Fire Bowl Cafe

Sunset Valley-based restaurant Fire Bowl Cafu00e9 offers classic Asian dishes such as pad thai ($7.50-$8.50).

Sunset Valley-based restaurant Fire Bowl Cafu00e9 offers classic Asian dishes such as pad thai ($7.50-$8.50).

Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese influences are the building blocks of Fire Bowl Cafe, which husband-and-wife team Gigi Lee and Daniel Pao opened 16 years ago in the Sunset Valley Village shopping center.

Lee and Pao had both worked in the restaurant business for several years and decided to open an Asian eatery to serve the Southwest Austin area, where they lived at the time.

"We are foodies," Lee said. "We always enjoy eating out, but we are also very health-conscious. We want to have good flavor yet have good ingredients."

The fast-casual restaurant uses all-natural chicken and beef, organic tofu, gluten-free options and vegetarian sauces to prepare its entrees and sides, Lee said.

Many menu items are based on family recipes, and some options are for the brave, she said.

"Our spicy sauces are really tongue-on-fire spicy," she said, pointing to varieties such as Thai pepper, which features cilantro and spicy Thai chilies.

Pad thai, vermicelli Singapore and pineapple fried rice are among the most popular entrees, Operations Manager David Schaare said.

One of Schaare's personal favorites on the menu is the hot and sour soup, he said.

Diners can choose from chicken, beef, tofu, shrimp or a combination of meats for most entrees on the menu.

Classic Chinese options, such as sweet and sour chicken and General Tso's chicken, are also customer favorites.

Visitors to the restaurant can design their own dishes by selecting noodles or rice and combining them with a la carte additions listed on the menu.

"It's basically Asian food, your way. Everything is customized," Schaare said.

The business has expanded throughout the years, opening locations in the Arboretum, Round Rock and San Antonio as well as in Centennial, Colorado.

The business offers dine-in and carryout options as well as online ordering, which it added in 2014.

Lee said the company is developing a delivery system that it plans to roll out by the fall.

Schaare said the restaurant is also looking to open another location by next year, possibly in Central Austin or the Lakeline Mall area.

"We are always looking for more sites," he said.

Beer and wine


In addition to soft drinks, Fire Bowl Cafe offers a variety of Asian beer options to quench diners' thirst, Operations Manager David Schaare said.

Beers on the menu include Tsing Tao, Asahi, Singha, Kirin Ichiban and Devil's Backbone.

The restaurant also offers a wine list that includes Robert Mondavi Chardonnay, Robert Mondavi Pinot Grigio, Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Woodbridge Merlot.

The restaurant offers online ordering and can provide catering for special events, Schaare said.

Stir fry and more


Most dishes come with a choice of chicken, beef, tofu, shrimp or a combination of meats.

• Pad thai: Thin rice stick noodles are mixed with green onions, yellow onions, eggs, bean sprouts, cilantro, lime and crushed peanuts ($7.50-$8.50).

• Vermicelli Singapore: Rice vermicelli is served with egg, green onions, yellow onions, bean sprouts and yellow curry ($7.50-$8.50).

• Thai tom kah noodle soup: Mushrooms and snap peas are incorporated into the coconut soup along with lemongrass, cilantro, chili and fresh lime and served over rice vermicelli noodles. ($7.50-$8.50).

• Crispy orange chicken: Chicken, snap peas and bell pepper are combined in an orange-flavored sauce and served over rice or noodles ($8.50).

Sides include crab rangoon, Asian slaw, spring rolls, egg rolls and salad.