The best jade plans
Rim: A Palais De Jade Restaurant2500 E. Second St.
Reno, NV 89502
Ask me where you should go for dinner tonight, and I could easily recommend three restaurants of any genre that I’d count among my favorites. However, when it comes to Chinese food, I only go to one place, Palais De Jade. With the opening of Palais De Jade’s second restaurant, Rim, in Grand Sierra Resort, I thought for certain I’d have another favorite. Honestly, it’s hard not to compare the two restaurants. My every meal at Palais De Jade has been such a treat that I ventured into Rim with some trepidation. Could it be anywhere near as good? Well, after visiting last Thursday with my wife, Kat, the answer is no.
If Palais De Jade is a restaurant you’d take your parents to, Rim is a place you’d take a hot date. It’s got a hipper vibe, compliments of the club music and good-looking wait staff that wears either mini-skirts or some unfortunate red pajama bottoms. The décor is a mix of traditional Asian flair and more contemporary artistic touches like what looks like large, colorful uvulas dangling from the ceiling and ginormous white plate settings, some in very odd shapes.
While Palais De Jade’s execution of everything achieves near-perfection, Rim lags far behind. The back of the house sent out great food, but the service was lacking. Our server, though incredibly cute and bubbly, brought me a dirty plate, was slow to tend water glasses and didn’t seem to know what ingredients comprised any of the dishes. After going zero-for-three on Kat’s questions, she pulled a cheat sheet from her pocket to tell us what comes in something as common as Kung Pao chicken.
Knowledgeable servers are important because Rim’s menu spans foods from several Pacific Rim countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam, Korean and Japanese, including a full sushi bar, and sometimes the menu offers few hints as to what’s in a dish. Personally, I’d like to know what the heck bulgogi ($12.95) is before I order it.
We ended up ordering pretty conservatively. I started with a cup of hot and sour soup ($3.95), a fantastic blend of tofu, mushrooms, pork and more in a rich, spicy broth. Kat and I also split the Buddha roll ($10.50 or $24.95 for all-you-can-eat dinner): spicy white tuna, avocado, macadamia nuts, basil, eel and kiwi. It’s a creative mix of ingredients that was very nicely arranged, and a good dunking in soy sauce helped cut the sweetness of the kiwi.
For entrees, Kat ordered the Kung Pao chicken ($11.95), and I picked the chicken chow fun ($9.95). Both items are very simple, the Kung Pao containing little more than chicken, celery, peanuts and sinister-looking Asian peppers. The chow fun had a mixture of chicken, noodles, bean sprouts and green onion. What the dishes lacked in visual delight they made up for in flavor. Kat’s meal would’ve been better with less celery and maybe some water chestnuts, but I enjoyed its sweet, sticky sauce. Fun perfectly described my food, the flavor of which came mostly from wide, chewy rice noodles lightly coated in a savory sauce.
We ended with the ginger cheesecake ($6.95). Be warned this dish is doubly tart from the combination of cream cheese and ginger. I enjoyed it but thought the thin crust, which tasted like sponge cake, was pretty weak.
All in all, if you’ve got plans to visit the GSR you could do worse than eating at Rim. However, Palais De Jade remains my favorite for Asian food in Reno.