100 Best Restaurants 2011: Jesse Wong’s Asean Bistro

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

As if the concept of Asian fusion weren’t dubious enough, the misspelling “Asean” is likely to bring out the skeptic in many diners. But chef Jesse Wong is more traditionalist than tinkerer, upscaling his plates primarily by relying on higher-quality meats and fishes than most noodle houses and by displaying a sure hand with stir-fries.

The sprawling menu comprises many genres (Cantonese, Szechuan, Malaysian, Burmese) and cooking styles (dim sum, curries, noodle dishes, banquet presentations), affording diners a variety of possible experiences. You can eat lightly on small plates, such as wontons in red oil and chicken in lettuce cups, or have a special-occasion blowout featuring either of two showstoppers: tea-smoked duck with steamed buns or Peking duck with pancakes. The setting, with low lights and comfortable chairs, is more restrained than the name suggests.

Also good: Hot-and-sour soup; Kowloon shrimp; black-pepper shrimp.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.