If nothing else, recent stops at Wild Ginger (see left) have served as a reminder: Life's too short to eat so-so food. Luckily, plenty of first-rate Asian alternatives abound. Here are our picks for spots offering well crafted, sparkling fare:
For Chinese cuisine, it's hard to beat Chinatown mainstays Bo Loong (3922 St. Clair Avenue, 216-391-3113) and Li Wah (2999 Payne Avenue, 216-696-6556). Or check out the nearby Siam Café (3951 St. Clair Avenue, 216-361-2323) for outstanding Thai fare with an emphasis on seafood, and Superior Pho (3030 Superior Avenue, 216-781-7462) for excellent Vietnamese soups and more.
Downtown, consider Wu's Cuisine Shanghai Restaurant (2142 Rockwell Avenue, 216-781-9740) for old-style Chinese-restaurant classics, and for sushi, both Ginza Sushi & Steak House (1105 Carnegie Avenue, 216-589-8503) and Sapporo (1906 East Sixth Street, 216-579-7000) are first-rate.
On the West Side, options include Vietnamese restaurants Long Phung (5107 Detroit Avenue, 216-651-1119) and Minh Anh (5428 Detroit Avenue, 216-961-9671), Cambodian Phnom Penh, with two locations (in Ohio City at 1929 West 25th Street, 216-357-2951, and 13124 Lorain Avenue, 216-251-0210), Thai eatery Ty Fun (815 Jefferson Avenue, 216-664-1000), and for sushi, Kimo's Sushi Shop (1885 Fulton Road, 216-631-7463).
On the East Side, Japanese and sushi standouts include Pacific East (1763 Coventry Road, 216-320-2302), Shinano (5222 Wilson Mills Road, 440-473-2345), and Shuhei (23360 Chagrin Boulevard, 216-464-1720). For Chinese, consider Hunan by the Falls (508 East Washington Street, 440-247-0808), and for Thai, both Mint Café (1791 Coventry Road, 216-320-9915) and Lemon Grass (2179 Lee Road, 216-321-0210) are good bets.
Flight risk: Look for Kent's popular Mugzee's Wings & More, home of big, plush chicken wings, deep-fried Oreos, and other wicked goodies, to make a move this summer. If all goes as planned, owner Kurt Zitzner will relocate by late August from inside Club Khameleon (626 North Water Street) to the soon-to-expand Water Street Tavern at 132 South Water Street.
The move will give Mugzee's its own storefront, and Tavern owner Mike Beder is looking to draw a crowd, as the Kent watering hole will add a rooftop patio and a schedule of live music.