The city of Malden has not quite developed the type of restaurant row that can be found in places such as Waltham, Quincy, and Arlington, but it is indeed becoming a bit of a destination spot for many diners. Restaurants of all kinds can now be found in this northern suburb of Boston, including those that are not all that easy to categorize, such as All Seasons Table on Pleasant Street in Malden Center. Is it upscale? Is it casual? Is it family-friendly? Is it trendy? Is it a Japanese restaurant? Is it a Chinese restaurant? The answers to all of these questions are "yes," as All Seasons Table is the type of restaurant that caters to many, many different types of diners.
All Seasons Table resides in a very attractive restaurant, with a modern, sophisticated feel that is also unpretentious and welcoming. Huge flower pots line the back dining area, making it almost feel like a leafy boulevard, while a sushi bar dominates the front of the restaurant, which also houses the spacious main dining area (a second section is off to the left in a separate space). Service is friendly, cheerful, and efficient, and the restaurant generally has the feel of a well-run place, even when it is jammed. The menu at All Seasons Table is Pan-Asian, with large parts of the menu dedicated to Chinese and Japanese cuisine. But diners can also choose from a number of Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Singaporean dishes. A few categories on the menu include sushi, pan-fried dishes, and teppanyaki.
Entrees are too numerous to list here, but a few items on the menu include an outstanding chicken lettuce wrap and plum sauce appetizer that is prepared at the diner's table; an even better duck lettuce wrap that contains browned bits of meat; a number of soups, including a rich-tasting Thai-style hot and sour soup, a mild but tasty spinach and tofu soup, and a superb miso soup; a plate of melt-in-your-mouth steamed dumplings (gyoza) that are filled with either meat or vegetables, and can also be fried if you wish; spring rolls that come with nicely-seasoned ground chicken; a simple but flavorful plate of Chinese broccoli in garlic sauce; a rich and sweet-tasting pan-fried chicken entree with spicy basil and chili sauce; grilled beef with onions, carrots, and a comforting, warming Malaysian curry; a vermicelli bowl with veggies, crushed peanuts, and a grilled beef option that adds a smokiness to the dish; a vegetarian plate called ma-po tofu that includes a good amount of tofu in a black bean sauce; a bright-tasting and not-too-hot basil fried rice that can be ordered with delicious morsels of chicken or ground pork; a smoky-tasting drunken noodle plate; a nicely presented teriyaki chicken teppanyaki, which has sliced white-meat chicken on a bed of sauteed onions, with rice, carrots, asparagus, and broccoli, on the side; some terrific sushi sampler dishes that include such items as spicy salmon, whitefish, tuna, octopus, shrimp, and yellowtail; and getting back to those who prefer vegetarian dishes, a decent variety of veggie sushi items, including umeshiso maki (plum paste and shiso leaves), which has a nice mix of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors to it. Drinks at All Seasons Table include a number of familiar and not-so-familiar cocktails, with a deceptively mellow-tasting Pearl Harbor, a sweet and rather strong Lycheetini, and a classic fog cutter being among the former and a marvelous saketini and a fruity Jamaican Ten-Speed (Malibu rum, Midori, creme de banana, pineapple juice) being among the latter.
All Seasons Table is not easy to find if you are unfamiliar with Malden (it is on a one-way street that seems to disappear and start up again as it curves its way through Malden Center). And the simple white sign out front is pretty easy to miss, especially if you have traffic in front of you and behind you. But once you find this hidden gem, you will probably be glad you did, especially if you like a variety of Asian cuisines from which to choose. All Seasons is indeed yet another reason why more and more folks are starting to head to Malden for dinner these days.
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