Being the avid diner that I am, when meeting up with friends for lunch, I am usually tasked with choosing the restaurant. Accommodating tastes and budgets are one thing, but the one-hour lunch in particular is always a challenging but fun obstacle to tackle, especially when location, a need for parking, and expediency are factors. Of course, my hunger to try new establishments is also a hurdle, albeit a personal one.
On Thursday, my friend agreed on my pick of Xtreme Asian Fusion (10508 101 Street), which seemed to satisfy all of the criteria. Speed was the only “X” factor (heh), but she and I were willing to take the risk. She picked me up and we parked in a row of free one-hour parking spots, and walked past my old volunteer haunt of the Boyle Street Co-op to reach the front doors of the restaurant. The location might seem a bit intimidating, but it really shouldn’t be a deterrent for anyone thinking about visiting the eatery.
The interior of the restaurant seems to fall in line with so many newly-opened or renovated Asian establishments that toe the line when it comes to minimalist décor and carefully chosen accent pieces. Xtreme’s design touches were light but well-chosen – paper lamps graced the ceiling, while interesting gold and metal wall hangings were attractive without being overbearing.
While the menu didn’t scream fusion to me, it did have the pan-Asian representation of both Vietnamese and Chinese dishes I’ve come to anticipate from a restaurant trying to appeal to a more Western palate. My friend and I both angled for the exact same Pad Thai dish ($11.95), which contained egg, shrimp, tofu and bean sprouts, among other things.
The service was great throughout – gracious and attentive, though the server who ended up delivering our dishes was definitely a bit of a showboat. As he was an older gentleman, it was actually quite endearing.
In no time at all, our plates arrived, with a smidgen of fanfare by our busperson. I’m not sure why we were floored by this, as there were only two other parties in the restaurant at that time, but we were duly impressed. Our plates were garnished with at least a half cup of chopped peanuts, much to my inner nut lover’s delight, along with quite a generous handful of shrimp. The heat in the dish was nice – contained, but enough spice to elevate the dish above bland. We had more than enough for lunch, and both ended up taking half our portions away with us. Our only complaint was that the noodles were too dry – water ended up being a necessary accompaniment.
My friend wanted to make the most of our visit and try dessert as well, so we decided to share a plate of deep fried bananas ($4.95). Our final dish arrived, decorated with dollops of whipped cream, a healthy drizzle of chocolate sauce, and bite-sized morsels of the main star. My friend liked it, as it wasn’t overly sweet, and I found the batter nice and light. It did result in a rather sleepy afternoon, but I couldn’t complain.
Deep Fried Bananas
I asked our server if they were busy in the evenings, and he said no, something to be expected given the location. At the same time, he was optimistic that with the completion of the Epcor Tower in a few years, business would pick up. I hope Xtreme is able to bridge the tide – their efficiency and solid fare is a welcome sit-down addition to the downtown core.
Xtreme Asian Fusion
10508 101 Street NW
Daily 11am-10pm, except Fridays and Saturdays 11am-11pm