February 6, 2019 – I have always thought serendipity provides spice to life. In that vein, sometimes you stumble into a small restaurant that turns out to be a jewel. Such is the case with Folsom Palace Asian Bistro in El Dorado Hills, the second in a small, locally owned chain.
Chef Bill Zheng opened the first Folsom Palace in, of all places, Folsom several years ago. In August of last year, he added a second location in El Dorado Hills.
My assistant and I had several errands to tend. I normally take a short break from work and don’t go out for lunch. But it had been raining for several days. It was still cold but that doesn’t mean much to an Alaska-raised guy. The sun was bright. It was the first nice day in a week. We were already out so I suggested that we have lunch.
I didn’t have any place particular in mind. We went about our business and, in the course of doing so, saw this small restaurant, with the now several months old Grand Opening sign still hanging from the awning over the sidewalk. It looked like a friendly enough place. We decided to give it a try.
We found room happily buzzing with several diners and an open kitchen in the background. The multi-colored paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling provided a bright, Asian-inspired atmosphere. Both the hostess who tended us and the manager who stopped by our table were friendly, efficient, and welcoming.
And then there was the food!
My assistant has a fondness for pork-stuffed steamed buns. She had mentioned them many times. And there they were on the menu! She couldn’t resist.
I opted for a lunch special, which began with a passable hot and sour soup. For the main course, I chose Sichuan Prawns. The large shrimp came cooked in a slightly spicy sauce with mild red peppers, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. In a nod toward fusion, slices of chayote were included in the mix. A generous helping of fried rice accompanied the entrée and was made even better by mixing it with some of the sauce.
Brightly colored decorations, a friendly staff, and food that was not only delicious but fit the bright mood of the day. Folsom Palace Asian Bistro deserves a return visit!