Asian Rim restaurant, newly opened at the lakefront in Columbia, is bringing Thai, Malaysian and other Asian cuisine to the popular dining area.
The owners of Asian Rim previously operated the Malibu Grill at the same location, next to Sushi Sono at Lake Kittamaqundi. That restaurant was a churrascaria (a Portuguese word for steakhouse) notable for the servers in cowboy outfits walking around with skewers of cooked meat.
The Malibu Grill, which opened in December 1999, was not doing well at that location, said owner Allen Wong. He and co-owner Mike Cordero wanted to try something new to attract more diners.
"We brought in a head chef from New York, and we changed it," Wong said.
He added, "Right now, the most new and exciting concept in the United States is Thai food and Malaysian food."
The menu is diverse, including four kinds of curry: yellow, red, green and Pan Ang, named for a city in Malaysia.
It offers pad Thai, a popular dish from Thailand made with cooked rice noodles, crushed peanuts, tofu, shrimp and other items stir-fried, and satay, an Indonesian dish with marinated cubes of meat or poultry grilled on bamboo skewers and served with plum peanut sauce.
The mango chicken and mango shrimp are popular, Wong said, as is the sesame crusted salmon. Plus, the restaurant offers a number of northern Asian dishes, which will be familiar to patrons of Chinese restaurants.
On weekends, the restaurant offers dim sum. Servers bring small portions of 30 to 40 items around to the tables, including dumplings, pastries and vegetable dishes. Guests can choose which items they want to sample and pay $1.50 to $5 per dish.
Wong and his staff are still fine-tuning Asian Rim and say they will advertise more heavily once they are finished. They are open for business in the meantime, with indoor and outdoor seating available.
The restaurant plans to make more changes to the decor, which still has a few Brazilian-theme murals along with a green, leafy bamboo screen separating two rooms of the restaurant, a large gold elephant and other Eastern touches.
"You come here, you feel comfortable," Wong said.
He hopes that Asian Rim will be more appealing to people in Columbia than was Malibu Grill. "They don't like buffet style," he said. "They want something more full service."
Where: 10215 Wincopin Circle, Columbia; 410-964-5566.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Prices: Lunch, $6.95 to $7.95; entrees, $7.95 to $22.95.
Credit cards: American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, Diner's Club.