China House is one of two restaurants in the Assi Plaza that were first introduced to the blog reading public by Chow Down Atlanta. China House has perhaps fared less than than YoriJori Burger. No pizzazz factor, you see. But it has soups, soups with home made noodles. It’s easy enough to see, just walk up to the counter and watch the man in the back. You don’t even need to walk close. I can see the guy making noodles half way across the food court.

On this day I got a #6, and asked for it spicy. They tossed in 4 dried pepper pods, and the only way the soup ended up spicy was if I tried to eat the dried pods. The noodles though, were thick and chewy and worth the trouble. The seafood was there, sort of, but the noodles were the star. They weren’t as uniform as noodles from a machine and it showed in the mouth feel. You could feel the slightly irregular character on the tongue and it added to the pleasure of eating here.

I’d go back, but that’s what I’ve said about almost all the eateries here.

Verdict: Neat little noodle house. The soup you choose is immaterial, noodles star here. Recommended.

China House
1630 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 638-0995

China House - Assi Plaza on Urbanspoon

Lavender Asian Bistro is on 124, about 1 block north of the Webb Ginn Road-Scenic Drive intersection. Formally this is a Lawrenceville, Georgia location, but again, it’s one of these Lawrenceville addresses that seem more Snellville than Lawrenceville. It’s in a strip mall on the left as you’re heading towards Lawrenceville, and it’s really easy to pass. If you will prepare to turn left when you see the Aldi, you’ll be in great shape.

I didn’t know about this place until someone posted a tip on Darla’s site, Snellville Eats. I took a look for reviews and they seemed promising. It was an easy drive from the house, and so we decided to go there.

Inside, it’s roomy. There are a lot of tables and a decent number of booths. The waiters were well dressed, wearing ties, and all rather tall men. In general I thought our service was really good, absolutely no complaints there. And the menu is large, with dozens of choices. They also have a rather extensive bar, so if you want beer or wine with your food, they can provide that too.

Lavender Asian Bistro was once known as Lavender Thai and Chinese, and those are the two main cuisines on their menu. At this point in time, however, the Chinese entrees are shown first and in my opinion, it’s the Chinese foods at Lavender that are more dynamic and innovative these days. Though they have a nice selection of Thai dishes, the Thai choices not as extensive as some of the other local options, such as Sri Thai and Danthai.

Once we were seated and had a look at the menu, we ordered the “birds nest” (perhaps called the Seafood Nest; we used both speaking of the dish). My wife ordered a vegetable lo mein plus chicken, I ordered a beef masaman curry, and we ordered Thai spring rolls as an appetizer.

The spring rolls were good. My curry, a Thai curry, was good, but just that, good. My wife’s lo mein was a far better dish, with more interesting flavors and spicing.  But the most impressive dish, and quite an eyeful, was the “bird’s nest”. It was a nice collection of seafood, snow peas, green beans, water chestnut slices, and red bell pepper in a dish made of fried noodles, curved into the shape of a bowl and frayed on the ends to resemble a bird’s nest. It was just a visual delight, and given how fast my daughter finished it, must have been really really good.

Next time I go, I’ll be ordering from the Chinese side of the menu.

Verdict:  Recommended. Good food and very good service. Lavender serves both Chinese and Thai, but the Chinese foods are where this restaurant shines these days.

Lavender Asian Bistro
1195 Scenic Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
(770) 982-3887

Lavender Thai & Chinese on Urbanspoon