Ding–Bethany, OK

Ding Asian Fusion
6400 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK
(405) 603-8858
Ding Asian Fusion

Ding Asian Fusion in Bethany


Ding Asian Fusion has been in operation since the summer of 2016, but in this time it has already gone through a transformation (and fortunately seems to have survived intact). It started out as the latest venture of Szechuan Bistro, a popular Chinese restaurant on Memorial Road near Edmond. It so happened, though, that while visiting Szechuan Bistro in 2018 I talked to the man who I learned was the “former” manager at Ding, and learned that their former satellite restaurant was now independent and had new owners. This put into perspective, though, a visit I made to Ding a short time earlier where Ding seemed to be in a parallel time line–most things were as I thought they should be, but certain details were “off” (such as the expressions on employees’ faces when I asked them questions about Szechuan Bistro thinking that this was still their parent restaurant).

I should point out that being an offshoot of Szechuan Bistro gave immediate credibility to the food here, and I was happy to have the same food in a different location. It was not exactly the same in the sense that Ding made the default spiciness at a lower level than the same dishes would be at Szechuan Bistro if you just ordered from the menu and did not specify a spice level. In addition there was a list of more authentic “whiteboard specials” from Szechuan Bistro that they eventually incorporated into the regular menu while Ding never offered them on either the menu or as a special.

Ding's interior

Ding’s comfortable dining room

Ding was more of a “fusion” concept, serving sushi and Thai fried rice (I do not know if these are still available). The menu items I saw at Ding in 2018 still looked much like the ones at Szechuan Bistro, with mostly Sichuan style dishes along with a few that are definitely more “safe” for some people (chow mein, moo goo gai pan, etc.). A synopsis of this is that the Ding menu of 2018 was still very similar to the Szechuan Bistro of two years previous, but in that time Szechuan Bistro has expanded their choices to include many items which used to be listed as whiteboard specials.

The ambiance at Ding follows Szechuan Bistro’s upscale concept, prices are good, and lunch specials come with soup and rice (the hot and sour soup here is definitely among the best in OKC). When I ate here in 2018 I still thought I was eating at a Szechuan Bistro restaurant, based on the flavor of the food. I think Ding has a good beginning which they are continuing with new owners and mangers, but it is essentially the same food.

Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce
I believe the main difference between Szechuan Bistro and Ding is that the latter has a more limited choice of items that I consider to have an authentic flavor. I used my past experience, though, to order the Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce from the lunch menu on my first visit to Ding.

Shredded pork in garlic sauce

Lunch portion of shredded pork in garlic sauce

This turned out to be a great choice for lunch although at the time garlic was not an issue (I have already determined that I do not want to book a dentist appointment after eating this dish). The sauce was very well balanced and not too sweet. The vegetables were crispy and flavorful, and overall this makes a great lunch for me.

The ironic thing about this dish is that it serves as a replacement for what was my original favorite Chinese dish in Oklahoma City–the shredded pork at Lotus Mandarin (which was located on 38th Street a couple of blocks from where Ding is now located in the adjacent city of Warr Acres). So if there are any other “old timers” out there who enjoyed Lotus Mandarin as I did, I would recommend checking out Ding. (The flavors of Ding really remind me of Lotus Mandarin, except that I think Ding offers a greater variety of authentic Chinese dishes).

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken

Lunch portion of kung pao chicken

The Kung Pao Chicken is another excellent choice, and has the authentic flavor without as much garlic (at least I think there is less garlic). The difference here is that it includes chunks of garlic that you can either choose to eat or not. The chicken is white meat, and there is a generous portion of celery and bell peppers, as well as red chiles. The sauce was very flavorful, but I think it was made more so by the fact that I asked for the dish to be made more spicy (the extra spice seemed to add a smoky flavor that made the sauce even more interesting in terms of flavor). The dish itself was not extremely spicy, but this is because I generally refrain from biting in to the red chiles.

I was a little disappointed in the number of peanuts that were included and the fact that it did not have any bamboo shoots, but overall I thought this was an excellent dish with a much better than average flavor. This dish was served after the ownership change at the restaurant, but the flavor seemed like the “old” Ding which was essentially the same as Szechuan Bistro (although less spicy).

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

This is one of the soup choices available, and is the one I recommend if you like spicy food (although I don’t think the soup here is as spicy as at Szechuan Bistro).

A Note About the Spicy Sichuan Dishes
Ding has chiles on the menu next to spicy items–either one, two, or three chiles. The shredded pork in garlic sauce has one chile, which I found to be barely noticeable on the spice level. This is fine with me, because I liked the dish, but I just want to make the comment that a dish with one chile is barely spicy at all (and many menu items have no chiles).

