I was happy to hear that there was a new Asian restaurant that opened in Celebration Pointe mall a few months ago, so I knew I had to check it out.
Sensei Asian Bistro is open for dinner on Mondays-Wednesdays, and from lunch to dinner Thursday-Sundays. They have outdoor and indoor dining spaces, or you can get takeout.
Sensei is equipped with a full bar and has a modern feel to it with gray floors, wooden tables and black accents.
Their gold silverware and white rose details on the tables added a nice touch.
Sensei offers a variety of Asian fusion dishes, from Sichuan Chili Chicken to Sushi, to Thai Curry.
We started with a side of Spring Roll ($3), which came with three very crispy spring rolls filled with vegetables and served with a standard sweet and sour spring roll sauce. They were freshly fried and I enjoyed these a lot!
My favorite dish was the Chicken Katsu ($19), which came with a large portion of chicken cutlets breaded and fried, on top of a very small amount of lettuce and two sweety drop peppers.
The katsu was crunchy and cooked well, although I wish it came with a bit more veggies. I enjoyed the togarashi seasonsing and sweet brown sauce that was drizzled on top. This was my first time having sweety drop peppers and I really enjoyed them! They are not spicy at all, but rather sweet and very juicy on the inside. It really added elevated the look and taste of the overall dish. The portion is large so you can definitely share it or have leftovers!
I had high hopes for the Sichuan Chili Chicken ($17), but while the presentation was impressive, the taste was a bit bland. The sauce was a soy sauce base and was slightly sweet. You can choose the spice level so we got it hot, but the sauce itself was actually not spicy at all. Maybe if you eat the thai chili pepper you can get extra heat, but these peppers are extremely spicy so be warned. The dish also had caramelized onions and a small amount of spring mix veggies on the side. The portion for this was just standard.
We were told that we could try “roasting” the chicken in the fire before eating it, which we tried, but it did not really make a difference in terms of taste.
Also, I was disappointed that the entrees did not come with rice, despite prices being on the higher side, so you had to add a side of rice.
On the flip side, our server was very friendly and was very attentive throughout the meal. She even boxed up our leftovers for us!
Overall, price of the food is pretty steep for the quality, but Sensei could still be a nice place for a quiet and classy meal if you are in the Celebration Pointe area.
Location: 4860 SW 31st Pl Ste 10, Gainesville, FL 32608, United States