dark, rich and somewhat nutty flavor of the meat to come through. The kale provides a counterpoint with a touch of bitter, and the ultra-thin layers of potato smooth everything out. Sou Chef Jeremy J. Smith said the duck was prepared in a tried-and-true fashion: Cook it, rest it, let the juices work in, then finish it. Download the complete profile.

Ocean Zen: Adventures in flavor fusion

Island style barbecue pork steam buns. Ed Peaco/For the News-Leader

Island style barbecue pork steam buns. Ed Peaco/For the News-Leader

News-Leader, July 26, 2013. This content cannot be reproduced without permission of the News-Leader.

Island style barbecue pork steam buns: Grilled charsui pork, cucumber salad and Thai peanut sauce. This appetizer presented a contrast of consistencies: the sturdy slices of pork within the fluffy buns. Two dipping elements formed a semicircle around the rim of the plate: First dip the bun in Thai peanut sauce, then take a dip of minced peanut. The peanut sauce balanced the sweet Asian barbecue sauce on the pork. The buns were adorned with a small bunch of tiny scallion strands — a delicate touch for a hearty appetizer. Download the complete profile.

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