After reading the recent Riverfront Times review, I couldn’t wait to try Lona’s Lil Eats. I was further encouraged to read that RFT gave the new Fox Neighborhood eatery their best dumpling in town designation. It’s hard to find a good wonton dumpling on just any menu, so this afternoon I made my way over to Lona’s. Sure enough, the light, thin sheets of pasta filled with beef, mushrooms, onions and house-made pickles lived up to the claim.
Seeing over the place and mingling with customer were Pierce Powers and his wife, Lona Luo. The friendly, hard-working couple has two children and live above the “store” in their new place at Russell and Accomac. Lona is from a small village in Yunnan province in southwest China, a region whose cuisine is greatly influenced by it approximation to Thailand and Vietnam.
You can tell right away that Lona and Pierce take pride in their art. Starting in 2008 as Thai food sellers in Soulard Market, they continue their tradition of serving “fresh Asian cuisine with soul-food flair.” At Lona’s all seasonings and sauces are made in house and there’s no MSG used. Menu choices abound: vegan, vegetarian, and meat dishes, as well as, gluten-free, diabetic, and paleo items are available.
The overhead menu was a bit hard to navigate, but the ordering and check out were all done on an iPad quickly and efficiently. Fortunately, Pierce was there to lead us in making our selections
The orange serving tray may remind you of the high school cafeteria, but one taste from any part of the platter and you are overcome by the depth of flavor and complexity of the various foods.
Our table shared the Spring Rolls (3 for $5.75) with homemade peanut sauce; Potsticker Dumplings (6 for $7) with chili-sesame dipping sauce; and the Five-Star Sampler Platter, ($15) that included pork, barbecued beef, chicken, noodles, shrimp, spicy tofu, multigrain rice, five sauces and a side of incredibly good eggplant.
This is one of those places you put on your list to share with friends who appreciate authentic Asian cuisine. If you’re bored with the same old foods and want to give the taste buds a memorable night out, Lona’s is your place.
Lona’s Lil Eats: 2199 California Ave St. (Fox Park neighborhood): Open: Tue-Wed. 5p-8:30p; Thu-Fri 11:30a-2:30p & 5:00p-8:30p. Sat. 5p-8:30p. Closed: Sun and Mon. Soulard Market location open: Sat. 9:00a-3p.