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

Silver Crystal

Dave’s Review–

As long as the culinary community is giving international praise for the cuisine made available to us here at home, let’s not forget a “heartfelt” thank you to the Canton region of China for the introduction of Dim Sum into our neighborhood.

Dim Sum is very closely interwoven with the Chinese tradition of “yum cha” or drinking tea. Historically, tea houses became an integral cultural component necessary in accommodating exhausted travelers journeying along the famous Silk Road. As tea’s medicinal ability to aid in digestion became more widely accepted, tea house’s began offering a variety of small plate snacks, and the tradition of dim sum was born.

In the West, dim sum came about as a natural result of 19th century Chinese immigrants – most of whom were from the Canton region – settling on the East and West coasts. Some believe that dim sum inspired the whole idea of “brunch” – combining breakfast and lunch into one large midmorning meal.

Traditional Dim Sum restaurants offer patrons a series of rolling steam carts designed to bring an extensive array of authentic dishes to them. As carts rolled by, diners could see and smell their options as well as ask questions before deciding on any small plate. Today, many restaurants have dispensed with the cart system. Instead, menus and pencils are provided so diners can mark off their selections and quantities. The food is still served at the table in steamer baskets to keep it warm.

In keeping with the contemporary style of Dim Sum service, we welcome Silver Crystal in West Warwick to the party! That’s right, you heard correctly, Dim Sum in West Warwick. The days of chicken fingers in a neon red sweet and sour sauce with canned pineapple and maraschino cherries may be a fleeting memory.

With twelve people at our table and a plethora of dishes ranging from steamed shrimp dumplings to fried chicken dumplings to steamed barbecue pork buns to congee (rice porridge), we sampled for hours. The dishes were all served freshly prepared, steaming hot and incredibly flavorful. The best thing about ordering dim sum is that each plate averages in cost from $2.85 to $4.25. This will allow you the freedom to try many things without the worry of getting stuck with an  entrée that you don’t like.

Three cheers for Silver Crystal and Dim Sum in Rhode Island. You saved me a trip to Boston!

Scott’s Review–

One of the ongoing hot discussions we have over here at Fork in the Rhode is what to review and what not to review. Our big thing is to seek out the less recognized, out-of the way, off-the-grid places that make Rhode Island unique and special when it comes to culinary adventures.

When David called to tip me off of a dim sum place in our backyard, I got very excited. When he told me the Providence Journal recently reviewed it, I sunk back in my chair. But then I thought about dim sum again and having to travel to Boston or New York to get authentic dishes. I then strategically planned a drive-by… code name: Operation Try Sum dim sum on the Run. I ordered just 2 dishes off the dim sum menu: Shrimp Dumplings and Pea Pod Leaf dumplings. For the kids, the usual beef teriyaki and plain chicken wings. When I got home I was really struck on how tender the steamed dumplings were. The rice wrapper was extremely fresh. The wrapper did exactly what it was supposed to do: deliver the goods to my palate! And boy did it ever. The Pea Pod Leaf dumplings were just as good with the pea pod leaves giving a whole new flavor profile to a steamed dumpling. The surprise of the feast went to (believe it or not) the beef teriyaki. One of the most tender (not the usual dried out, chewy type) and flavorful appetizers.

Rhode Crew member David soon mobilized an emergency Fork in the Rhode review with some special guests that are very familiar to the world of dim sum. Soon after we arrived we were escorted to a large table. What was really nice about this review session was that I truly felt like a guest as I sat back to listen and watch the ordering taking place in a Chinese dialect unbeknownst to me. Very exciting! Soon after the ordering took place, the table started to fill up with dim sum. The dim sum never stopped coming. Dish after dish, I thought I would have to call for a  replacement pair of chopsticks!

If I were to review every dish we ate, this review would be very long and time-consuming. Considering what I get paid for being a contributor and founding member of Fork in the Rhode, I should have written one, short paragraph for the review 😉 Anyway, after the meal ended several observations were made:

  • I’ll never have to drive to Boston again for great Dim Sum
  • Pinch me…is this really West Warwick?
  • Yes the steamed shrimp and pea pod leaf dumplings are that good!
  • And the beef teriyaki is to die for too!
  • The chicken feet are still a great mystery to me but put me in a Dim Sum moment and Andrew Zimmern has nothing over me!
  • More on those Chicken Feet…the group did say there could have been more flavor or spice to compliment the dish.
  • Great assortment of dim sum. Although there aren’t dim sum carts rolling around like you would find in some big Chinatown districts, you can count on some extremely fresh, made to order dim sum that will send you straight to Shangri-La .

My recommendation to you… head over to the Silver Crystal. Go right for the Dim Sum menu or skip through the traditional “American” Chinese food entrees in the regular menu and head for the back to the “Chinese Special” dishes. Order and then sit back and let your taste buds take you away to another world.

