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Chinois Asian Bistro | Windsor

Author: | posted 11/5/07 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Chinois Asian bistroA true sister act to Kelly Shu and Chang Liow’s sushi restaurant, Ume, SF-trained sibling Debbie Shu heads up Chinois Asian Bistro, an ultra-modern pan-Asian kitchen. Think Betelnut meets Wine Country.

On the menu are several types of dim sum (finally come to SoCo), small plates of everything from panko prawns with wasabi-honey, chicken satay and Singaporean Roti Prata (a sort of flat bread with curry dip) to sautéed mung beans, garlic egg noodles and what you’ve come here for–seafood Nonya Laksa.

This Malaysian-inspired noodle soup starts with a thick, creamy coconut broth infused with pungent spices (cardamom, fennel, Chinese cinnamon bark to name a few) topped with clams, scallops, shrimp, fried bean curd and a hard-boiled egg. The crowning jewel is a dab of fresh coconut meat and a squeeze of lime. Exotic? Yes. But this kind of simple, honest, home style food is simply what Debbie (and many of the rest of us) having been craving ’round these parts. “This is just the stuff that I want to eat,” she says.

Add to her cravings Beef Lumpia ($6), a delicate fried spring roll bathed in a honey chili sauce that has a sweet, savory, hot flavor that begs to be licked from the plate. Sautéed mung bean sprouts arrive like a small work of art. They’re earthy and slightly bitter with bits of dried shrimp nestled inside, along with homemade shrimp and taro chips.

Garlic egg noodles are a signature dish that seem bland at first–little more than a plate of mostly unadorned homemade noodles. But they grow on you with each bite, tender, chewy and dangerously addictive. During lunch, plates of Rendang Beef and grilled pineapple baby back ribs come with an organic house salad, daikon soup (which Debbie says she grew up eating for breakfast) and jasmine rice. It’s a great way to sample a few dishes with a friend.

Dessert’s best bet is a simple coconut crème brulee. Do not turn it away no matter how full you are and don’t plan to share it. It’s that good.

The wine list is intriguing, with Chang’s past expertise in pairing Asian flavors with different grapes shining through. Currently the list is focused on wines mostly outside the area (European, Australian) but he’s adding more quickly, with plans for a large in-house cellar. The restaurant offers a complete menu of high-end sakes and exotic teas.

Chinois Asian Bistro, 186 Windsor River Road, Windsor, 707.838.4667

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4 Responses

  1. PeterM April 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I just had dinner at Chinois last weekend with my family. (I know this is a really late review, but there is no “talking food – open diary” for general comments not related to a current review).
    First, I must say that this was one of the most delightful dinners I have had in a very long time. I’m a big fan of American-Asian food, and to me, this restaurant was a STANDOUT. On my scale of 5 stars, they got a solid 4.5. The hot and sour soup and the dim sum platter were awesome! We each had an entree, my chicken with forest mushrooms and green beans was perfectly prepared and just as yummy as can be. My friend had the Cod in parchment – everyone tasted everything and it was all amazing. Prices were extraordinarily good for a place of this caliber – the bill was $83 for a party of four, no booze.
    The atmosphere is really pleasant, definitely a bistro style place with modern lighting and nice, contemporary music (it was French pop, I think, that day). Only complaint was that the server did not ask for any drink orders. The coconut rice was awesome to. This is now my FAVORITE asian place in sonoma county – I went to the Flowering Tea House on Jeff Cox’s recommendation, but this was at least twice a good.

