Looking to catch an earlier dinner before our movie date, the hubby and I headed into Four Leaves one Saturday afternoon. I will never fail to be surprised by the well apointed interiors of restaurants in strip malls and Four Leaves was no exception. The plain beige exterior with a simple sign gave way to a dining area featuring a sleek, modern bar and deep booths. Behind the bar was a gorgeous mural and the light music was complimented by a fountain splashing merrily away. The wall near our table featured a motif of flowers and circles in relief.
We were quickly seated and given extensive menus to pore over. Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai dishes rubbed elbows with sushi, sake, and no less than four types of plum wine. We sipped our soft drinks as we deliberated the merits of sushi vs dinner plates.
Here is where I note that I am a mild to moderate spicy fan. I like some spice, but I don’t like burning, sweating, or a total domination of all other flavors in a dish. So when I saw that the General Tsos Chicken was billed as spicy, I was ambivalent. I asked our server how spicy “spicy” actually was and she did me one better–put in a request with the kitchen for it to be mildly spicy. I accepted the offer and crossed my fingers hoping for a meal that would be edible.
While I pondered the wisdom of leaving the spiciness up the chef, our soup appeared.
Served piping hot, the broth was thick and full with a light flavor. In addition to the expected fragments of egg, the soup contained bits of tomato which lent both flavor and color.
As we ate, I marveled at the glasses. Tall and thin, made of a heavy glass, they had a wonderful heft to them. My mother judges all silverware against her set at home, apparently I judge all glassware against my beloved drinkware. This was the rare piece that caught my fancy and won a favorable rating.
Our meals arrived, perfectly paced behind our soup so as to allow a slight pause, but not so long of a pause that you are left wondering if you have been forgotten.
I was immediately captivated by the beautiful plating. My dish (seen at the top of this post) was whimsically garnished with a butterfly made of oranges, a grape, and bits of cucumber, flying on a bed of cubed carrots of sprigs of parsley.
My chicken pieces were made from high quality white meat which had been pounded into thin pieces and lightly coated and fried. The exterior was slightly crunchy and coated in thick, bright sauce. My first bite was a moment of truth, and I was thrilled to find that, as promised, the kitchen had delivered a mildly spicy dish. There was enough of a bite to contrast with the sweet flavor of the sauce, but not so much as would make me regret my choice half way through the dish. Mingled among the chicken pieces were slices of fresh and zesty green onions. A single pepper looked lonely, but I assume the others were omitted to keep the spiciness down.
The menu description had said the chicken would be served on a “bed” of broccoli. In practice this translated to a handful of pieces gently steamed and arranged around the chicken. Crunchy and cool, they added a nice element to the dish. I had expected a “bed” of broccoli to mean a more even split between the chicken and the broccoli. However, given how light and flavorful the chicken was, I thought the ratio was just right.
My fried rice was a small bowl of sticky rice cooked with a bit of oil and egg. It lived up to the fresh and flavorful precedent set by the other dishes.
The hubby greatly enjoyed his coconut curry. The dish included pineapple, green beans, onion, two kinds of bellpepper, and was “nicely spicy”.
Throughout the meal, the service was impeccable–friendly, responsive, and perfectly timed. We found our meal to be relaxing as well as delicious and we plan to be back soon. The hubby is keen to try their sushi and I was excited to see they offer soy wraps! I was beyond impressed with not only their willingness to adjust spice levels but also (having been disappointed many times before) their ability to deliver on that promise. Their prices cover a wider than usual range, between $10-$22 for entrees, mostly because of the wide variety in the offered dishes.
Total for the meal: $30.25 (included two entrees and two soft drinks)
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