Mei Wei Asian Bistro

10 Feb 2011
Average Cost ($8-$14)
West Huntsville
3 out of 5
Mei Wei Asian Bistro

Melanie’s Take

Shane suggested that we try a relatively new place that serves Chinese food in a casual atmosphere. I was game, so we headed over to Mei Wei, a restaurant located in a strip mall on University Drive, across from the Target shopping center. Mei Wei describes itself as an Asian Bistro, and I suppose that’s a pretty accurate way of summing up its atmosphere. There are tables, including a few bistro tables, scattered throughout the dining area, and several booths line one of the walls. After walking up to the counter to order, you take a numbered sign, fetch your own beverage, and wait for your food to arrive. Teriyaki ChickenMei Wei’s menu describes taste preparations and lets you choose the protein. You have a choice of chicken, steak, shrimp, or tofu. I decided to try the teriyaki chicken with fried rice. Although the teriyaki chicken was tasty, I wouldn’t say that it was much tastier than any you can order from most other take-out places in town. In fact, I know of a place on the south end of town where I could’ve scored a comparable meal for $4, not the $8 we paid for mine. Of course, this wasn’t take-out, and we did enjoy the atmonsphere, so the price seemed a little more stomachable. I can’t see myself becoming a frequent diner at Mei Wei, but overall, I enjoyed my experience. As an added bonus, we both received fortunes that seemed eerily accurate for the day. I know fortune cookies weren’t invented by the Chinese, but don’t tell George Costanza’s mom I said that. In case you can’t make it out from the not-so-in-focus pic, it says, “You will soon be crossing warm waters for a fun vacation.”

Fortune Cookie

Shane’s Take

Mei Wei is a pretty nice place to eat. I ordered the “Blazin’ Thai” dish and chose beef as the protein. (Describing the meat as a protein is hilarious, no? “I chose beef as a protein, yeah! And sour cream as my lactose!”) When I received the dish, I realized I’d really just ordered Mongolian beef with jalapenos. On some level, I was disappointed with the lack of creativity, but I understand restaurants remix things, and I like Mongolian beef as much as the next guy. The portion was generous without being Asian overload, and the dish looked nice. The meat was tender and had a nice flavor, and, unlike many Asian eateries, had the appearance of real beef, not of some oddly-colored food substitute. I was also pleased with complexity of flavor, which was as step above “that Asian flavor” (who knows what that flavor is?) you get in those nifty cardboard takeout boxes.

Mongolian Beef

As for atmosphere, Mei Wei is pleasant and mostly unassuming. The modern decor feels familiar, as it’s much like Nothing But Noodles or former occupant Mama Fu’s. Like Nothing But Noodles, it’s almost too modern, making me feel like I’m not quite cool enough to eat there, but that’s more my problem than theirs. In twenty years, it’ll look painfully outdated, but in 2011 it looks cool. One thing did standout: the store feels very clean. The decor looks clean, and I think the place is actually really clean. I could tell that the owners take pride in running a clean establishment. Overall, I enjoyed Mei Wei. The food tastes good, and the store is clean and nicely-decorated. The prices are a little high and the store a little too modern for my taste, but both are well-aimed at competitors in the slower-but-better-fast-food segment. I doubt I’ll return often, but when my friends ask if it’s good I’ll say “yes”. Final impressions:

  • Mei Wei is better than your average Chinese or Asian eatery. It won’t win any culinary awards, but you could probably bring your I-don’t-eat-Chinese friends with you, and they could find something they like.
  • Although it’s good, the Mei Wei food is pedestrian. It tastes fine, but it won’t challenge your tastebuds.
  • It doesn’t look the part, but,¬†unless it was sold in the last couple years,¬†Mei Wei is locally owned, according to The Huntsville Times.
  • Check out my fortune. “Today is a good day for being with a companion.” It was.
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