In the stores surrounding the Mall of Millenia is the Elephant Bar Restaurant. Yes, there is a large circular bar inside but the majority of the space is for the "Restaurant" part of the name. Upon walking through the front door, the first thing I noticed was the huge elephant relief sculpture staring at me along the left side of the waiting area. The kids immediately wanted to have their picture taken in front of it, so it was a big hit. The rest of the decor inside is like an elegant safari -- think subtle animal prints such as tiger stripe carpets, zebra mugs, and cheetah glass lights, as well as dark woods and bamboo.
The menu is large with appetizers, soups, salads, and chicken, fish, pork and beef dishes, most with a tropical or Asian influence. The kids menu also has a lot of choices including Chicken Crispers, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Corn Dog, Tropical Citrus Salad with Chicken, Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry, Chicken Quesadilla, and Macaroni & Cheese. The kids prices run from $3.95 to $4.50 and includes a drink and a Jr. Explorer Hot Fudge Sundae.
For an appetizer we tried the Vietnamese Shrimp Spring rolls ($6.95). It was four small rolls served with an Asian slaw on the side. These were very fresh rolls, served in raw rice paper with mint leaves and noodles inside and accompanied with a spicy peanut Thai sauce and Tamarind Macadamia Nut sauce (with tamarind paste, macadamia nuts, cashews, parsley, and cilantro). The rolls themselves were rather bland but the sauces picked up the flavors and the slaw was excellent. However, very skimpy on the shrimp - each roll had a tiny half piece of shrimp so only two small shrimp for the whole dish.
Grandma started off with the Jungle Colada ($5.95), a frou-frou drink that looked good, tasted good, but was not very potent. But then, that's why we order drinks like these, right? For her meal, she chose the Crunchy chicken teriyaki, which was a very savory chicken dish similar to General Tso's chicken with a thick soy/ginger/garlic sauce coated on the chicken. It was served with plain white rice -- Grandma wished it was a Jasmine rice or fried rice or something more interesting.
Grandpa had the JamaicaMojo salad ($3.95) as an appetizer. The salad was served with a wonton crisp and was very unassuming-looking but with a nice sweet taste. You could definitely taste the nuts and dried berries and traces of cinnamon in the dressing on top of the field greens. We all tried it and finished it off very quickly. Grandpa's main dish was the ribs ($13.95), which was also served with the sticky sauce and plain white rice.
I ordered the Tempura Salmon Roll and Pan Asian Soup with Teriyaki Chicken Skewer ($9.75). Essentially, it was like a combination plate, which I liked so I could try several items on the menu. All items are available separately, the salmon roll as an appetizer and the others as main dishes. The skewer of chicken teriyaki is served sticking out of the soup, which made for a very attractive plate. The soup was absolutely loaded with noodles, bean sprouts and other Asian veggies and had a nice mild flavor - the menu said it was chicken and shrimp broth. I didn't even use the slice of lime that came with it. The chicken teriyaki was also very good and was fun to eat off of the skewer. The tempura salmon rolls were just outstanding. Six large slices of rolls are presented with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled gingered. The rolls already have a sweet sauce on top and I found I did not need anything else with them. The salmon was very tender and the seaweed of the roll was coated lightly with tempera breading. It was such an incredible taste that it actually made everything else on the dish seem bland. I might even get the rolls next time as my main dish.
The kids meal dessert was an ice cream sundae consisting of a single scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate, strawberry, or caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry. It was served in a wonton crisp bowl. The boys did a good job but I ended up polishing off LB's sundae, as the wonton crisp tasted great with the melting ice cream and caramel sauce. Hmm, I wonder if they would make an adult size one if I asked?
The rest of us were not in agreement on the dessert. I wanted to try the berry and apple cobbler ($4.95) served with a la mode but my parents decided on, and we ordered, the mud pie ($4.95). It was a huge slab of mocha ice cream on a cookie crust and topped with fudge and whipped cream. My parents said that it was really nothing special but I didn't think it would be since the photo in the menu showed exactly as it was - mostly just a slab of mocha ice cream. However, everyone dug in and it really was a reasonable dessert for the price. The Giant Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich ($7.75) looked humongous as the neighboring table got it. Seriously, I would think you need at least six people to finish it.
Find out more at: http://www.elephantbar.com/