While I think the flavor of Ding matches Szechuan Bistro, the spice level apparently does not. So far I think the “new” Ding has continued the same food they have had from the beginning, so I continue to be happy that a very good Chinese choice can be found in the Bethany area.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 24, 2018
Number of Visits: 2
Best Items: Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce, Kung Pao Chicken

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine/ Iced Tea
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce
star 5 Kung Pao Chicken
star 5 Hot and Sour Soup

 

Menu (Dec. 2016):

 

Bistro 38–Oklahoma City, OK

Bistro 38 Thai Green Cuisine
2903 N.W. 36th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 948-2788
Bistro 38

Bistro 38


Bistro 38 Thai Green Cuisine is not the first Thai restaurant to operate in this location, and I believe the change occurred in 2014. The previous restaurant was owned by Sala Thai, although it was apparently operated independently. Bistro 38 is still the same kind of small family run restaurant that I believe was here before, and I think this is a big reason for the positive reviews I have read for both restaurants.

Most of the dine-in customers seem to come at lunch, and otherwise it relies largely on take-out orders. I experienced a comfortable dining room, the music was enjoyable, and the service was good. The menu was not huge but it looked as if it had several good choices. Outwardly it was very much like the typical strip mall Thai restaurants I find around the city.

Lunch Specials

Lunch combo

Lunch combo with Panang curry and veggie pad thai

Although the dinner menu is priced well compared to other Thai restaurants, lunch is even more of a bargain. Lunch Specials give you one item (noodles or fried rice) while the Lunch Combo gives you four (the main item which is either curry or pad basil, veggie pad thai, steamed rice, and a veggie spring roll). The menu says no substitutions are allowed, but they did let me get a double portion of the pad thai and delete the spring roll (I am mentioning this mainly to explain why the photo above includes an extra large serving of pad thai).

The choices on the Lunch Combo are good: the Panang Curry is one that I liked and my waitress said was one of the best choices. I definitely had a “happy meal” with this selection (to borrow a phrase I frequently see at Japanese restaurants).

Pad Prik King

Pad prik king

Pad prik king

The Pad Prik King had a good sauce (curry without the coconut milk), crispy green beans, and tofu with a good texture (I ordered the vegetarian version). I found this version to be similar to the ones at several other restaurants (and this is a good thing). The dish was made the right way, and I did not have any complaints.

I did learn, though, not to be timid about the spice scale here (they have a one to four “level of spiciness” and I think about two and a half is the minimum I want to order on this type of dish–this would be equivalent to about two at most other restaurants).

Pad Prik King

Ginger tofu

Ginger stir-fried with tofu

Ginger Tofu is one of my favorite Thai dishes, and one of my yardsticks by which I measure a restaurant. This one was very fresh and had high quality ingredients. One surprising feature (compared to many other restaurants) is that the vegetables were enjoyable in themselves. Most ginger tofu dishes have a substantial amount of onions with a small amount of other vegetables, but with this one was full of red peppers, green vegetables, baby corn, etc.

The thing that detracted from the ginger stir-fry, though, was the sauce. I thought it was too sweet, unlike the pad prik king and the curry I have tried. The dish was good in spite of this because of the tofu and the vegetables which were really very impressive (and of course the ginger).

Pad See Ew
I had a sample of the Pad See Ew, a noodle dish with chicken and broccoli. I thought the chicken was very good, the broccoli was crispy (not quite as good a thing to me as the green beans being prepared this way), and the noodles were good. Overall the dish did not seem to have much flavor, though. This was much the same as I have found at most Thai restaurants, but I keep looking for the few who can make noodle dishes more flavorful. They will give you fish sauce for additional flavor, and this certainly helps. Still, although it was good, this was not a five-star dish for me.

Thai Tea

Thai tea

Thai tea

The Thai Tea was very good. The fact that it was milky on top and dark at the bottom was also a good sign that this drink is legit.

Desserts

Green tea ice cream

Green tea ice cream

Bistro 38 has a good Green Tea Ice Cream for dessert (and I enjoyed it more because the food itself was not too sweet). Also this is one of the restaurants where I do not spend all my money on a meal (I can say, though, that the meals are pretty filling).

Recommendations
Pad prik king is usually a “yardstick” dish for me, and I thought it was done the right way. The Panang curry was equally impressive in the way they prepared it. I would order the ginger tofu again despite the sauce being sweet. The pad see ew and the pad thai seemed lacking in Thai flavors, though.

When I have asked the waitresses about the best dishes, though, they have been very honest and accurate in their answers. I think most restaurants tend to stand or fall on their best dishes, and here it is easy to find out what they are.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Thai
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Mon.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 2, 2018
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Panang Curry, Pad Prik King

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Thai Tea
MSG: N/A
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Panang Curry
star 5 Pad Prik King
star 4 Ginger Tofu
star 4 Pad See Ew
star 4 Veggie Pad Thai
star 5 Green Tea Ice Cream
star 5 Thai Tea

 

Menu (Feb. 2017):