The Promise of Padi
With a few tweaks, Hockessin’s newest Pan-Asian place could reach its flavorful potential.
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Sushi rolls: $4-$18
Entrées, noodle and rice dishes: $12.95-$29.95
Scallop sashimi, Massaman curry, salmon-avocado kyuri maki
The scallop shell shimmered when it arrived, the smooth grooves on its concave surface reflecting colors of the spectrum. Thin lime slices fanned over it and cradled slivers of raw scallop, still carrying a sweet ocean scent. One by one the pieces puckered slightly after a dip in soy-citrus sauce, revealing their utmost freshness and delicateness. The shell, balancing atop a fat, green banana leaf, was soon empty again.
Inside Padi, a Pan-Asian addition to Hockessin’s Lantana Square, freshness was afoot. The sort of food so fresh it not only awakens the taste buds, but stands them at attention.
At the best of times during several visits, Padi delivered stunning raw dishes in a swank atmosphere—all bedecked with black woods and gold colored booths. Glowing lights pulsed and faded from the sushi bar’s underbelly, and a vibrant happy hour and late-night crowd clocked in loyally for lemongrass martinis and Asahi. On cue, a flash of flame burst from sushi chef Jon Muliadi’s blowtorch as he incinerated a layer of bubbling salmon draped across a sushi roll.
Named after the Malay spelling of rice paddy, Padi is the second restaurant in Eve Teoh’s collection, succeeding the superb Rasa Sayang in Independence Mall. Much like Rasa—which churns some of the briskest lunch business around, having won the patronage of nearby AstraZeneca and Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children—Padi can provide exhilarating highs.
Padi oozed promise from its tasteful opening volley: an amuse-bouche of buri toro (the fatty and satiny-tender belly of yellowtail carpaccio) dressed simply with wasabi, olive oil and specks of micro green. The fish resisted like soft butter, screaming its freshness and rich oceany flavor.
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