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21DINEpacific.jpg Cashew chicken at Restaurant Pacific.
Cashew chicken at Restaurant Pacific. Enlarge
Published: Wednesday, 11/20/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Chinese restaurant takes a step back

Restaurant Pacific in Sylvania Township had been a staple

BILL OF FARE

 

When Restaurant Pacific opened nine years ago in Sylvania Township, it was a sleek restaurant with a sushi bar and a fresh take on Pan-Asian dining.

Those days are gone, for better or worse, and the place changed ownership about a year ago. It is now a fairly standard Chinese restaurant that produced spotty results on our two visits. If you remember the early incarnation and show up unprepared, the contrast is fairly stark.

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Restaurant Pacific
★★

Address: 7629 W. Sylvania Ave., Sylvania Twp..

Phone: 419-841-8484.
Category: Casual.
Menu: Chinese.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for lunch; 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for dinner; 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: restaurantpacific.net.

Still located in a strip mall anchored by Kroger at the intersection of Sylvania Avenue and King Road, Restaurant Pacific has sushi on the menu, but the only bar is the one it has as neighbor and the music from next door wafts into the restaurant, creating a distracting vibe.

The menu is deep and contains exactly what you'd expect — chicken with cashews, crispy beef, the happy family, but, strangely, no pork dishes — with a few exceptions, including the basil jalapeno ($11.95).

An intriguing combination of sweet basil, broccoli, green onions, the dish kicks things into a much higher gear with the addition of jalapenos. The combination is sweet and super spicy and it works, thanks to the offsetting flavors that are so far apart they reach around and complement one another. This is not a dish for the faint-hearted because it brings the heat.

I asked for the cashew chicken ($10.95) to be spiced up and Restaurant Pacific came through with a solid variation on the standard that had just enough extra pop to stave off the dullness of what can often be a relatively bland dish slathered in brown sauce.

The Szechuan beef ($11.95) and shrimp garlic ($12.95) were predictable and they adequately filled that Chinese-food-as-comfort-food niche that has become standard. Restaurant Pacific also gets credit for the appearance of its dishes, which are colorful and pleasing to the eye.

Another visit yielded much less satisfying results and we were soundly disappointed. One of the specials was sauteed scallops ($14.95) in a wine garlic sauce. But rather than be light and subtle, the flavoring was heavy-handed. The scallops tasted fishy, the garlic was bitter, and none of the flavors matched up properly.

The crispy beef ($12.95) also was a struggle. Saturated in grease, the beef was tough (a common problem in Chinese restaurants perhaps because they use cheaper cuts) and had a slightly burned taste. To make matters worse, the broccoli that was served with it was old and starting to brown.

Appetizers are the usual — spring rolls ($1.95) pan-fried pork dumplings ($4.25), crab rangoon ($4.25) and a few others — and were neither bad nor outstanding.

The egg drop soup ($2.50/$3.95) is one of nine soups, which include hot and sour, wonton, veggie tofu, and Thai-style seafood. Restaurant Pacific charges $1.50 for a side of crispy noodles to use for soup dipping.

Service on both of our visits was exceptional. The wait staff is friendly and solicitous and our food was served efficiently. Restaurant Pacific has a more moderately priced lunch menu and serves beer and wine.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com.

Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.

Click here to read more Blade restaurant reviews.



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