A new Asian restaurant featuring Chinese and Japanese cuisine side-by-side has opened in Frisco, with a mission to be in it for the long haul. Called Meso Asia, it's a family-owned restaurant with a chef trained in Taiwan, and a glamorous ambience, as befits its Frisco location.
The restaurant is located at 4235 Preston Rd., in a busy strip north of SH 121 and south of Lebanon Road, where it's serving sushi and sashimi along with well-loved local staples such as General Tso's chicken and Mongolian beef.
There's also a decent wine list and creative cocktails such as a lychee martini, sake sangria, and a "Tokyo iced tea."
Owner Benjamin Zhu has been in the hospitality business for 25 years, first in the Northeast where he owned restaurants in New York and New Jersey, and then in Tyler, Texas, where he owns eateries such as Yamato Japanese Steakhouse and Mikoto Ramen and Sushi, which also has locations in Houston and Corpus Christi.
He came to North Texas to join family members who moved here including his sister Tina Zhu, who is helping him run Meso Asia.
They've brought in chefs from Taiwan and Hong Kong to make sure that the dishes have an authenticity in execution that other area restaurants do not.
"But we're not doing just traditional Chinese food," Tina says. "Diners want more, so we've combined dishes from several countries. 'Meso' means combination. It's not just Chinese or Japanese or Thai, it's a combination of three."
That includes a sushi bar manned by a chef who previously worked at Bluefish Sushi for many years. They also take a page from Japanese cuisine to make the presentation of all their dishes artful, regardless of what it is.
There is beef and tuna tataki, in which the meat is lightly seared on the outside and ultra rare in the center. There is a tuna tower, that precursor to poke, with tuna tartare ladled over a base of sushi rice, avocado, and crab. There is ramen.
Sushi options include a $25 lobster roll with an entire lobster tail, asparagus, and avocado; and a roll with a fried chicken tender in the center.
There are soft bao buns; spicy chicken lettuce cups; and tempura-fried green beans, served in a clever Belgian-style newspaper-patterned cardboard cone.
Tina, a CPA who is married with children, says that one of the benefits of having her brother nearby is that it creates a bigger community for their family.
"Our parents are in Plano," Tina says. "We'd get together for gatherings at their house where my 75-year-old mom would do all the cooking. We said, 'Benjamin, you need to open a restaurant here so our mom doesn't have to cook!'"