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DINING: Backward-named eatery, forward-thinking fusion

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Dining - A&E

Search the Web for Naisa and you may come up with the North American International Auto Show or the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Neither has anything to do with the new Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe (1025 Virginia Ave., 602-3708), where the name comes from simply reversing the letters in the word Asian.

Thankfully, there's nothing equally gimmicky about the food or the spare decor.

For a first visit, we stuck close to the lunch specials and, while satisfied, wished we had gotten more creative. Tangerine Chicken ($7.25) offered chunky poultry parts in a light-enough batter with a deliciously peppered sauce. It proves that quality—and spicy sauce—doesn't always have to shout to be memorable.

The Triple Greens in Garlic-Chile ($5.95) was similarly flavorful. The greens in question depend on what's in season. On our trip, it was green beans, broccoli and celery, stir-fried in a tasty sauce that was just hot enough to make the side of white rice come in handy.

Like the 18 other lunch specials, these came complete with choice of Hot and Sour, Egg Drop or Wonton Soup as well as white or fried rice and a Seafood Cheese Wonton.

We supplemented with Rice Paper Shrimp Roll ($4.95) from the small plate menu. These eggroll-like appetizers are filled with shrimp, egg noodles and assorted veggies, but they escape the deep fryer. In fact, they're served cold with a trio of homemade dipping sauces: sweet and sour, hot mustard and duck sauce. We added the wasabi mayonnaise for a buck.

There is, for now, only one item on the dessert menu—Cinnamon Sugar Puffs with Honey Ginger Dipping Sauce. Eight of them come in a $4.95 order and when you do something this well, you really don't need much else. Who doesn't want to end a meal with culturally enlightened doughnuts?

___

First in our month-long exploration of new restaurants in the city's cultural districts.


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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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