|Roti canai at Asian Palace Fusion|
Asian Palace Fusion is a new restaurant tucked into an office building near Howard County Hospital. It's a stretch to say "city restaurant," but it's a sleek and modern layout with a sushi bar, cascading water, and the sparkly look of neon, metallic cloths and cool lights.
It's not exactly a fusion restaurant. They're not rethinking one cuisine in light of another. Instead, they're creating the pan-Asian menu that seems more and more popular these days -- sushi, Chinese, and a touch of southeast Asia. In this case, the touch seems heavily Thai.
Our main courses were split like the menu -- one sushi roll and one Thai stirfry.
On the Thai side, we tried the Bangkok basil with chicken. It's a winner. Long slices of white meat served with a strong taste of basil and tender vegetables. Thick slices of onion, zucchini, and pepper weren't popped frozen from some food service pack. They're fresh vegetables cooked through, but still crunchy. A thin brown sauce brought the dish together. I have no idea if this is authentic somewhere, but it's delicious.
On the sushi side, we went with the naruto roll. We're fans of big multi-ingredient rolls, and Asian Palace enticed us by wrapping three kinds of fish and avocado in slices of cucumber. It's pricey at $13 for five pieces, but it's beautiful and unique. The cucumber is an integral part of the roll, slices thin enough to bend but thick enough to crunch. They balanced the fish, and they gave a contrasting texture -- a crispness like tempura but fresh and light instead of fried.
In the end, Asian Palace is worth a drive even past your local Chinese joint. Asian Palace aspires to be more than a neighborhood place, and it has the decor and the menu to be something special like Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro. I'm eager to try some of the Thai dishes like penang or green curry. There are also dozens of sushi rolls ranging from basics through multi-ingredient monsters.
Asian Palace is especially worth a drive for a group of people who want different foods. A bunch of you could split sushi while the outlier enjoys a Thai dish.
Has anyone tried the lunches? Asian Palace is just south of the hospital and Rte 175. This is pretty convenient for people who work near the hospital or the Columbia Mall.
Asian Palace Fusion
10801 Hickory Ridge Rd
Columbia, MD 21044
NEAR: Asian Palace is in the first floor of a commercial building at Hickory Ridge Road and Cedar Lane. We get there by turning off Cedar Lane. It's the same building as Mad City Coffee.