The atmosphere is dim. Candles, funky neon-colored lights and a volcano in a perpetual eruption of flaming Bacardi 151 provide light.
Blowing out the flame on our volcano drink while lowering our 18-inch-long straws into the gigantic bowl of luscious liquor, my two dinner partners and I settled in for a exquisite meal at Moongate Asian Bistro, located at 1629 Pearl St.
The restaurant occupies a small storefront just east of the Pearl Street Mall that is easy to miss, and this would be the largest of trespasses for any Boulderite that loves Asian food. Offering cuisine derived from Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes, the place is not to be missed, as it offers one of the best dining experiences for its price and style in the city.
Entrees are generally under $12, with the average cost around $9. With a beer or appetizer, a full meal is never more than $15 dollars, and it is even cheaper at lunch time. The knowledgeable waiters and waitresses sport classy black uniforms that fit in well with the hip, modern atmosphere. Modern art fills the walls, and there is always something cool to look at between bites of food.
The food – definitely the main attraction – leaves nothing to be desired. It is exquisite! In fact, I may soon have to check myself into rehab to kick my addiction to the sesame chicken. It is beyond words; just try it. I have on occasion tried some of the other dishes, and they all taste excellent. (The basil chicken and satay beef come to mind.) Entrees are served atop steamed veggies with white rice molded into cool shapes, which make for an impressive presentation alongside the garnish.
Moongate has two other locations, in Lafayette and Denver, and a fourth is planned for Fort Collins. For a great Asian meal at a reasonable price, it doesn’t get any classier than Moongate.