In the mood for Asian food for lunch? If you work on the north side of uptown Charlotte or the south side, you’ve got good choices and some variety.
— Martin (Marty) Smith (@ScentTrail) April 1, 2015
The vibe: The only Vietnamese place uptown, and a welcome addition. It’s quieter downstairs than the bigger room upstairs.
What to eat: I’ve run through the menu and the highlight is grilled chicken banh mi ($4.99). A baguette loaded with cilantro, carrot, jalapeno, cucumber. Their grilled chicken is exceptional and every bite of this sandwich was an adventure, with the occasional astounding bit of jalapeno.
The rice dishes are undistinguished, so go bowl – pho (beef soup) or vermicelli. I usually get a medium ($8.25) pho combination – meat ball, beef and brisket – or vermicelli with the grilled chicken ($8.95).
Get there: Pho Plus, 128 Brevard Court, phoplus.org.
The vibe: Good food, good service, good value. Busy (and noisy) at lunch. Most entrees run $6.95 to $9.95.
What to eat: Like a lot of Asian restaurants, they offer a big variety, including sushi, noodle or rice bowls or classic Chinese dishes. Hibachi-style meats served over mixed vegetables are a nice change of pace.
Their version of basil chicken is loaded with broccoli, onion, red bell pepper and basil, of course, in a light brown sauce. Lemongrass gives it a complexity that’s lacking in other Chinese brown sauces.
Get there: EMZY Sushi Bar and Asian Kitchen, 550 S. Tryon St. (Church Street side of Duke Energy Center). emzyuptown.com
The vibe: I have always had a satisfying experience at this upscale Thai restaurant. It’s a popular place at lunch, so plan ahead.
What to eat: Who doesn’t love pad thai? Excellent choice. I often get their namesake Basil stir-fry entree with chicken ($12.95): basil, bell peppers, onions, garlic in a Thai chili sauce.
They offer typical noodle, rice and curry dishes but at high quality and in a comfortable, sophisticated atmosphere. And the salads are interesting.
Get there: Basil Thai, 210 N. Church St. eatatbasil.com/charlotte
The vibe: Great little Chinese place tucked into Hearst Tower on the College Street side. Worth the wait. And they deliver. Lengthy, if standard, menu with a few surprises (no sushi!).
What to eat: Spicy Mongolian chicken and beef has been satisfying. And black pepper beef stir fry with a spicy black pepper sauce was a nice change of pace. Lunch runs from about $6.75 to $7.50 for the specials, including spinach sauteed in kung pao sauce with a protein.
Get there: Soho Bistro, Hearst Tower, 214 N Tryon St. sohobistro2go.com
Bout to SMASH soho bistro. Def my favorite Chinese food place in America!!! Charlotte I love you for having #Soho
— Anthony Heygood (@Heygood4U) December 9, 2011
Photos: Charlotte Observer; Basil’s Facebook page