  2. Cheryl Karas December 9, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    Fortunately, we don’t have to use door knockers! Electronic door bells are easily installed and can be customized to suit your taste. You can set it to play your favorite song whenever somebody pushes the ringer. http://www.doorchimeshq.com

  3. Steve November 2, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    A recent trip to Singapore made me realize it had been some time since I had been at Chinois Bistro.
    Had lunch there last week and the place keeps keep getting better. Chinose Bistro examplifies Singapore cusine, a great melting pot of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese.
    Add to that their wonderful tea and wine lists and you have a truely wonderful unique place

  4. BiteClubEats September 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    ORIGINAL COMMENTS
    Posted By: Ann (14/02/2009 6:06:48 PM)
    Comment: I’ve eaten all over the world and I love this great little restaurant in Windsor! I sent numerous friends and clients there and they all agree!!! Try the Red Door cocktail Yummmmmmm. Every dish I’ve tried is better than the last!! You gotta try AT LEAST 1 of everything!
    Posted By: Candice and William Mc Bride (16/02/2008 1:56:01 PM)
    Comment: To the owners of Chinois: It was very difficult to find your contact information through the Yellow Pages and Information. You came highly recommended by good friends. The search was worth it. You have a wonderful restaurant and excellent food. Well worth the drive. We had a memorable Valentine’s Day (our 35th anniversary as well). We will be back. THANK YOU! By the way, our waitress Kelly was the best.
    Posted By: David (03/02/2008 6:51:20 PM)
    Comment: We have been a big fan of Ume for a couple of years now. We welcome even more for Chinois. Face it: These guys know what they are doing. I will continue to be a customer for a long time.
    Posted By: Eric Weingberg (03/02/2008 12:37:54 AM)
    Comment: We really enjoyed our experience there last week. It was the perfect place for me and my girlfriend Jen for our 3 year anniversary. I could not have imagined proposing to her anywhere else. I just want to say that Chinois not only has great food, but it will be a part of our memories.
    Posted By: Upset Reader (01/02/2008 2:03:56 AM)
    Comment: I find the reviews of Eleni and Todd neither constructive nor informative to readers of this forum, especially coming from “CHEFS” as they claim themselves to be. It sounds like nothing but angry senseless babbling. Our family have been to Chinois at least 4 times since they opened, we can tell you that there is nothing “tough” about the pineapple ribs. It’s tender, flavorful and finger-licking good. We know that because it is our father’s favorite dish and we order it each time we’re there. We’ve also heard nothing but great things from our friends who have been there. Maybe Eleni and Todd would only be so brave to tell readers which restaurants they are “chefs” at, so they can hopefully gain some credibility for their ignorant babbling.
    Posted By: Scott from Le Crema (31/01/2008 2:18:28 PM)
    Comment: Well put Andie. My colleauges and I love Ume and Chinois. We are all faithful and long-time customers. There is nothing about Chinois that is ‘twice deep-fried’. We are talking about solid restaurant owners who have solid experience both front and back of the house. It is disappoiting to see unethical people use this forum to make false accusations and do not understand why? Shame on you.
    Posted By: Andie Banas (30/01/2008 11:46:27 PM)
    Comment: Being a faithful reader of Bite Club and Jeff Cox for the past couple of years; I have to throw out there that I see some of the blooming great Sonoma County restaurants come to be because of their recommendations. That said, ‘Eleni Knoll’ and ‘Todd’ seem a bit angry with their comments. I have personally dinned at Chinois with our nurse group from Kaiser Santa Rosa- on a FRIDAY night. We loved the feel, music, people, wait staff, art and food. The restaurant was bustling with great energy. We will dine there all the time for group meetings. Bite Club should be a place to give HONEST feedback. We readers can see through reviews that sound like they have never been to the establishment themselves.
    Posted By: Eleni Knoll (30/01/2008 8:56:23 AM)
