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West East All Natural Bistro & Bar review

West East's filet mignon, with mashed potatoes and

West East's filet mignon, with mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus. (March 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Alessandro Vecchi

The twain meet in Hicksville.

West East All Natural Bistro & Bar is the full name of the remade West East Bistro -- and it's a mouthful in every way.

After five years of lighting up a dim stretch of South Broadway, West East has added more wattage, in the design and in the kitchen.

Jay Jadeja has joined Danny Wu as co-owner and chef. And the restaurant now emphasizes the grass-fed, free-range, and sustainably farmed, for a trifecta of quality and correctness.

Exit the fish tank, along with hormones and antibiotics. The new West East also sports warmer hues, with a fondness for orange; and marble now tops the bar.

There are plenty of hard surfaces, and the noise level rises quickly. But you can be sure a lot of the talk is about the food, which is very good and sometimes better.

"Danny's pot stickers," with pork and shrimp; and the Vietnamese-style, crisp spring roll with shrimp, are snappy appetizets. Likewise, the house version of chicken Soong, the lettuce wrap; and a hot-and-sour soup that earns its adjectives without tasting medicinal.

But roasted garlic soup tastes more like a sauce; and the poached-pear salad with Gorgonzola cream needs a tart jolt. "Baaaaaag Baaaaaag shrimp" arrives slightly spicy, mostly sweet, flanked by celery and a blue cheese dip to satisfy ardent Buffalo hunters.

Sushi rolls come in a soybean-paper wrap that won't convert anyone fond of nori seaweed. Stick with the glistening sashimi of tuna and salmon.

West East stands out, however, with beef from Painted Hills grass-fed beef. Filet mignon, with mashed potatoes, sauteed asparagus are excellent, even finished with a "Cabernet & Veal Demi." So's the marinated skirt steak with corn-cilantro-chile relish and shoestring fries. Veer east with Malaysian red curry, well-made with chicken.

That much-abused exercise in gilding, macaroni and cheese with lobster, is one of the best around, with knuckle and claw meat, toasted duck bacon and Parmesan cheese, all aided by some restraint with the white truffle oil.

A slab of Pacific halibut, snowy and moist, gets a boost from a similar relish, but not from the bland yam mash alongside. "Kerala"-style rainbow trout, butterflied and coated with coconut curry, also is delicate and fine, except for the dull starch.

Desserts are skippable, except for a special of ginger-flecked, roasted figs -- a fruit appropriately very west and very east.


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