Peony Chinese Restaurant prides itself not only on its authentic Chinese feasts of shredded pork, spicy eggplant, and chicken in savory sauce, but its commitment to health. Chefs whip up meals with fresh veggies and light oils, cooking at high heat to lock in flavor while preserving nutrients, vitamins, and superpowers, and they even cook MSG-free meals on request. Guests savor house specialties of shredded roast duck with scallions or fillet of sole with fried tofu, or they sink their teeth into lunches of twice-cooked pork and spicy kung pao chicken. Soothing, salmon-colored walls surround a 50-seat dining area bedecked with dark-hardwood booths and framed portraits of the gorgeous peony flower that gives the restaurant its name.
There’s nothing old-fashioned about Asia Grill & Sushi’s dining room, with its curved bar area bathed in neon light and its ceiling speckled with orbicular chandeliers. Flat-screen TVs dominate patches of wall, allowing diners to catch up on the latest news or watch local sports. Fittingly, the restaurant’s specialty rolls are also quite modern and sports-themed. One of many team-named options on the roster, the Patriots roll is filled with lobster, cucumber, and avocado before being covered with two types of tuna, tobiko, sweet sauce, and spicy mayo. Meals also emerge from steamy woks, including sirloin steak that’s glazed with a flaming black-pepper wine sauce. Other entrees include crispy tender peking duck and lobster cooked with black-bean or tamarind sauce.
Though recently featured in a USA Today Travel article that praised its “astonishing” chow mein sandwich, Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining is known by locals for more than just its kitchen’s specialties. The restaurant also won a prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive award in 2011, and its world-famous jazz and blues performances have helped cement its self-proclaimed reputation as New England’s "home of eggroll, jazz, and blues."
Long before the sounds of horns and saxophones filled its halls, the New Shanghai Restaurant opened its doors in 1905. It was not until the mid-1960s, however, that the Chan family refurbished the Woonsocket landmark and began serving an innovative combination of Cantonese, Szechwan, Hunan, and Mandarin cuisines. Around this time, the Chans also brought in the live jazz and blues music that continues to fill the main dining area—known as the Horseshoe Bar Lounge—and the famous Four Seasons Jazz and Blues Club.
With its red paper lanterns, traditional Chinese artwork, and colorful paintings of musicians, the Four Seasons has played host to such legendary blues, jazz, and folk artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Rebecca Parris. A buffet spread accompanies musical performances, during which enthralled audiences watch as musicians pound eggrolls against snare drums or slide their hands along guitars strung up with slippery chow mein noodles.
Mandarin Cuisine's expansive menu is filled with classically made Chinese dishes. Break in your chopsticks with an order of crunchy crab rangoon ($4.95) or Peking ravioli ($5.50). Flavorful Far East imports include crispy orange chicken ($11.50) and Mongolian-style beef with scallions and onions ($12.75). Like Penn & Teller, the honey-glazed chicken with chili garlic ($12.75) is an irresistible combination of sweet and spicy. For a meal worth untangling, try the house specialty rice noodles with chicken, pork, shrimp, and veggies ($9.25). Mandarin Cuisine also offers a range of low-calorie dishes ($9.25–$13.50).