    Comment: Being a chef and part of the hospitality industry, the food and the service were both a true disappointment! There were a total of three tables dining on a Friday night and the service was slow. As for the food… some items on the menu were, not seasoned properly, over cooked, and undercooked. !!Warning!!! Do not order the twice deep-fried, overcooked, gross prawns! They need to try a little harder next time! SR
    Posted By: Todd (30/01/2008 8:17:48 AM)
    Comment: Unfortunately a pathetic dining experience. I am bringing my sous chef to lunch as I believe much can be learned from an inept attempt at the stove (unseasoned dishes,tough ribs, the poorest example of char sui bow I have ever had the misfortune of being subjected to). Please! try and drag yourselves to the city,(you know, about an hour south, tall buildings) you appearently have no idea what you’re missing.
    Posted By: Andie Banas (08/01/2008 12:29:44 AM)
    Comment: Glad to see that Windsor is stepping up with legit restaurants like Chinois. I will be making them a part of my dining experience.
    Posted By: Earl and Merideth (05/01/2008 11:49:34 PM)
    Comment: We think that Chinois is a place we have needed for a very long time.
    Posted By: Litten Famliy (26/12/2007 12:14:05 AM)
    Comment: We have to say that Debbie has gone way beyond our visions for Chinois. The place not only excuded the classic little details and the food was right at par. We have known Debbie for ever. Am are at lost for words of how prowd we are for her and her achievements.
    Posted By: Susan (13/12/2007 11:14:18 AM)
    Comment: Food was okay. I ordered the pork with noodles, and the pork had too much fat on it, IMO. The ahi ceviche was good. What made me resolve to not return was ordering the creme brulee; it was good, not great as some have stated here, but the price was $6 for 2 ounces of dessert. Outrageous, even by upscale restaurant price standards. Okay; have no desire to return.
    Posted By: sharron m. (12/11/2007 3:26:05 PM)
    Comment: We just had lunch there. No argument here. I am in love with the asian basil beef and those fluffy pork buns. The music in the back is a bit too loud but they turned it down right away. The daikon soup was surprisingly tasty as well. General overview of this new addition to Town Green: Good Value for my hard earned dollar.
    Posted By: Keith (12/11/2007 1:09:14 PM)
    Comment: We love the fact that there is now a place that makes fresh Dim Sum in Sonoma County. It’s fresh, delicious and the feeling of Chinois is very NY Urban. Sorry Kfudi had a bad time. We have been to Chinois at least 4 times since the opening and have the Nonya Laksa at least 2 times. The review below sounds a bit out of the left field to me.
    Posted By: Jessica (12/11/2007 12:55:21 PM)
    Comment: Hey?!?!? Ouch, who ever wrote the comment below seems to have something personal against the new owners of Chinois. We personally love the fact that they are now open for lunch and offer fresh-organic choices. We are only a few stores down and know that they offer quality food. Too bad people like Kfdui can’t see that or be truthful about why they are so harsh with their uneducated review. THEY seem like the patrons that belong to Johnny Garlic’s. Keep up the GREAT work Kelly and Chang! Forget the negativity.
    Posted By: Kfudi (11/11/2007 3:12:32 PM)
    Comment: Well..my husband and I bravely went about a week after their opening. First of all, I really don’t see what is so “upscale” about the decor, unless you’re used to eating at Johnny Garlic’s. We had very inexperienced waitstaff. The salad could have come out of a bag. Ume’s salad is much better. The Seafood Nonya Laksa noodles were horrible! I couldn’t even identify all of the spices, it was really terrible. The few pieces of seafood definitely were not fresh but frozen. Two prawns, two scallops. We did not eat more than a 1/4 of the serving and no one asked if there was a problem. The oysters on the half shell were too large and too creamy, again, couldn’t finish the 5 served. The wine was the highlight of our meal. Sorry, but I can’t see any reason to return with all of the other options within a 15 minute drive.
    Posted By: Linda (11/11/2007 2:16:56 PM)
    Comment: Who’s the mock intellectual that wrote that article???
    Posted By: wbrooke (10/11/2007 2:54:08 PM)
