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Fulin's Asian Cuisine - Oak Ridge, TN

As a parent of young children, have you ever driven by a snazzy-looking restaurant you'd like to try, but then you glance in your rear view mirror, and take note of the kids, dirty and sweaty from a day of hiking and playing in the creek, and you just aren't sure you are what the restaurant staff was hoping would walk through the door?

That's what we were dealing with tonight. We were cruising through Oak Ridge trying to find "something other than pizza" and we came across Fulin's Asian Cuisine. Even though it's just in a strip center location in with the newly-built Kroger grocery store, it definitely looks like an upscale sort of place.

Bibby is a sushi junkie, though, so we decided to give it a shot. Upon entering, it was definitely a nice establishment, but it was also a bit more laid back than it appeared on the outside. We didn't feel nearly as out of place as I thought we might. 

Our waitress was very friendly, and she guided us through a few of the menu choices and the day's specials. For our sushi choices, we went with two Philly rolls, a Spicy Crunchy Crab roll, and an American Dream. For our entrees, we ordered Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, and Coconut Shrimp, with Ogie opting for a Tempura Chicken Kid's Meal, with a side order of "Chicken-on-a-stick" his personal favorite.

We are the type of diners that like to try different versions of the things we know we like. We're not totally adventurous. We're on a little too much of a budget to risk expensive versions of the unknown. But our idea of a perfect meal is a unique take on our preferred tastes. We order as many different things as the pocketbook allows, and then we each let the others have a bite, or two, or even three, so we can all enjoy a taste of everything, and possibly fall in love with something new.

I'd like to give Fulin's a giant 5 STARS on meeting us at our definition of a perfect meal. Each thing we ordered was a familiar favorite, but was beautifully presented, and served to us in a fancy, exiting manner. My orange chicken was embellished with geometrically placed orange slices, and Bear's coconut shrimp was served as a mountain of giant prawns, surrounded by broccoli, drizzled with coconut sauce, and topped with rice noodles.

The sushi rolls were awesome. SOOO delicious, and plated so beautifully. The pink flower on the corner of the dish made Bibby the happiest little girl on the planet.

There were plenty of ooh's and aah's, followed by many, many yummmms....

Fulin's wasn't an inexpensive meal, but it wasn't terrible. Sushi rolls range from $6-$18, and our entrees were about $15 each.  In my opinion, though, the effort put forth for an interesting take on the preparation and plating of each meal, was well worth the price.  You can get cheaper Asian-inspired meals, but they won't be as delicious, and they certainly won't be as pretty!

Fulin's appears to be a Tennessee-based operation with a dozen or so locations throughout the state. Next time you are looking for a Chinese of Japanese meal where you can see and feel the quality difference, without the crazy price tag or the haughtiness of a gourmet establishment, check and see if there is a Fulin's near you! 

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