Kickin' KAsian Encino Soft Opening Experience + Food Review.
I LOVE SEAFOOD. Unfortunately, the combination of my current living condition and a Jewish boyfriend resulted with me very far from the sea and vaguely obligated to kosher laws.
When my friend Eliana invited me to attend the soft opening of a hot new seafood restaurant in The Valley LA, I pretty much jumped on the opportunity without a second thought. Kickin' KAsian is a modern, family vibe-d eatery providing Cajun-style seafood specialties with an Asian twist.
Upon entering, Eliana and I were swiftly lead to a part of the restaurant dedicated to giving the invited promoters the best experience possible. The first thing that caught my eye was the table piled with seafood that was solely purposed for us to use as props in our photos. Lobsters, Crawfish, Crab, Chicken, Fries and Shrimp, you name it, it was there for us to indulge in a striking, visual photography-fest.
After having a communal ecstasy dance, Eliana and I got to work.
1. We picked the baskets of soft shell crabs and chicken wings to start off.
2. After a couple shots I added the bright red lobster to add a pop of colour.
3. Extra little details like lemon and lime slices were then incorporated.
4. Finally we asked for a store's iconic Michelada (Beverage) for branding.
I made a terrible mistake (?) going to a food event on an empty stomach. Seeing that the food was cooked to look its best accompanied with the amazing scent of the marination, I kid you not, I was DIZZY with hunger. There were multiple times that I had to be a hand model and I shamelessly admit that I licked my fingers clean immediately after.
Fortunately for me, once the photo session was done, we were seated and told that food was coming. YAY ME!!
We were each allowed to order a tasting set which was made up of 2 starters, 1 main and 4 add-ons along with a dessert and free flow of our choice of drink.
Check Out Kickin' KAsian's Menu in the linked below!
2 Starters - KAsian Fries and Fried Calamari
Main - Naked Shrimp
4 Add-ons - Corn, Potatoes, Mushrooms and Garlic Rice
Drink - Honey Arnold Palmer
Desser - Chocolate Lava Cake
(Spice Level: Medium with the KAsian Seasoning) (Seasoning was recommended by our Server!)
2 Starters - Cheese Bites and Fried Shrimp
Main - Naked Shrimp
4 Add-ons - Corn, Quail Eggs, Baby Corn and Steamed Rice
Drink - Thai Tea
Dessert - Vanilla Pudding Bites (I don't remember the name exactly, I'm sorry!)
(Spice Level: Spicy with the KAsian Seasoning) (Seasoning was recommended by our Server!)
The both of us are not of the legal drinking age yet unfortunately, however, the adult beverages are known to be a customer favourite!
Now Eliana and I were both expecting a smaller sample portions considering that we weren't paying a cent for our food. Kickin' KAsian laughed and said "How Cute."
OUR PORTIONS WERE HUGE.
We literally looked at our food and immediately knew that there was no way we were going to finish the feast laid before us. The KAsian seasoning that both Eliana and I ordered did not disappoint. It most definitely had an Asian flavour to it, most probably from the combination of spices that went into the cajun seasoning. Each dressing that came with the sides were unique as well!
Anyone can easily tell that every marinade, sauce and seasoning was very well planned out to compliment each specific main or side. Be it the zesty lemon, ranch to balance out the oily calamari or the tangy, slightly spicy ketchup that added an extra kick to the cheese bites.
Personally, I preferred the steamed rice over the garlic rice, which is rare for this garlic fan! The plain rice just allowed the cajun marinade's flavour to kick in more powerfully. However, the garlic rice is an amazing pick for eating on its own!
The texture of the shrimp and squid maintained their integrity in spite of the deep frying. The seafood was also clearly so fresh seeing that the often unavoidable seafood odor was completely absent.
Eliana and I dug into our food strategically trying to figure out a tactic of some sort to get as much food into our stomachs as possible. About 40 minutes later we admitted defeat and set our forks down. It was at this time that our server came back to our table to ask "Have you decided on your choice of dessert?"
On one hand, neither me nor Eliana wanted to waste food and felt bad for ordering dessert but on the other hand we figured that even if we weren't able to finish the sweet treats the restaurant will still get our photos - therefore, we technically weren't really wasting food. It was for a good cause!
We finally finished our meals and gave our stomachs a 15 minute break before heading out. As we got up to thank the staff for their hospitality we were given merch! Just when we thought the service couldn't be any better. Along with the merch our extra food was also packed for us to take home and enjoy over the next few meals.
The experience I had at the Kickin' KAsian was amazing! Being a first timer at a LA seafood restaurant the staff were extremely helpful in advising me for my meal. It had a modern, edgy yet family vibe to it. I would definitely recommend going there for a family meal!
UPDATE! I stirred the remaining seafood and KAsian sauce into a pot of rice! Even though the leftovers had been kept for about a day, the flavour did not die at all! It was truly enjoyable. The leftovers lasted me a whole 2 days! (About 5 meals?) This goes to show how big the portions are!