A Q&A with Kenny Ly of Mint & Lime Asian Bistro
There’s a simple meaning behind the name of Mint & Lime Asian Bistro.
“Mint and lime means fresh. Everything fresh. Everything,” said Kenny Ly, owner and chef of the restaurant at 7180 Fulton Drive NW in Jackson Township. It’s located in the same busy plaza that houses BAM! Healthy Cuisine, Royal Docks Brewing Company and 3 Brothers Corner Tavern.
Q. What can you tell me about the cuisine at Mint and Lime?
A. “It’s Pan-Asian—a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, some Korean, Thai, Japanese. It’s modern and fusion. I use different ethnicities and combine them. For instance, Thai and Vietnamese together. Everything is fresh and made to order. All the vegetables fresh-cut every day. The meat—all fresh. I don’t precook anything. Nowadays, a lot of restaurants precook everything. It comes out fast but not as fresh. It may take a bit longer for dine-in, but the result comes out better. We also have a full sushi menu; I have a chef for that.”
Q. Do you ever have people come in who are looking for more traditional Chinese-restaurant food?
A. “We have a lot of them. People want things like moo goo gai pan and pepper steak, back-in-the-old-days restaurant stuff they’re used to. If they can name it, I can make it. If it’s not on the menu, I cater to them. And also whatever the customer’s preference for spicy and nonspicy.”
Q. What are some of the popular Pan-Asian items on the menu?
A. “A lot of my customers really love my avocado curry. It’s green beans, red pepper, onions—a colorful mix, and the curry itself is a combination of green and red curry. The green is a little spicy, and the red tones it down, then when you put the avocado in, you get the buttery not the oily. The Vietnamese pho bowl is popular. It takes hours and hours to cook the broth with beef bone. It comes with beef and meatballs and pho noodles, served with bean sprouts, fresh basil and green onions on the side, and sriracha and hoisin sauce which is a dipping sauce for the beef and meatballs. The Bun Cha Gio is vermicelli, lettuce, bean sprouts, fresh basil and stir-fry beef with three Vietnamese egg rolls on top and served with a sweet-spicy Vietnamese sauce. It’s healthy and fresh.”
Q. What is your kitchen background, Kenny?
A. “I’ve been working at restaurants since 1987. I worked for the original Ricky Ly’s in Thursday’s Plaza; I was a chef and manager. I worked at Pad Thai in Hudson. I was the chef at Basil, then I decided to open my own restaurant. I’m Ricky Ly’s youngest brother. I’m (Basil owner) Tony’s uncle.”
For full details, including hours and menus, visit mintandlimeasianbistro.com.