Tag’s Review–

When my fellow Rhode Crew members Dave and Scott said “lets go for Dim Sum”, my first reaction was to get ready for a trip to Boston for an afternoon “delight”.  To my surprise, Dave mentioned that there he had heard a few good things about a place for Dim Sum right in West Warwick.  Being curious, we all said we’d give it a try.  Little did I know at the time that Dave had invited some guests to dine with us, and not just for a quick Saturday lunch, but rather to make an afternoon of it.  And an afternoon it was.  He had invited his good friend Yiguang and his wife Ying. Yiquang is originally from the Canton Region of China and his wife from Bejing. Additionally, they brought along some of their friends to help us navigate through the extended Dim Sum menu. The afternoon food fest was about to begin.

The ‘party’ started the moment we walked through the door where we were graciously greeted by the owner of the Silver Crystal Chinese Restaurant. From that moment on, I was only a “guest”!  It was like they took us into their home and meticulously prepared everything from scratch, and served us with the utmost of care.  The ordering was done by one of Dave’s friends, and I tell you the food did not stop coming for two hours straight.  I never picked up the menu.  To give you an idea of how much food there was, the round table we were seated at was a large round table, with a super large lazy susan in the middle which was about five feet in diameter, giving each one of us about one foot of table space around the perimeter of the table.  The lazy susan could not fit all the food.   In fact, we filled the lazy susan twice over.

The Dim Sum was so plentiful I lost count of how many dishes we had.  My best guess was there had to be about 20 different plates ranging from the Fried Chicken Dumpling (one of my favorites), to the excellently prepared Fried Pepper Salt Shrimp; and I swear there was Fried Calamari on the table, although I can’t find it on the menu as I write this review, to the Steamed BBQ Pork Bun, and the very different, but very tasty, Pan Fried Turnip Cake (another favorite of mine).

From the owner, to the wait staff, to the restaurant itself, “Crystal” is truly a gem right in West Warwick.  This is a keeper!

Silver Crystal – 289 Cowesett Avenue West Warwick, RI 02893 (401) 822-1818


Tag’s Toilet Talk : Large, well-lit, clean, fresh smelling, elongated toilet seat (with lid), big sink, two types of soap, well stocked paper towel machine; and yes, hot water.  A bathroom you won’t be afraid to enter and use. I rate this bathroom 3½ (out of 5) T.P. rolls!


Pho Paradise

Originally uploaded by forkintherhode

Dave’s Review–

Often written Pho and pronounced “fuh,” this Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup can be “the” key dish that unlocks your door to the wonderful world of Vietnamese cuisine! That being said, welcome to Pho Paradise!

We were graciously welcomed in by Pho’s very proud and hospitable owner Trinh.  She patiently walked us through the extensive menu and offered several recommendations, but we couldn’t resist immediately ordering a giant bowl of the piping hot Pho Paradise. This powerhouse noodle soup comes in three sizes (S – $6.50, L – $7.50 and XL – $8.50) and there was no way that saving two bucks on a small was of any interest to me!  The XL Pho Paradise bowl is filled with thinly sliced beef eye round, brisket, flank, tendon and tripe.  Additionally, the soup is served with a side of basil, lime, bean sprouts and hot peppers for adding.  Each table is properly outfitted with chopsticks, soup spoon ladles, and two primary condiment sauces; Sriracha (chile) and Hoisin (plum).  The real standout in their namesake signature soup is the complex broth. What a clear winner!

We are lucky to have a neighborhood Pho Paradise in little Rhody! I assure you, Trinh may have not known we were coming, but she’s sure we’ll be back!

Scott’s Review–

Number 26. That’s it. That’s all you have to know when you show up for the first time at Pho Paradise. This is their signature pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) that has all the ingredients that Dave mentioned above in his review.

synergism: syn·er·gism: \’si-ner-ji-zem\ Function: noun \ Definition: interaction of discrete elements (elements=ingredients?) such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects.

There is a definite “synergism” going on here within this soup. This is why I like Pho so much. With traditional soups, many of the ingredients are in it from the get go. Many simmer long hours to create the final soup. Aside from the complex tasting broth, all the ingredients in pho – different types of beef, rice noodles, the sides of bean sprouts, basil, chili peppers, squeeze of lime, etc., are all combined at the last-minute before it is eaten. This insures an extremely fresh, crisp, pho experience. I swear, every time I finish a bowl of pho I am in a pho drunk funk! I can’t describe it, but I immediately want to get into a Snuggie and hit the couch.

337 Broad Street, Providence, 401-369-7985. Open Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–10 p.m. BYOB. All major credit cards accepted. Parking lot.