Speaking of the “Retail to Restaurant” trend we were all debating, the newest example is located nearby on North Main Street (1184, across from East Side Urgent Care). This is where the long closed (and cutely named) Off Track Bedding outlet (whose empty storefront was captured by Google Streetview above) has been replaced by Asian Palace, which opened this past Friday. Should the photo above scare you, I’ll add that they’ve substantially gutted and updated the building.
Their menu is what I personally refer to “RI Pan-Asian 2.0.” What seems to distinguish Asian Palace, as far as I can see, is their hours. They’re open to 11 PM Mon-Thurs, and until 1 AM on Friday and Saturday, much later than almost every other ethnic dining option I can think of, Asian or otherwise, in the entire metro. This will likely work well for them given their close location to Miriam Hospital and its continuous stream of workers around the clock.
So, a question: Does anyone know if this pan-Asian default for restaurants is a RI only trend? If so, why? When I go home to NY, I don’t find this… The restaurants there, both in the city and suburbs, are solo-cuisine for the most part. Same thing in my recent travels around the US. Why only here?
To read more about the menu type and my very brief review, click below:
So what is my self named “RI Pan-Asian 2.0?” This type, best represented previously by Jackie’s Galaxy (multiple locations) or Best Eastern (N. Providence), tends to consist of an abridged list of the most popular Americanized Chinese dishes along with a basic sushi menu and sushi bar. The rest of the menu tends to be rounded out by a few of the “biggest hits” of Americanized Japanese and Thai cuisines. Thus, you can order Hot and Sour Soup, California Maki Roll, Chicken Pad Thai, and General Chao’s Chicken all in one sitting, which kinda feels wrong, somehow…
This is as opposed to “RI Pan-Asian 1.0,” best represented by the original Apsara. This tends to be a mix of fuller, un-abridged Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian ithems along with a half-heartedly implemented Americanized Chinese menu in order to appeal to the much wider swath of Americans who haven’t been brave enough to experiment with the first 3 cuisines.
I quickly picked something up at Asian Palace Friday afternoon. My tofu chow fun was quite decent, but the fried rice I ordered had a flavoring that was very “off” somehow. The sloppily rolled vege nime chow (which I ordered without shrimp) was tasteless, which means they’re depending on the shrimp or the sauce for taste and are skimping on the herbals and other flavorings in the roll itself. I’d perhaps give them a few more days open to get their cooking down… The interior was quite pleasant, a cut above the usual Asian dining setting.