The Asian Bistro becomes late-night hot-spot

by Kiani Dumagan, Contributor

Nothing’s worse than finding yourself hungry late at night, to realize that the only restaurants open are fast food restaurants. For those that are looking for an alternative, The Asian Bistro is the perfect place for you.

From 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., you can indulge your late night cravings at 414 University Ave. in Hillcrest. That’s right, the restaurant is only open at night, the perfect spot for night owls or someone fresh from the bar looking for some drunchies.

Walk into the restaurant past midnight on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll find just that. The first few times that I visited the restaurant, I was surrounded by loud and happy drunk people and I was perfectly fine with that. This time, however, I was looking for more of a quiet dinner, so I came on a Sunday night around 8 p.m.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was happily greeted and told to sit wherever I liked. The restaurant only had a few other people sitting – mostly couples and some nice jazz music was playing.

I usually order the yellow curry with chicken or pad thai, but I was feeling a little adventurous this time and ordered a seaweed salad and a pot of tom kha. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this spicy and sour soup, it mainly consists of chicken, coconut milk, mushrooms, lime and chili. I’m a huge fan of limes and spicy food, so this soup was a hit for me. It also came out in a pot with a huge flame in the center, which was pretty awesome.

The restaurant offers a daily happy hour special from 5-9 p.m. where customers can order appetizers like “yummy sticks” or “thai me down” for only $3.95. The real happy hour deal is the chef’s special, where customers get an entree, soup and choice of dessert for $11.95. Some entree options are pumpkin curry shrimp and tangerine chicken.

For customers that miss happy hour, The Asian Bistro also offers a “late night special” from 11 p.m. where select entrees are priced under $10.

San Diego State student, Jordan Cano, said the main reason he comes to The Asian Bistro is for its deals.

“I like to come here late at night with my girlfriend, and I usually order the green curry,” Cano said. “As a college student who loves thai food, it’s nice to know that The Asian Bistro is not that far from State and isn’t too expensive.”

The Asian Bistro currently sits in the historic location of Jimmy Wong’s Golden Dragon restaurant, which operated for over 50 years and served guests like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. In 2006, the restaurant was sold to the current owner of The Asian Bistro. To preserve this landmark, The Asian Bistro still boasts Jimmy Wong’s neon dragon sign over the restaurant.

If you find yourself wanting to indulge in some of Hillcrest’s history or just have a late night craving for some thai food, then head down to University Avenue and look for the dragon sign.