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Apsara - Public St. Providence

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My fiancee and I went there last night due to the numerous recommendations of CH's. Very disappointed. I started off with a bowl of soup which as delicious and the food went down hill from there. We shared 3 dishes, a beef/broccoli/noodle dish - the best of the 3 but nothing I would do back for, a Thai Sweet & Sour dish - very thick gummy/sauce with an unpleasant after taste, and a spicky garlic sauce dish - again very thick and gummy sauce.

The service was terrible. We sat there with menus for 10 minutes without a visit to the table. The menu is so long, we had questions but there wasnt anybody available to help. The server finally took our drink order as well as my soup order, and my soup came out before the drinks. I actually had to get ahold of the waitress and make the "hand to mouth" signal. The food came out about 2 minutes after the drinks. When we were done we waited another 10 minutes for her to come over to check on us (no stop to the table during the dinner). It was actually another server than came over and packed up the minimal leftovers we had. Then another wait to get and then pay the check. I dont even know if this place has any desserts, none were offered.

Whats even worse is the dining room was 1/2 full during our meal. It got a bit busier as we were leaving but there was no excuse for the poor service.

Finally, I wouldnt exactly say this place is a "cheap eat" I know we got 3 main courses but it still cost us $45 with a large side of rice, the $2 bowl of soup (the best deal on the menu), 1 soda, tax and 15% tip. Also very little in terms of leftovers, the best part of Chinese/asian food....only enough for my faincee to have lunch today (and again we ordered 3 meals) In this part of RI - lets call it what it is here - there are much better deals to be had IMHO!

I am willing to give it another try, I may have to convince my fiancee though, but what do you all recommend next time if and when we go? Also anyhone else notice a decline in food, service, or value??

PS - Went to Kings Garden in Cranston a few days before and had a GREAT meal. Good food, service, and good portions. The dim sum was delicious!

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  1. I would suggest trying Ebisu, which is at the end of Pontiac Ave, near the Cranston/Providence line. (Near the Job Lot plaza). My husband and I stopped in the other night just for drinks and got a couple of little bites off the menu. They were delicious, and the service was outstanding. We're actually going back for a full dinner later this week. I've heard wonderful things about it from other people as well. (It's traditional Japanese, no sushi. Lots of cold sake, with a very educated bartender who told us all about cold sake vs. warm sake, as well as many other interesting little tidbits about the menu, drinks, and traditional Japanese service.)

    1. The service at Apsara is terrible. I mean, really awful. My sister and I were seated once, given menus and waited...and waited...and waited. Twenty minutes later, we left the virtually empty resturant, having never been greeted.

      That said, some of their food is really great. The soups are awesome, their hand rolls are always fresh and stuffed full, the Bee Bong is delicious and gigantic. They do not have dessert.

      My bill is usually ten bucks and I'd have leftovers if I wasn't such a pig.

      1 Reply
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        What really stuck in my craw was the other servers all seemed to be very aware that we were looking around waiting for somebody to come to our table, but were apathetic. LOL - just rememberered, when I had enough of waiting for the server to take my credit card, I brought the check up to the hostess; she asked how everything was and I responded with "Just ok"........ and got no response.

        I worked in the restaurant industry a long time and this staff seems to not care. Too bad!

      2. I get really annoyed when people expect to have huge portions/low prices/leftovers at Asian restaurants...why? And that "hand-to-mouth" gesture must have really gone over well...that would have really pissed me off. They do speak and understand English. Would you do that in any other restaurant?

        9 Replies
        1. re: digga

          Interesting comment. Most of if not ALL people who eat at Asian/Chinese restaurants have to take home containers of food. Its only a matter of time when some places will not pack it up for home use because its a huge health hazard if not handled properly. I have heard that Apsara is very good but for reason's I cannot mention I will not eat there. With huge portions espically if its low price, you only can make quality food with quality products.Most places that have a huge crowd and cheap food prices cannot make any profits. A lot of places in RI espically will turn and burn tables doing 300 people plus on a busy night but with these low prices there is very little profit. and if people think restaurants or any business isnt in it for a profit then somethings wrong.

          1. re: Frank Terranova

            Most of their dishes are noodle and veggie based. I find the dishes large, but definitely NOT huge. At about $7 each, they're definitely making a profit.

            Their is zero ambiance and their rent is cheap. There is no sound system, no interior decorator, no advertising, no pastry chef. All of these things allow them to keep low prices.

            1. re: Frank Terranova

              Please note here, I am not looking for "Huge Portions" ala Marchettis, but as I said when you order 3 mains for 2 people you should have enough left over for at least a 1 person to have lunch the next day IMHO. The 3 meals I ordered were all $9.99 if I remember correctly, that is right at the average for this type of food. We all need to make a living, as a fellow small business owner I can sympathize with "making a profit" specifically in todays AWFUL economy. But for numerous reasons already stated, however, I dont think this place was worth it.

              As for the "take home containers/handeling, I dont really see your point. You can buy chicken from Stop & Shop and if its not handeled correctly you can get sick; does this make S&S liable? Not in my opinion, but then again Im no lawyer.....

              1. re: Bob W

                I have heard of this before too..... some dishes just dont travel well and some restaurants wont lower their standards to accomodate take-out. Plus some places dont want their "secrets" exposed, recipes and ingredients etc, and will refuse to allow certain dishes to leave the premesis (reverse engineering) and in many cases only 1 or 2 chefs know how to make a dish. I saw one show on the food network where a restaurant had a concealed kitched complete with locked door, so their secret dishes couldnt be copied in ingredients or cooking method.

                1. re: joe777cool

                  "but as I said when you order 3 mains for 2 people you should have enough left over for at least a 1 person to have lunch the next day IMHO"

                  Pardon the confusion but in the first post you mentioned there was enough left over for lunch the next day. Was there leftovers or no?

                  1. re: ratbuddy

                    I am not quite sure what your issue is, and why you continue to harp on this, but if you actually read the posts, (in the order they were posted) it makes perfect sense. I was responding to the post by digga "I get really annoyed when people expect to have huge portions/low prices/leftovers at Asian restaurants...why?"

                    next

                    1. re: joe777cool

                      Oh, ok. I guess I misunderstood. It sounds to me like you were perfectly happy with the portion size then. I thought you were complaining about it.

                      1. re: ratbuddy

                        the portions were ok but not large by any means. we ordered 3 entrees for 2 people and only took home a small to-go container (and if I had liked this entree it probably would have gotten eaten). The point I was trying to make earlier in the post was if you buy 3 meals for 2 people you should have plenty to take home. In all honesty, I had something to eat about an hour after I got home.

              2. re: digga

                afte rereading this thread and taking some time to think about it I really gotta tell you how wrong you are.

                I would rather have a "pissed off" waitress and have the correct food and drink served to me in a timely fashion than a happy waitress and be parched and hungry. It seems to me that if a simple gesture to remind the server that she had completely forgotten about our drinks is enough to "piss her off" than she is obviously in the wrong business and should consider working at the RIDMV. She is there to take care of the customers, and the vast majority of her income is based upon customer satisfaction. In fact despite my "rude" gesture she did apologize several times for her mistake, the complete opposite of being po'd and what you would expect out of somebody that had just made a mistake.

                And yes, I would do that in any and every other restaurant - REGARDLESS of what language they speak.......

              3. This is very similar to my experience there. I though the service and food were awful, which baffled me because of the constant good reviews seen here.