I am rarely on Apalachee Parkway during dinner time. Between picking up kids, running between appointments, and life in general, the restaurants in that part of town are ones I do not often have an opportunity to explore. Recently we had an errand that took us to this part of the city, and we decided to stop for dinner at Lucy Ho’s east-side venture, Azu.
We walked into the restaurant and were immediately seated at a table near the front window. It is a clean, modern space, and our waitress immediately arrived. Our drink orders were taken, and when she returned, we placed our order.
For a starter, we ordered the edamame with spicy black bean dipping sauce and fried Gyoza pork dumplings. Our waitress advised against our first entrée choice, the three-flavored basil chicken, and instead suggested one of their most popular dishes, the Szechuan fried shredded beef with string beans. We went with her suggestion, and also selected the mango beef tenderloin served southern Asian style.
The pork dumplings arrived first. Five pockets of pork deliciousness were set out on a white ceramic plate, and were accompanied by a savory dipping sauce. Unlike some dumplings, which can suffer from being overly doughy, the dough on Azu’s were thin and crispy where it had been pan fried. The filling was a mixture of pork and spices and they all quickly disappeared from the plate.
A large bowl overflowed with edamame and sat next to a second bowl full of spicy black bean dipping sauce. Fans of the same dish served at Masa will be happy to know it is by all accounts identical. The edamame was nicely seasoned with salt, and the dipping sauce was true to its name. It packed a nice punch of heat and we happily snacked on the pods while waiting for our main courses.
Kirsten’s selection, the mango beef tenderloin served southern Asian style, was the best item tasted on our visit. Large pieces of nicely cooked tenderloin were accompanied by a colorful mixture zucchini, peppers (red, yellow, and green), and juicy pieces of mango. The sweetness of the mango went well with the beef and the crisp vegetables provided a nice texture balance.
The Szechuan fried shredded beef with string beans was a disappointment. Super thin strips of beef were coated in a thick breading and served with green beans and slices of onion and carrot. The beef flavor in the dish was negligible due to the batter, and the best thing about the dish were the succulent green beans. It has to be one of their most popular for a reason, but the fried shredded beef with string beans was not our cup of tea.
Service throughout our meal was very good, and despite not enjoying one dish I would return to Azu. the restaurant is open Monday – Friday 11 am to 10 pm, Saturday 11:30 am to 10 pm, and on Sunday from 10:30 am to 9 pm. Azu can be found online at azulucyhos.com and Facebook. For more information the restaurant can be contacted by telephone at (850) 893-4112.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: