Craig LaBan dines at Aqua, the six month old Malaysian/Thai restaurant at 7th and Chestnut Streets. And although some of the more cutting edge dishes you might expect from a Malaysian restaurant aren’t on the menu, what is there makes for a quality meal.

Aqua’s biggest asset, though, is chef Lon Poon, a Malaysian-born cook who helped open Penangs in Philadelphia and New York. His menu may be edited for a novice crowd, but the cooking itself is sharp, and the flavors at their root still reveal Malaysian integrity, from the sour lemongrass twang and chile-spiced bite of the tom yum soup to the mysteriously tasty “house special” sauce that covers everything from squid to enormous prawns.

Two Bells

Aqua [Philadelphia Inquirer]