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Best Takeout Chinese Food in Rhode Island

Thursday, January 03, 2013

 

Cold January nights are the best for staying in and getting some white boxes of delicious Chinese.

It's winter, you're tucked in early and nothing's better than a couple Netflix downloads and those white boxes. It's peak Chinese take-out season. Lucky for us, the offerings on local to-go menus have expanded, and what we once considered a “Chinese” restaurant is now more accurately “Asian,” with Cambodian, Thai, and Japanese in the mix, too. When the craving hits, these are our go-to spots... or rather take-out spots.

Asian Palace, Providence

For the past several years, our "go-to" Asian restaurant in Providence has been Asian Palace on North Main Street. We stumbled in after becoming tired of the norm and were looking for something new. We found a place full of clean, dark wood tables and happy diners. We sat down and were blown away by the amount of food covered on the menu: sushi, standard Chinese dishes, Japanese favorites and great pad-Thai. It was all here. The food travels extremely well and we've never had a problem with the right food being in the bag—so important!. We often start with a couple of pieces of sushi, we get the pad Thai (extra peanuts and lime please!) and, our test dish for all of the places on this list, general's chicken. The chicken was moist and not at all greasy and the sauce was that great combination of hot and sweet. 1190 North Main St, 228-7805 or 228-7806, www.asianpalacedining.com

Asia Grille, Lincoln

Whether it's fried rice or Sai Woo Duck with a topping of shredded braised pork and vegetables, Lincoln's Asia Grille is a perfect grab and go spot.

People follow great Chinese restaurants like they follow pro sports players. They change locations or names but we hunt them down. For years, in the Warwick area, the Islander was legendary for great food and service. So we tracked down the former owner Charles Chin and found him making magic in Lincoln. And we're happy to report that Mr. Chin has followed the same recipe to make Asia Grille the top choice for good, fast Chinese food in a bright and clean atmosphere. Our suggested way to fully enjoy this restaurant is to go on a Thursday night and enjoy the great food AND the karaoke. We love the Sai Woo duck with its topping of shredded braised pork and vegetables. Yes duck and pork, it's like turf and turf. The general's chicken was a bit spicier than most we tried (but that's not a bad thing), and the sauce was not too thick--a very good version from a great restaurant. 622 George Washington Highway, 334-3200, http://www.asiagrille.com

Apsara, Providence

A great cult restaurant follows the same word of mouth path traveled by cult bands. First, you overhear some of the cool kids talking about this great new place in a not-so-great neighborhood. Second, someone at work is talking about a new byob Thai and Cambodian restaurant, in a not-so-great neighborhood. Finally you make your way over to Public Street and find a delicious, clean and tasty new restaurant to add to your faves. Well, Apsara, is just that kind of place! When we're hankering for Thai we always think Apsara (not the unrelated Apsara Palace on Hope Street) and we're not usually disappointed. The nime chow is fresh and divine, and the pad Thai is the stuff that makes us come back again and again. Perfect noodles tossed with slivers of chicken, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts with a squeeze of lime to form a delicious dish. And we pick up the wine? Sold! 716 Public St, 785-1490.

Lemongrass, Warwick

When Lemongrass opened in 2003 locals were duly impressed with the food and service in this restaurant on Post Road. By 2007, the whole country knew how good it was when Lemongrass was named to the top 100 Chinese restaurants in America. Since then they have only gotten better. The decor is a little, how do we say this, bright. Lots of pinks and greens to distract you but stick to your mission for great Chinese food. The menu is huge and has everything from standard Chinese fare to Vietnamese classics and everything in between. On an adventurous trip recently we tried, and enjoyed, the Vietnamese Bee Bong with chicken. The coconut milk and peanut sauce dressing make this much more than a salad, and it traveled well and wasn’t soggy when we got home. The general Tso's chicken is another winner. Tender pieces of chicken are battered and tossed with a spicy sweet sauce full of fiery red peppers. Pair it with a Mai Tai and call it a night! 1138 Post Rd, 941-1388, www.lemongrass-ri.com

Kabuki, Wakefield

South Kingston has had its share of good Asian restaurants over the years, but Kabuki is the first great, modern Asian restaurant in the area. Visually stunning, Kabuki hits high notes in all phases: atmosphere, food, cleanliness. Ben, the owner, is a Yale grad who has spent his life in hospitality, running restaurants in Manhattan and New Jersey, before he stopped here in Wakefield. That decision has been paying dividends for beach lovers for several years now. Exceptional service and cool drinks (like the Sake martinis) only add to the equation. The tempura and teriyaki are perfectly executed, with the tempura in particular being top-notch. The seafood is as impeccably fresh as any restaurant in South Kingston and that led us to our favorite discovery: the tuna wasabi dumplings. The wrapper for these dumplings is impossibly thin tuna that is filled with Kani crab, avacado, tobiko and topped with wasabi sauce. As a matter of fact we're now running out for a couple of these right now. We’ll be back in front of the TV in no time. 91 Old Tower Hill Rd, 787-0777, www.kabukicuisine.com

 

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