King’s Garden 點心

David’s Review

Well the big secret is out; I’m still in love with Asian cuisine. I’m drawn to it like “white on glutinous rice.” To be more specific, Dim Sum is the elusive meal that remains enigmatic for most locals, and if you’ve not found your way to King’s Garden in Cranston for this experience yet,   grab some non-Asian friends and go because your Asian friends are already there!

Congee is a warm thick rice porridge or soup that is served in many Asian cultures primarily for breakfast, but can be substituted for just about any meal because of the variety of proteins that can be added (i.e. chicken, pork, beef and fish). Anyone who likes oatmeal, cream of wheat or rice cereal would equally appreciate Congee. This Asian comfort food is simple tasting yet terrifically satisfying and an absolute must at King’s Garden because it arrives at the table bubbling in a baked crock, and is the creamiest and most flavorful Congee I’ve ever had.

The Dim Sum menu is extensive and allows diners to check off those small plate dishes (and quantity) he/she desires.  So, in addition to Congee, the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings were fresh, flavorful and perfectly prepared using the delicate dumpling skin that turns translucent when done.  The Steamed Minced Meat Ball reminded me more of Shumai and was also tender, juicy and appetizing.  The Fried Shrimp Balls (3 golf ball sized) were perfectly crispy and non-greasy on the outside with a piping hot and tender shrimp center.  The Steamed Roast Pork Bun (2 per) was worthy of a second order because the freshness of the sweet hot bun coupled with the salty roast pork center was clearly the envy of all the other buns yet to be eaten!  The Chao Chow Dumpling was the stand-out winner during our meal. I really enjoyed trying something new which pairs interesting ingredients and textures together. The dumpling combined chopped taro root, watercress, peanuts, pork and cilantro. I shared a private moment in silence to respectfully honor the glorious “dumpling.”

My only regret is that I have but one stomach to give per meal and was not able to continue my journey down the King’s Garden menu any further. The silver lining to this cloud is that I will thankfully return in order to sample much more in the near future.

The King’s Garden may  be a new Fork in the Rhode for some, but I have a feeling that this place has been lovingly “forked” many times before me…..

King’s Garden 90 Rolfe Street Cranston, RI  401.467.8916

The Fortune House 合顺源

David’s Review

Fortune House - Chicken and Shrimp

Okay I’ll admit it, my Achilles’ heel has always been, and may always be –Asian cuisine.  I haven’t even moderately tired of it since childhood. It may have been the lure of the mysteriously dark Polynesian themed restaurants of the 1970’s with all the unfamiliar and glorious aromas wafting under my nose, or the brightly colored entrees and half-moon shaped rice mounds all served neatly under the “stainless steel dome.” Although it was the Western or American Chinese cuisine that initially hooked me, it’s the authentic and more contemporary styles of Asian cookery that feeds my passion.

Fortune House - Wall Art

The American Chinese cuisine is a style of cooking that modifies or adapts authentic Chinese cuisine into dishes more acceptable to the American palate. Why? In the early 19th century the Chinese were excluded from most U.S. jobs in the wage economy by racial discrimination or lack of language fluency. In order to culturally assimilate, the Chinese established their own businesses with products and services that catered to American Society while remaining mindful of their origins. It was genius.

The Fortune House  in Cumberland, RI is a prime example of an Asian Restaurant that respects the  delicate balance of American and Asian cuisine and is amenable to change as the dining public tastes evolve.

Fortune House

Dispensed is the utilitarian tableware and replaced with decorative serving dishes, cast iron tea pots and earthenware table accessories. The menu attempts to focus attention away from heavy sauces and deep-fried entrees by offering flavorful, healthful and creative alternatives. The entrees at The Fortune House lean more towards an authentic Chinese philosophy in cookery  – proteins (i.e. chicken, beef, shrimp) enhance a dish rather than overshadow it.

Poor Zuo Zongtang (1812–1885), a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan whose namesake -General Tsao’s Chicken – is served all over the U.S.  He would have  rolled over in his grave if he knew how he was being memorialized (fried chicken with goopy sweet sauce).  In his defense, the Fortune House does make the dish pretty well!

Fortune House - Chinese Broccoli

One of the most overlooked benefits of the Fortune House is the exceptional value that diners are offered in comparison to the care, complexity and freshness of what is being served. The vegetables are always perfectly blanched to preserve their vibrant color. The proteins are succulent and fresh tasting, and the sauces are light and flavorful. The food is not overly salted and never bathing in the oil from the wok from whence it came.

Fortune House - Tempura

Additionally, Fortune House offers several noteworthy starters that are delicately fried in a light batter; Shrimp, Vegetarian or a Combo Tempura. Their Scallion Pancake is worth the trip alone!

The Fortune House Restaurant  is a spotlessly clean restaurant with restrooms cleaner than the ones in my own home. The ventilation system within the kitchen and the dining room must work efficiently because upon return to the office, my clothes never smell like the lunch I just ate.

Just like you, I too have my local favorite where everybody knows my name. It is the place where I feel most genuinely welcome and consider it to be my restaurant home. Fortune House just makes me happy, and if I had hair, I could let it down there – figuratively!

 

 

Fortune House Restaurant  1800 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI 02864  Tel: 401-333-9976