    Comment: Thank you Bit Club. Your article gave us the push to try another new place in the town green. My wife, brother in-law and I had one of the best experience at Chinois last night. Boy! Was the chicken satay GOOD! Or Pineapple ribs we awesome. We couldn’t help trying the side of garlic egg noodles and it was just RIGHT ON! We are hooked…all the way down to the creme brulee you had suggested. We are so happy that they are around. Nice people. I can’t wait to see them again.
    Posted By: Suziea a chinese food lover (08/11/2007 9:23:14 PM)
    Comment: Xie Xie!
    Posted By: http:// (08/11/2007 8:54:18 PM)
    Comment: My wife and I had one of our best sonoma county lunches this aftrnoon at Chinois. Even before eating, we enjoyed the tasteful interior, the color of the walls and large hanging lamp shades. It all had an understated elegance. We started out with Roti Prata (flat bread with curry dip) and were impressed by the crisp/chewy contrasts of the flatbread and the deep spiciness of the curry. We both ordered the seafood Nonya laksa noodles. Heaped into an ample white bowl, it had the enticing look of a bouillabaisse. There was such an array of delectable morsels such as scallops, prawns and fried bean curd on the surface that if took us a while before we realized there was a well of noodles beneath them. Thank heavens the waitress steered us away from ordering a side of the garlic egg noodles. Our main dish was plentiful. I forgot to mention the very satisfying pork shu-mai which was very flavorful. Perhaps they might have been smaller. They would have been easier to eat. We are looking forward to another visit before long to try out some of dishes we missed.
    Posted By: denaruth (08/11/2007 4:55:00 PM)
    Comment: To Suziea, Ume is not a Chinese restaurant, it is a Japanese restaurant (clearly a big difference), it’s located in Windsor on Old Redwood Hwy. across the highway from the Windsor Palm center, Ume won’t have chow mein as that’s Chinese, and they wouldn’t have “sweet and sour soup”, I think you meant “hot and sour soup”.
    Posted By: Wojamo (08/11/2007 2:48:38 PM)
    Comment: Ok, is it just me, or does Brandon’s comment not make any sense? “SAW Debbie herself”? Don’t get it. Is she a celebrity? And how come no mention of the food? Odd.
    Posted By: Suziea a chinese food lover (08/11/2007 12:07:14 PM)
    Comment: Where is Ume? Is their chow mein good? How’s about their sweet and sour soup?
    Posted By: Brandon (08/11/2007 4:12:44 AM)
    Comment: My wife and I tried Chinois (Yeh!!!)… Although Ume is our favorite bet for food for weekends- had decided to turn around to the FULL parking-lot of Ume and try our luck to see ( we have been SO excited to see when ‘it’ was happening for a lifetime now) Truthfully: we were a bit hesitant go to go a restaurant that early of a stage… We did try Chinois, loved the beauty of the place and SAW Debbie herself! My wife and I have loved Debbie since she was a waitress at Kelly and Chang’s place. We ADORE her! We are so excited for the new cuisine. We are both torn where to spend our date nights nights now since we have Ume and Chinois to pull our date night cravings! I wish them the best of luck…..However, they do not seem to need it.
    Posted By: mary (07/11/2007 1:24:15 PM)
    Comment: I love Ume so I was very excited to see the opening on Chinois. I have to say it was horrible. The food was cold and tasted like it was cooked the day before. The server gave a very bad recomendation for wine and the Laksa had ONE shrimp, ONE scallop and no coconut meat. My friend and I tried about four items on the menu, including the crem bulee, and just couldn’t believe how bad it was! So sad !! We know they will (hopfully) get the kinks worked out and the food up to par with Ume which to me is perfection north of the city for sushi.
    Posted By: Claudia (06/11/2007 9:12:50 PM)
    Comment: Betelnut is on Union Street in San Francisco, when it first opened it was fabulous but I was there recently and the original quality was gone I was very disappointed.
    Posted By: Julie originality (06/11/2007 4:38:08 PM)
    Comment: Well I am a Sonoma county native so please forgive me if Betelnut hasn’t rung any bell. But I am sure that the establishment must be a known one that Chinois cusine, according to Chinois Cher, is very much alike to it.
    Posted By: Chinois Cher (06/11/2007 12:14:05 AM)
    Comment: I’m bonzo for Betelnut. Even their coffee used to be good. Anything remotely like this Real Restaurant establishment all sounds good anytime – and I’m not even hungry. Garlic egg noodles? Yermmy! Also, I wouldn’t turn down some coconut creme brulee about now.

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