Boston Restaurant Blog -- December, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
There is something about a snowstorm that makes me want comfort food, no matter how unhealthy it may be. Perhaps it is because of all the shoveling burning off calories, or maybe it is because snowy nights lend themselves to being in a cozy, comfortable place, but whatever the reason, I indeed found myself eating the ultimate comfort food (Polynesian-American cuisine) at a place called Tiki Palace in South Braintree a couple of weekends ago.
Unlike many restaurants that feature Polynesian food, Tiki Palace is a rather modest, low-key place with none of the gaudiness of restaurants such as Kowloon in Saugus or the long-gone Royal Hawaiian in Burlington or Aku-Aku in Cambridge. The inside of the restaurant is quite big, with a bar to the left and a long room with booths and large tables to the right. Hanging plants and lights add some atmosphere to the main room, carpeting help keep the noise level down, and mirrors on the back wall make it feel even bigger than it is. Tiki Palace is a family-owned restaurant with a pretty loyal clientele from the neighborhoods in and around South Braintree, and the folks who run it are as nice as can be.
We started out with drinks (including a fairly strong but not-too-harsh drink called a King Funk of Tahiti for me), then had a couple of soups, including a delicious chicken wonton soup that tasted quite fresh, and a tasty hot and sour soup that was both spicy-hot and hot-hot (almost to the point of boiling). For our entrees, we ordered a plate of Singapore noodles and an alleged Polynesian dish called fong wong gai. The curry sauce in the Singapore noodles wasn't all that spicy, but the noodles themselves were firm and full of flavor, and there were a good amount of vegetables in the dish. The fong wong gai was a rather odd dish, with what can only be described as chicken fingers on steroids (they were extra large and round) and there was ham stuffed in the middle of each piece. Water chestnuts, pea pods, and assorted greens were mixed in with the dish, as well as those odd Alice in Wonderland-type mushrooms (cartoon-like caps and tiny stems--most likely straw mushrooms) that you sometimes see in Asian stir-fry dishes. The fong wong gai was almost comical in an over-the-top way, but it actually tasted great, and was the perfect comfort food for such a lousy weather night. I can't say the same for the pork and mushroom fried rice, however, as it was dark brown and dried out, and there was a strong fishy taste coming from it that was so harsh that I could only take a bite or two before calling it quits.
Tiki Palace is by no means a destination restaurant, but I thought that it really hit the spot with its friendly service, cheap prices, mellow atmosphere, and mostly decent food. I would certainly go back there the next time I'm in the area, and it probably doesn't even have to be a snowy night in order for me to go there. I'll definitely pass on the fried rice next time, however.
If you would like the address for Tiki Palace in South Braintree, MA, here it is: Tiki Palace, 1177 Washington Street, Braintree, MA, 02184. Phone: (781) 380-3808.
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