Today, Oriental Jade, located on Bangor Mall Boulevard, revealed the first phase of their $1 million renovation, including a new open kitchen and upgraded dining room.
The new showcase kitchen, where diners can see the chefs working on their meals, enables a refreshed menu that features a number of Asian noodle dishes, sushi and sashimi. Owner Lilian Lo and chef/owner Tyson Lo invited members of the media to taste and talk about their new menu before it opened.
The tasting started with a selection of sashimi, ranging from squid to salmon. The fish was fresh and delicious, as were the sushi rolls. The red dragon roll, containing tempura shrimp and cucumber, topped with tuna, masago and spicy mayo, was the star of the show with its excellent balance and presentation.
After the selection of sushi and sashimi, little bamboo containers circled the table, blessing us with bao, a steamed yeast bun filled with chicken and mushrooms covered in spicy peanut sauce. The bun was fluffy and warm and the filling slapped you in the tongue with the spicy sauce. Lilian Lo said that three or four buns could be a good lunch option. I couldn’t agree more.
Another new addition to the menu was the Singapore street noodles, which smelled heavily of Thai curry and packed in some great flavor. Moreover, as a gluten free option, this makes the menu more accessible to people with different dietary needs.
In September, the owners Victor, Lilian and Tyson Lo revealed their plans to invest in their restaurant, which has been a mainstay in Bangor for around 40 years.
The addition of the showcase kitchen came at the expense of the buffet, which Lilian Lo found wasteful. Tyson Lo said that the new menu might be a little scarier to order from, but old clientele should still give it try.
“Tasting is believing,” he said. “The buffet is an easier experience because you don’t have to order off of the menu. But, with the open kitchen, we’ll be able to educate people and show people how we cook the food and do something interactive and revolutionary for the area.”
Lilian Lo said that the renovation and changing menu required the hiring of a few new staff members, including an experienced Japanese chef.
The second stage of renovations, per a Dec. 1 press release, includes an in-house brewery and beer garden. Tyson Lo said there will be pub food available alongside the new menu.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting culinary experience for Bangor,” Tyson Lo said. “If they’re interested in a casual brew pub beer menu, or a showcase menu with sushi and ramen and modern Asian tapas, or if they want to have our pu pu platter, that will always be there.”
The main dining room now features a large water will along with family-style tables with lazy Susans (or as Tyson Lo calls them, “Liberated Post-Modern Susans.”) to accommodate sharing. The dining room is tastefully decorated and feels like an experience brand new to the Bangor Mall area scene.
“We’re gonna have music and entertainment,” Tyson Lo said. “Every room kind of offers something different. We have one of the biggest restaurants in the area, and now it’s going to be one of the most beautiful restaurants in the area.”
The new dining room will open for dinner on Sunday at 4:30. Phase two of the renovations is slated for January.