Chow Thai Pacific Rim is Reborn and Scaled Down, but Keeps its Flair
The phoenix is a mythical fire bird prevalent in many of the world's cultures. According to legend, it lives 500 to 1000 years, after which it builds a nest of twigs, ignites itself, burns to ashes, and is reborn anew. The metamorphosis of Chow Thai Pacific Rim into Chow Asian Street Food wasn't quite so dramatic, as there were no flames involved, but still it has been reborn, metaphorically speaking, into a scaled-down, less pricey version of the old concept.
Pacific Rim has always enjoyed quite a stellar reputation, so my wife and I were eager to get an early glance at the new baby, so to speak.
Chow's new décor is Asian minimalist circa 2010. Long, curvy bar and sushi bar. Splashes of pastels and dashes of red. Lamps resembling soda straw dispensers near the sushi bar. Sweetly gracious service completes the setting. Although the place has been open only a short time, there were already a number of diners, always a good sign.
My wife and I were handed copies of the menu, drink list and sushi check-off list so we could make our selections. We nodded approval at the all-day bar specials, such as $2 draft beers and $5 mai tais -- more positive signs that Chow is indeed a customer-friendly place. If you prefer a clean flavor profile and very little fire, you will likely love Chow's new menu, which is drawn from several different Asian cuisines. You will certainly love the value, with only a few fish dishes costing more than $10.
While my wife started with a Michelob Ultra, I went with a bottle of Tamara Sierra cold sake. Very crisp, with a slight melon taste. We selected Shrimp Cheese Straws for our starter and were delighted with the presentation, the straws stacked like a miniature fort. The taste was very
close to Crab Rangoon, that guilty pleasure star of many a Chinese buffet. My companion loves Pad Thai but I suggested she try something different for a change and she agreed on the Chicken Udon Stir Fry. Thick, wheat-flower noodles were expertly combined with shiitake mushrooms, green onions, bean sprouts, baby corn, Napa cabbage and baby bok choy. She loved the dish, particularly the very flavorful noodles, but she had requested medium spice and was served mild instead. She was too hungry to send it back, so now she knows to ask for more spice on our next visit.
For me, the BBQ Red Pork sounded interesting, but I was too intrigued by the Braised Ham Hock to pass it by, and so decided to give it a go. The dish proved rather fatty and also could have used extra heat, although the chile sauce presented alongside was very good. In any case, we were pleased, particularly when our winsome waitress presented us with the bill, which amounted to $30. At these prices, there's no doubt we'll be back, and those of you with children will no doubt perk up your ears upon hearing that later this month, Chow will be starting a brunch buffet, offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, adults $14.50, children $8.50, children under 3 free. With value like this, I believe that Chow Asian Street Food will thrive and survive, though perhaps not for a thousand years. Only time will tell.