I came across Oz Asian in Lake Mary recently, a small quick-serve restaurant with a pan Asian menu. It’s an assemblage concept, so you’re asked to choose your protein (chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu or vegetables); a base (white rice, brown rice, pasta noodles, vermicelli or soba noodles); a sauce (sweet & sour), sweet oyster, Thai curry, garlic, teriyaki or soy and ginger); vegetables to add in (broccoli, onion, cabbage, bean sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, jalapeños, scallions, corn, carrots, celery, pineapple, tomatoes and snap peas); and any extras at extra cost: (fried egg, scrambled egg, or more chicken, tofu, beef or shrimp).
Very close by is a Fresh Market grocery store where you can buy most of those items and just put them together yourself, but don’t get me started on assemblage restaurants. Or maybe it’s too late for that.
Fortunately, next to all of those options under the “create your own” banner on the menu was another section called “choose from the known.” Here were listed things like orange chicken, General Tso Chicken, Mongolian beef, and pad Thai, among others.
Pad Thai was just what I was hungry for, so that’s what I told the young man behind the counter that I wanted. But as I started to step away, he asked me what I wanted to add to it. What, pineapples maybe? Tomatoes? I only want pad Thai things in my pad Thai; please don’t ask me to ruin it.
But what I got was a nice bowl of noodles with plenty of chicken and bean sprouts and scallions. The only thing that was missing was the characteristic peanutty pad Thai sauce that gives the iconic dish its distinct flavor. I was given a small container of crushed peanuts, which is a nice addition, but it isn’t a substitute for a proper sauce. Still, what I had was enjoyable for what it was and I ate a good portion of it.
Can’t say the same for the vegetarian spring rolls I ordered as an appetizer. The filling seemed as though it was once been cabbage. However, due to extreme frying it had liquified.
The ordering process is a bit clunky but I assume it’s because of endemic staffing shortage. The person taking the order also has to dish up the customers’ choices. Once done, though, your order will be wokked while you wait. While you watch, too, if you like, as the cooks in the compact kitchen can be seen through large windows.
There is a small dining area, plus a couple of tables outside. The food is also well suited for takeout.
Oz Asian is at 3579 Lake Emma Road, Lake Mary (map). It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-807-7183.