Over by Dean Avenue and Monona Drive lies a little mall with the wonderful Asian grocery store Viet Hoa
and the newly-opened Lee's Asian Bistro. The Dulcinea and I grabbed dinner there last week.
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to show you but the décor has a rather clean look to it with accoutrement including paper lamps dotting the ceiling and some Oriental masks on the walls. Once you're seated, don't be fooled by the menu. It says that they serve dim sum on weekends from 7:00-2:30 but, when I asked a waitress to view the dim sum menu, I was told that there was a printing error and that our hearts won't be touched by it until the autumn. A disappointment but the prospect of dim sum later this year is still good news.
The menu is mostly Chinese and resembles pretty much any Chinese take out joint around. However, there are also small Thai and Vietnamese sections. The former includes the staple Pad Thai while the latter has five varieties of Phở.
I ordered some crab rangoon and Manderin Noodles, a house specialty involving "Tenderloin sliced beef, jumbo shrimp, white chicken, snow peas, napa, bak choy and bean sprouts with white sauce over top of noodles" while The Dulcinea indulged her addiction to Sesame Chicken.
The crab rangoon were good. Not the best around but certainly in the middle of pack. They were accompanied by mustard and sweet & sour sauce. I sampled the Sesame Chicken and found it to be much less sweet and more sour than most iterations I've had around town. The sauce was, as the menu said, tangy. This was served with white rice. My noodle dish came to the table piping hot and was good, if a bit on the bland side. The white sauce could have used a bit more garlic to my taste, but it was pretty much the simple dish that I expected. My real complaint was that there was a paucity of vegetables. I would have gladly traded some of the meat for more Napa cabbage and bok choy. Plus I'll also note an extreme paucity of bean sprouts.
Lee's Asian Bistro tries to be a lot. As I noted above, the menu consists mostly of standard Chinese fare with a bit of Thai and Vietnamese for good measure. I suppose there isn't a whole lot of Asian cuisine in Monona and Lee's tries to be a bit of everything at once for the area. From this one trip, the joint seems like your average Chinese restaurant but there's a large menu yet to explore. And, if they make good on their promise of dim sum, Lee's will be one of those rare birds in town to offer it. There doesn't seem to be anything particularly unique about their food and so there's no pressing reason for chowhounds to stop in. However, if you're in the area, you can stop there for a repast before shopping at Viet Hoa and the Mexican bakery in the mall next door, the name of which escapes me.