Open Sesame
By Jacqui Titherington

Asian Fusion Options

Located in the Smuggler's Inn building just south of the intersection of Glenmore Trail and Macleod Trail Southeast, Open Sesame was one of the city's first Asian-fusion restaurants. Its menu features extensive à la carte options, as well as a build-your-own stir-fry bar.

Visiting Open Sesame is a bit like stepping into another time and another country. The dark wood bar and tables contrast with rich, red walls. The decor mixes contemporary stylings with vintage Asian elements such as the large lions that greet patrons at the entrance. The focal point of the room is a large fireplace that gives the room an air of coziness and mystery.

The à la carte menu features Asian dishes from ginger beef to samosas, Steak and ribs are given an Asian treatment with teriyaki and soy flavourings, and fresh BC swordfish is also on offer.

The menu also features a wide variety of dishes including appetizers such as spring rolls, crab-filled wontons, Thai-spiced shrimp and potsticker dumplings. The eatery also serves many sizzling plates that pair salmon, chicken, steak and fish with rice and vegetables. Noodle bowls include pad Thai and Singapore street noodles, while a variety of rice bowls includes a delicious Thai bouillabaisse.

Build-your-own stir-fry, noodles, sizzling plates, appetizers, cocktails and mocktails.
The Asian elements of Open Sesame's contemporary decor reflect its Asian-fusion menu.

Adapting to Dietary Demands

General manager Andrea Cintula attributes much of Open Sesame's appeal to the fact that people with dietary concerns feel comfortable and secure eating in the restaurant. "There have always been people with dietary concerns coming here. It's a more health-conscious crowd," she explains.

The build-your-own stir-fry bar gives people with dietary restrictions peace of mind when they're eating out. All ingredients are clearly labelled, so patrons can be assured that what they are eating is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and so on.

The stir-fry bar is open for both lunch and dinner service. Servers make note of diners' accompaniment selections. Stir fries are served with any of a variety of rice or noodles. Protein options include tofu, seafood, poultry and steak. Chit in hand, patrons visit the chilled market garden bar where they choose the balance of their ingredients from a wide array of fresh vegetables, spices, condiments and sauces. The guest then takes their selections and their chit to an adjacent wok station where the attendant chefs prepare the dish, which is delivered to the patron's table when ready.

There have always been people with dietary concerns coming here. It's a more health-conscious crowd. - Andrea Cintula, general manager

A Quick Bite

Open Sesame's proximity to Chinook Centre provides shoppers and moviegoers with a handy place to grab a quick, healthy bite. Cintula notes that a lot of the restaurant's clientele are young, hip and predominately female.

Open Sesame also serves a wide selection of innovative cocktails and martinis as well as beer.  Most of the cocktails are Asian themed. These light drinks pair well with the fresh and wholesome food. Notable selections include the Pearl of the Orient, which features plum vodka, sparkling sake, lychee juice and soda. The Asian Fusion gin and tonic features a combination of sparking sake, cucumber and mint. On the non-alcoholic drink menu you'll find fruit shakes and creative cocktails such as strawberry-lychee lemonade and the coconut mojito.

Build-your-own stir-fry, noodles, sizzling plates, appetizers, cocktails and mocktails.
Open Sesame's proximity to Chinook Centre provides shoppers and moviegoers with a handy place to grab a quick, healthy bite.
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