Aug. 30th, 2012

Savor a Taste of Asia Inside Boston's New Restaurant & Lounge

Empire Restaurant & Lounge
Photo Courtesy of Empire Restaurant & Lounge
The Empire strikes Boston! Not in a Darth Vader kind of way. More like The Great Wall of China, Dancing Geisha, Hot Night in Bangkok and Red Dragon sort of way. Meet Empire Asian Restaurant & Lounge, the funky new Feng Shui waterfront temple, now open at the Fan Pier, brought to you compliments of Big Night Entertainment Group (the brain team behind Boston’s own Red Lantern, The Estate and GEM). You won’t believe your eyes the moment you open the massive front doors, which unveil a 14,000 square-foot Zen-inspired den, beautifully decorated with antique style mirrors, carved ceilings, exotic art and modern photographs.

Think Imperial Chinese meets contemporary Asian and that will give you a hint of the ambiance. Nine rooms await you, including a stainless steel expo kitchen with numerous chefs (keep an eye out for Executive Chef Kevin Long), noodle station, Wok and sushi bar. Start off, like we did, with a classic Mai Tai or Dancing Geisha paired up with the Spicy Red Dragon roll or some melt-in-your-mouth tender Wagyu Beef Nigiri (possibly the best we ever had). We couldn’t get enough of the steamed pork dumplings with Chinese celery and Char Sui Pork. The main events here come in large and small portions, celebrating the Chinese tradition of communal shared plates. Be forewarned, the large size is enormous and can be shared among a table of four.

The house fried rice is like none other prepared in the city – light, fluffy, loaded with flavor, and with just the right amount of spices. The dish is chock full of chicken, pork and shrimp topped with a fried egg. The deliciously soft Yaki udon noodles with chicken were so fresh and cooked perfectly. (They make for a great late night snack). Savory daily specials like beef and tofu make Empire truly a standout newbie. Round out your dining experience here by snacking on a stone fruit tasting of yellow peach cr?me brulee, nectarine tart, and white peach semi freddo. Or indulge in Kaffir lime cr?me brulee with lemongrass.

Once you are done eating, who said anything about leaving? Head over to the sleek adjacent bar for a nightcap with all the beautiful people and swizzle on a rum-laden scorpion bowl, or end your smoldering night with a Hot Night in Bangkok martini made with Sriracha.

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Kellie K. Speed
Is a freelance travel writer with more than 20 years experience. She provides, travel and restaurant reviews, luxury pieces, product features for magazines such ... Luxury NEWS >