Coventry, already boasting excellent Thai and Japanese/Malaysian restaurants, needs another Asian-themed restaurant like it needs another sports bar, or maybe a hole in its head. This however hasn't stopped Tree Country from opening its doors in the space Que Tal used to occupy. I adore Asian food, being lactose-inefficient I find myself cooking Asian-style cuisine fairly often. I'm also spoiled rotten from having Pacific East and Mint Cafe a block from my apartment. However, I'm always willing to give a new restaurant a look-see, and when my sister brought home the takeout menu from Tree Country I eagerly perused it. My first impression was "jesus, that's a LOT of Asian food." Tree Country has decided that its secret to success lies in bludgeoning you over the head with as many different regional styles and offerings as it possibly can. Its menu states that it's a "taste of Asian, Japanese, Korean and Thai," and there's easily 40 different entree-style dishes on the menu, not including all the various permutations of maki roll, curries, and sashimi a la carte.

The drink menu is pretty standard with hot green tea and thai-style tea as well as an assortment of smoothie-type drinks. I asked which smoothies were able to be made with no milk/yogurt etc. in them and the lady seemed kinda thrown for a bit, but told me that the lychee, pineapple, and coconut had no dairy in them. I went with the pineapple and it was pretty much what I wanted (fruit juice blended with ice). I did notice soybean milk on their takeout menu but it wasn't on their in-house menu; I will probably ask about that next time. My boyfriend got the hot green tea and was pleased with it. The tea mixture in the bag was leafy and had chunks of other things in there, and it was fragrant and tasty.

Since we've had more than our fill of Thai and Japanese on this street, we decided to order Korean dishes and get a maki roll as an appetizer. We went with the Cleveland Roll, which is BBQ eel tempura and cucumber rolled up with seared salmon and eel sauce on top. It was surprisingly good; the fish quality was decent and I liked the flavor of the seared salmon (it was flame-seared and slightly blackened in parts which I enjoy). There's not a roll like it at Pac East, and I'd probably get it again. Their specialty rolls are about 8 pieces to a roll and there's definitely enough going on with one that if you get that and a small salad or soup, you're good to go.

Our Korean entrees were delicious. I ordered the Kimchibokum, which was thinly-sliced pork and kimchi with pieces of tofu tossed in. They had a brown rice option which pleased me tremendously. I used to date a Korean and he taught me all about the proper way to do kimchi. Apparently his mother used to make it the old-school way, where you assemble the ingredients in a jar and bury the jar in your yard to ferment. I doubt this was buried kimchi, but it was very spicy and very good. My only complaint was there wasn't enough of it on the plate. The presentation was done on a sizzling skillet over a wooden board and I enjoyed it thoroughly. My boyfriend had the Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup, a Korean-style spiced soup with squid, scallops, shrimp, and veggies in it. He declared that it was also very good, but it wasn't as spicy as mine. I tried a bit of it and agreed with him. I could probably eat that Kimchibokum at least 3 times a week, it was that good.

I think the next time I'm over there I'm going to check out their green curry. I'm a huge fan of green curry and making a successful green curry still eludes me. Mint Cafe's green curry is fantastic, of course, and I'm curious to see if Tree Country's is any different.

I admit have mixed feelings about this place. Pacific East and Mint Cafe are easily at the top of their game in their respective styles and each one is less than a block from Tree Country. The only thing Tree Country offers that they don't is their Korean-style fare, which admittedly is very good. Tree Country does have some unique specialty maki rolls, and their specialty roll prices are competitive with Pacific East's, but I think I'll still find myself heading over to Pac East for my Japanese fix and Mint Cafe for my Thai cravings. The Korean is not to be denied, though. If Tree Country can survive I'll definitely make a place for them in my Asian lineup based merely on their Korean fare.

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