Review: Balance Pan Asian Grille
Posted in the Maumee Forum
#1 Jul 11, 2010
I had never even heard of Balance Pan-Asian Grille before, but someone wrote a review and alerted me to the fact that there is a phenomenal Asian restaurant just a few minutes away from my office. I tried it recently and I was blown away.
If I had to compare Balance to another restaurant, I'd say it is like an Asian version of Chipotle or Panera, only far more elegant.(Elegant in the sense that you could easily have a business lunch here and not feel like you are slumming.) Like Chipotle, they have a very simple menu that you can mix and match for fixed prices. They have five basic sauces from which to choose, and then you add your chosen protein and carb. For instance, I might get the Four Star sauce (their take on General Tso's) with chicken and fried rice. I could have went with tofu, steak, or shrimp instead of the chicken, or I could have swapped out lo mien or brown rice for the fried rice.
From my experience, it doesn't matter what you get, because it is all awesome. It is seriously high quality food with fresh ingredients. It looks like they put an emphasis on healthy, whole foods, and it shows in the final product. They even have nice options like grilled chicken instead of breaded chicken for all the dishes.(Ever try to get non-breaded General Tso's chicken at some Asian places? Good luck!)
Although the entrees are great, don't leave before trying some of the "add ons", as they call them. The egg rolls are fantastic, and they come with a really wonderful (and piping hot!) sweet and sour dipping sauce. Likewise, the pot stickers are a great choice. They are both crisp and chewy at the same time, and have a solid beefy flavor that goes perfect with the equally good dipping sauce. I have also tried the hot and sour soup, which reminds me a lot of the soup at 3 Happiness; that is, it isn't boring like so many places make it, but rather very spicy with plenty of pepper so the heat slowly develops as you eat through a bowl of it. Definitely worth a try.
I also have to mention the unbelievable service. I kid you not, this place has the best service of any place I've been to in the last year or two. The staff are super friendly, and take the time to explain the menu and options. Even though this is really more of a fast-food type setup, they treat you like this is a sit-down place with table service. The first time I went there they checked in with me during the meal to make sure everything was okay and they referred to me by name as I left. After returning for a second visit a couple weeks later, they remembered me and welcomed me back, noting it was good to see me again. These guys really pay attention to their customers.
The only drawback are the prices, which are fair for the quality of food you get, but I have a hard time getting out of there for less than $10 because I can't help getting an "add on". For me, anything over $10 enters dinner territory as opposed to lunch fare. If you stick to a simple entree, you can spend just $7, which isn't bad at all and worth every penny.
If you like Asian food at all, the awesome food and friendly service make Balance THE place to go in Maumee. This is my "find of the year" so far, and I'm thrilled by it.
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