When it comes to clairvoyant pastries, breaking apart a fortune cookie is much more dignified than digging through a jelly donut in search of a mini magic 8 ball. Save fingers from sticky shame with today's Groupon to China Inn in Pawtucket. Choose between the following dining options:
• For $10, you get $20 worth of Chinese cuisine and drinks Sunday–Thursday.
• For $10, you get $20 worth of Chinese cuisine and drinks on Friday or Saturday (reservations required).
Opened in 1976, China Inn keeps things fresh by importing flavors from several areas of the East Asian nation. A diverse menu recruits traditional Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, and Mandarin fare, such as the chow hai san, where shrimp and lobster meat mingle amid water chestnuts, snow peapods, and bamboo shoots ($13.95). Chef specialties include salt-and-pepper calamari ($10.95), asparagus chicken in lemon-grass sauce ($12.95), and eerily prescient sports predictions. The spicy Ants on the Tree entree dots clear vermicelli noodles with minced pork and a spicy dry sauce ($7.95) and the Mandarin mu shi wraps wood-ear mushrooms, eggs, and a choice of meat in four Chinese pancakes ($8.50). Palettes may refresh between bites with one of many house cocktails, such as a banana or strawberry daiquiri, mai tai, or the Head Hunter, made with orange juice, coconut cream, the souls of its conquered foes, and dark rum ($5.25 each).
China Inn's atmosphere inspires peaceful meals with an oversized skylight pouring sunshine onto leafy trees at its center. Floor-to-ceiling windows add brightness to the 150-seat dining room and bar and a carpeted floor absorbs the din caused by animated conversations, dropped silverware, and crying baby pak choys.
China Inn Restaurant
China Inn Restaurant's menu is like a gustatory balloon ride over China, exploring different regions and culinary traditions to gain an understanding of the country's myriad subcultures. Cantonese-style dishes, such as sautéed lobster with a garden-fresh medley of snow peas, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts, demonstrate favoritism for veggies, whereas the Sichuan and Hunan entrees re-create those cultures’ characteristic spices and chilies with incendiary sauces. Mu shi, a traditional Mandarin dish, presents diners with pork, shrimp, or beef and vegetables as well as four Chinese pancakes to scoop up and wrap each bite or envelop a love note to a date.
In contrast to the complexly assembled menu of pan-regional specialties, China Inn Restaurant's dining room embraces a more elegant simplicity. The airy space features a large, central skylight that allows ample sunshine to wash over tables and plates. Chinese pottery adds a distinctive and authentic touch to the decor, whereas leafy plants create a calming, natural ambiance and an ample supply of oxygen to last through the dinner rush.
285 Main St.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860