Somewhere Over the Rainbow 'Palace'

Photo via Rainbow Palace, Facebook

(Mirror) Think “fine dining” and what comes to mind? French, certainly. Italian, definitely. Even that vaguely Eurocentric term from the 50s and 60s, Continental. But, Chinese? 

That food is usually regulated to storefronts and small family-run establishments serving abundant food at bargain prices. There’s no reason Chinese food should not be given the same respect and consideration, after all it’s a cuisine that has been around thousands of years.

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Chinese food and fine dining are available in Fort Lauderdale at Rainbow Palace, where liveried servers preside over white linen tablecloths and food is presented as art. It’s all very high-end (including the over-priced wine list) and, while the food is pricier than you might find at a storefront, the quality of service and ingredients make it well worth the added expense. 

Soups are priced $7-$11, but when we mentioned that two folks would be sharing, and asked for an extra spoon, the staff went to the trouble of dividing the portion into two bowls. The house wonton soup featured a large bowl of plump and juicy dumplings stuffed with minced pork and a delicate chicken consommé with vegetables, scallions, slices of chicken breast and perfectly cooked shrimp. 

The spring roll was perfectly fine, filled with shrimp, pork and julienned vegetables, but at $6 for a single spring roll, was a tad over-priced. On the other hand, a quartet of shrimp and lobster dumplings, steamed and pan-fried on one side, giving a nice combination of chewy and crunchy, were a relative steal at $19, as they were bursting with lobster.

Entrée portions are generous, easily enough for two to share, or a hearty meal for one. Orange beef featured marinated flank steak, grilled then breaded and fried, yet still medium and tender inside, bathed in a tangy sauce, mildly hot spices and a touch of Grand Marnier for $29. 

Hunan country chicken highlights slices of chicken breast, wok fried, then tossed in a spicy and piquant sauce garnished with diced fresh vegetables for $27. Scallops in hot pepper sauce showcases a half-dozen huge sea scallops, lightly breaded in a water chestnut flour, which gives them the thinnest crispy edge, sautéed with diced garden vegetables for $35. But I do have one suggestion — the same diced vegetables can make each dish homogenous, so a bit of variety would be nice, say broccoli or cauliflower. A trio of lobster-based dishes priced from $44 to $62 are the highest priced items on the menu.

Throughout the meal, indications of fine dining abounded. Courses where brought out on carts, the dishes covered by silver cloches and each of the guests served at once. 

Not once was a dish auctioned off, as in “Who had the fried rice?” When two guests mentioned they’d by sharing their entrees, the waiter divided and plated each for them. When one of the diners finished before the others the plate was not taken away until all the others at the table completed their entree, which is a nicety too often unobserved.  

After our meal, we were allowed to sit and chat until we requested the bill. At which point the dessert platter was presented.  

While the variety of chocolate cakes and key-lime pie all looked tempting, none was particularly Asian in feel and we were too full to sample a dessert anyway.           

We departed feeling as if we had truly “dined out” with the special attention that implies, sure it cost us more than catching a quick bite, but once in a while (or more often if you can afford it), that’s a good thing.

Rainbow Palace

2787 E. Oakland Park Blvd. - Ft. Lauderdale, 



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