Now this is what I'm talking about! Of all the restaurants in Rhode Island, how does one choose THE one, for the first review? Well, let's put this into perspective. Its the beginning of March. The winter chill hasn't completely worn off, there are a few nice days interspersed with just gross wintery days. So, take a nice day, around 40 degrees and sunny that is, add in some good company, my boyfriend, and choose an area where you can walk around and have a good handful of restaurants to choose from that won't break the bank. The answer is, Hope Street in Providence. Restaurants to choose from include Pizzico, Blaze, Ivy Tavern, Wings over Providence, Apsara Palace, Chez Pascal, a couple of standard Chinese and pizza places. Now, some of these restaurants will break the bank, or should I say, they should be reserved for special occasions. The place we chose, Apsara Palace.
Why Apsara? Well, I just wanted appetizers. Appetizers that were fairly priced so that I could get a few. This is not the first time that I've been to Apsara but it is the first time that I just wanted appetizers. I also chose this place because it has a good mix of American chinese food (i.e. General Tso's Chicken, Crab Rangoons and Egg Rolls) and some harder to find slightly more authentic and diverse items (i.e. Nim Chow, Mee Kraw, etc.)
Onto the food! I ordered the Nim Chow and Mee Kraw while my boyfriend ordered the Spicy Chicken Wings. In the meantime I had a chance to look around and see what the place had to offer. On the table was a wonderful assortment of asian condiments:
There was also complimentary tea, which I think may have some digestive qualities. After a short period of time our appetizers were brought out. First the Mee Kraw, which was much larger than I anticipated, a great dish to share. Its the one pictured in the foreground.
Mee Kraw is rice noodles covered in peanut sauce atop a bed of bean sprouts. On the side are slightly pickled vegetables. My boyfriend made a great note, he said the vegetables were like a cole slaw without the mayo! Perfect example! There is also a sliced hard-boiled egg on the plate. I have to say that I didn't eat the egg, I didn't see the point of it. This is a good dish if you have a peanut craving! I do have to say that it was difficult to eat however because the rice noodles really stuck together. But overall the Mee Kraw was pretty good.
Let's talk about the Spicy Chicken Wings:
Hopefully this photo illustrates just how meaty and perfectly cooked these chicken wings are. There were about 8 to 10 in the order and I really enjoyed them. They were not soggy at all, in fact they were quite crispy even though they had a coating of thick sauce on top of them. The sauce was not super hot, I liked that, my boyfriend didn't. They had a sweet and spicy taste to them and as you ate more of them the hotter your mouth became. These are definitely some of the best chicken wings that I've ever had. Different to be sure, but delicious nontheless.
Now the Nim Chow:
I have a lot to say about this appetizer. Nothing but good things mind you. Let's start with the rice wrapper, wonderful texture, not too thick and not too thin. The green inside the wrap is actually thai basil. It is very fragrant with a hint of lemon. There are also rice noodles, which were cooked perfectly, bean sprouts and shrimp (you can actually see one of the shrimps in the picture). Now I have had Nim Chow at other restaurants, namely Seven Moons in North Kingston, and the one at Apsara is better. The shrimp are bigger and the thai basil is more fragrant. However the peanut sauce at both I would say are equal. I was completely satisfied after eating all of this.
Best of all the entire meal was completely dairy free, yippee!!! The price tag did not break the bank, it came in around $16.00.
What I like about Apsara is that you can eat at really any price range here. The above appetizers were reasonably priced and the entrees also have a reasonable range. I will come here again. Definitely. I will have a quick bite before and event, a relaxing meal with friends and family, and yes, even a date night out with my man. I hope you will also give this place a try and tell me your experiences.
Until next time.................