Sesame Sea Asian Bistro: Good but Overrated

Written By Caroline in Reviews

Exterior of Sesame Sea by Caroline Wik.

Sesame Sea is nice inside and out.

Sesame Sea Asian Bistro

7106 Muirfield Dr.
Dublin, OH 43017

Rating: 3 out of 5 Plates
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sun: 4:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Price Range: Appetizers & Soups: $2 – $9
Lunch Entrees: $7 – $9
Dinner Entrees: $8 – $20


Sesame Sea Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

It’s easy to miss Sesame Sea – it’s tucked in the way back of a strip mall and if you aren’t looking you likely won’t see it. Even if you are looking, you may not see it. But it’s gotten rave reviews on all the food websites, so we felt it was worth seeking out since we found ourselves in the Dublin Area.

The strip mall itself is fairly nice and dressed up – this is Dublin, after all – and the interior matches. There’s nice sandy colored tile, neutral beige walls, wood tables with a dark stain and well, everything is generally neutral like a new house up for sale. I don’t mean this as a bad thing – it’s definitely clean and attractive – but it lacked character.

Sesame Sea is definitely small – there’s only a few tables and they also managed to sneak in a small but fully stocked bar. It would definitely be worth reserving a table if you want one guaranteed on the weekend.

The menu a blend of Americanized Chinese items alongside authentic Chinese dishes. We thought we’d get a mix of Americanized and authentic – the Sesame Sea Sampler, Mala Pork and Mapo Tofu.

Two fried crab wraps, two almond crusted shrimps, two skewers of fried beef with a sweet and sour sauce for dipping make the Sesame Sea Sampler perfect for two people. All of the items were alright with the fried crab wraps being the one we thought tasted best out of the bunch.

Sesame Sea Sampler at  Sesame Sea by Caroline Wik.

The Sesame Sea Sampler features a good mix of things for two people to share.

Mala Pork at Sesame Sea by Caroline Wik.

The Mala Pork was overwhelmingly spicy and has potential, if only you could taste it.

The presentation was much better than we were expecting, the plates and food were nicely dressed and the mala pork came out in an ornate ceramic pot atop a plate of lettuce.

A simple dish, the Mala Pork is a spicy dish of strips of pork fried with green onion and jalapenos. Unlike most places, there was very little oil – enough to coat the food but not so much it’s swimming in it. It was served with a side of fluffy white rice.

The Mala Pork was quite spicy, which overpowered much of the other flavors. The jalapenos were very strong and full-flavored, suggesting they’re fresh which was a pleasant surprise. The pork was spicy and garlicky, however it wasn’t easy to taste since every bite was serious spice. Don’t get me wrong, I love spicy food, however I like it most when the spice is complimentary to the other items in the dish rather than overpowering.

Mapo Tofu at Sesame Sea by Caroline Wik.

The Mapo Tofu, while a spicy dish, wasn’t quite as hot as the Mala Pork.

The Mapo Tofu is a dish of tofu, pork and peppers in a spicy bean paste sauce with rice to spoon it over. Also heavy on the spice, this Mapo Tofu had a meaty, savory flavor. The tofu itself was bland, but the sauce and bits of pork had subtle flavors that carried the dish.

With all this spicy food, we were very appreciative of our sever being on top of keeping our waters filled.

Sesame Sea Asian Bistro serves much of the standard American-Chinese fare one would expect alongside authentic Chinese dishes in a much nicer setting than one would expect. The interior, while tame and lacking personality, is simple and nice – a welcome break from the typical bare-bones take-out type joint – and the food is generally better quality and presented very nicely. The restaurant is fairly small, so if you have a group or it’s the weekend and you want a seat we suggest calling ahead.

Find more photos of our visit in our Sesame Sea photo gallery on Facebook. While you’re there, why not like us too?

Been to Sesame Sea Asian Bistro? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Verdict: Chinese Take-Out All Dressed Up

Sesame Sea Asian Bistro is much of the typical American-Chinese fare you’d expect along with a few authentic Chinese dishes mixed in on the menu. Unlike most Chinese take-out restaurants Sesame Sea offers a much nicer setting – more friendlier to sitting down in the restaurant and having an enjoyable meal there. The interior of Sesame Sea is very small but clean and minimalist and decorated a lot better than your average Chinese restaurant.

Similarly, the food is plated very nicely and looks great – no excessive oil or anything and there was clearly some care in how the food looked. The food was alright, but wasn’t quite as good as we had hoped for. However, if you want Chinese and are in the Dublin area – it’s still a good option. Just be sure to call ahead for a seat on the weekends or if you have a group.

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  • Aaron Tom

    So you give it pretty much a rave review, yet call it “overrated”. How so?

    • http://www.gplus.to/carolinewik Caroline Wik

      For us, this was definitely not a rave review. However, I think you are right that I should perhaps have made it a bit clearer and will update the article. Essentially we had read/heard many things saying how fantastic the restaurant was and, while there was nothing particularly wrong or bad, it just wasn’t as great as we had been lead to expect – it was just okay.

      • Aaron Tom

        Well maybe “rave” was too strong a word, but I read the entire article and the only thing I got out of it was that it wasn’t flawless (what is?), and the only true complaint I saw was that the decor was plain. Then, every time you mentioned a minor issue with the food, you countered it with a positive, which actually gave the review a much more complimentary vibe than the headline suggested.

        But now it looks like you’ve updated it, and the headline seems much more fitting.