Do Tell

MARO’s secret specials are now offered six days a week.

By Jan Walsh

Chef Abhi Sainju’s new restaurant, MARO is a fast casual, Asian Fusion eatery. It is located at 361 Rele Street, in Lane Parke, in the same Mountain Brook Village neighborhood as Abhi Eatery and Bar, and open Monday through Saturday.

MARO means giving of oneself. And Chef Abhi always gives his best! Quality, authenticity, and innovation, along with a strong focus on sustainability and community engagement, Abhi aims to promote a healthier, more interconnected world through MARO’s cuisine.

There are apps, poke bowls, kitchen bowls, bao mi, and power lunch combos for dine in, take out, or delivery. Pair your meal with non-alcohol beverages of sodas, kombuchas, Thai and green teas, or alcoholic drinks of beer, sake, and slushies.

We have visited three times since MARO opened, not only because we can’t get enough but also because I am on the search for my five favorite dishes here. For 2024 I am pivoting “Food Finds” reviews to “5 Favorites.” And MARO is the debut of the new reviews. We have had 10 dishes thus far. And it is time to choose favorites.

One of our five favorite dishes is Chicken Khao Soi. This is the same dish offered at Abhi Eatery and Bar for dinner. Abhi is lunching with us today. And he encourages me to dig in and mix it all together before taking my first bite. Both soft and crisp noodles bring complex textures to this divine dish. Crowned with crunchy fried noodles, a coco-nutty Northern Thai curry brings a velvety richness to its white meat chicken and egg noodles. Cutting through the creaminess and rounding out the bowl are pickled mustard greens, onions, and cilantro.

Hot Beet Poke Bowl is another favorite. Bursting with heaps of juicy organic beets along with crisp cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sweet onions, crunchy peanuts, scallions, crispy onions, and lovely little rice pearls, all dressed in house hot sauce.

On our third trip we tried “secret” specials: Mo:Mo Wonton Chicken Noodle Soup, Thai Chicken Salad, and Abhi's Beer Batter Roll. Yet I am happy to announce that they are now offered on the regular menu. Famous for his momos, Abhi’s dumplings are always a good idea. Ribbons of rice noodles wind around the wontons, chicken, and veggies in this soup. It is phenom, the best wonton soup we have ever tasted!

The chicken salad is packed with proteins of chicken and peanuts. Also in its mix are cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce, in house hot sauce. It is crunchy, nutty, and delightful!

The rolls start to disappear before I can take a photo…Tuna, salmon, and cream cheese are flash fried to golden and enhanced with aioli, sriracha, and eel sauce. Very sharable if you are willing. We pair our favorite dishes with sparkling sake and cans of French rose wine.

As we visit with Abhi, we learn even more exciting news… A limited Sushi coming soon to MARO. And Abhi has signed a lease on the space below Abhi Eatery and Bar. He will open a new concept that is NOT Asian! Plans to open in Spring 2024. Shh! Even more Abhi news coming in 2024. Stay tuned.


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