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Hitting the Road for the Holidays: Foodies Travel to Bristow for Asian

Salt and Pepper go a little out of the way for food that's out of the ordinary.

Name: Lin's China Bistro

Cuisines: Chinese, Thai

Payment: Cash, all major credit cards

Alcohol:   Full bar

Price: $$

Address: 10270 Bristow Center Drive ,Bristow, VA 20136

Salt's Take:

When we walked into the restaurant, I could tell there weren't many people inside. There was only one patron in front of us, but it took a while to be seated because there was only one person working the bar and hostess area. Right when I was just about to get frustrated enough to walk out, a waiter came from the dining area and seated us.

Once I sat down, I was immediately calmed by the sheer beauty of the restaurant. The focal point is a huge tree close to the hostess station. A partition separates the bar from the dining area and seems to be growing a shoot of bamboo. The decor paired with the dim lighting makes you feel like you're dining in moonlight somewhere far, far away from Bristow.

For starters I had the triple delight soup. Nothing less than amazing. It was comprised of thin slices of beef, chicken, shrimp, tons of fresh veggies and a delicious stock. Though it was good, I thought the beef could have cooked a bit longer, as it was just a little tough.

For my main dish, I had the combination thin rice noodles. Like the soup, it came with tons of shrimp, chicken and beef, but this time the beef was much more tender. The noodles were perfectly cooked and combined with the vegetables, meat and sauce, made one of the most amazing dishes I've had in quite a while.

My guest let me taste his dish, the Singapore-style thin rice noodles. I felt it could have been spicier, but it was pretty good. It came with tons of fresh peppers and everything was perfectly cooked.

The waiter was very friendly and attentive. For most of our time in the restaurant he stood at the back of the room, watching the tables so he could give patrons anything they may need. Usually this creeps me out, but unlike most people who do this, he was in his own world and was not paying attention to anyone in particular.

The food was amazing and the waitstaff was good. The restaurant was very clean. I would definitely come back, but since it's a bit more expensive than I'm used to, I think I'll save a return visit for a special occasion.

Pepper’s Take:

The word 'bistro' is not typically associated with Chinese-American cuisine. The name is what initially led me to try this place. The restaurant itself was also not what I imagined; it was beautifully decorated and made me excited to try the food. As I looked around, I mostly saw couples, and could tell that it is a preferred date-night dining spot.

Because “Chinese” food is such a staple in the American diet, most of us have had it and we all have several favorite dishes.  I couldn't immediately decide what to try, so I bought myself some time by indulging in hot and sour soup—one of my favorite appetizers. There was a tad bit too much black pepper in it for my taste, but all-in-all, it was fantastic. After a few more spoonfuls, I decided to try the hunan beef.

The order came out very fast, considering there was a bit of a Friday night crowd.  The sauce was amazing and the vegetables cooked perfectly, not soggy or overcooked as one often encounters. The beef was not a prime cut of meat, but the flavor made up for the inferior quality.

The place is a few dollars more than most Chinese restaurants, but the service and the atmosphere made it worthwhile.  The server was very attentive and offered many suggestions as I pondered over the menu. W

Bristow is a bit farther away than I normally would travel for Chinese, but I would definitely choose this place again for the dining-in experience. But for delivery, I would probably stick with my regular Manassas restaurants, though this bistro beats every other Asian restaurant—hands down.

 So if anyone is looking for a spot with food that's more than ordinary and great service, they will not go wrong by with this place.

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