Town Square

Shop Talk: A bit about Asian Box

Original post made on Aug 20, 2012

Frank Klein knows what he wants. A Palo Alto resident and 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry, he and his business partner/chef Chad Newton had a detailed plan when they opened Asian Box in Town & Country Village in March.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, August 18, 2012, 9:38 AM


Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

I like the Asian Box idea, but in practice have found it to be a far cry from satisfying. Menus exist for a reason, and I don't want to build my meal atom by atom any more than I want to build a car from scratch. Just my $0.02.

Posted by retired chef, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I had unchewable steak and the worst meal I ever paid for at Asian Box. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by HappyVeggie, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I've eaten there just once. The veggie selection, tofu, was okay if a bit heavy but the fresh vegges didn't taste very fresh and they were not plentiful. I'd probably eat there again but would rate it just 5-6 stars out of 10.

Posted by Alma Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

*sigh* was hoping for something a little more exciting than a Starbucks at Alma Plaza. Oh well.

Posted by Gail, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Due to poor reviews of Asian Box, my family has opted not to go there & hope that we catch them on a good day. We'd rather grab a salad & flatbread at Howie's.

But how about the new macaron place? Has anyone been there yet? It sounds wonderful, even if her descriptions sound a tad pretentious.

Posted by Asian food, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Always very suspicious when non-Asian people try to open an Asian-themed restaurant. If you don't grow up with the authentic ingredients and flavors and recipes, it is really hard to get them right. Most Americanized "Asian" food is much too sweet and bland and greasy.

Posted by Betty T, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have gone to the Asian Box several times for lunch. We do a take out for the office. It's always crowded and the food is good. Your negative comments are unfair. Frank is always at the counter making sure everything is perfect. The fact you can personalize your lunch is the best part.

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm

@ Betty T - it's not unfair to state your opinion, and actually it's incredibly productive. When Howie's - the pizza place around the corner at T&C - first opened up, their pizza wasn't good and I told them so. Apparently many others did too, 'cause their pizza has gotten way, way, way better since, and now I & tons of people go there all the time.

Food critics are good for the restaurants that listen to them.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Wow, what a load of negative reviews ... the comments make it sound like a vendetta of Chinese against non-Chinese for opening an Asian themed restaurant. The idea that Americanized Asian food is any more greasy than regular Asian food seems a bit absurd to me. I used to think Asian food was healthy, but so much of it is deep fried, aside from the soups, that when I used to eat Chinese food for lunch everyday I had to quit or blow up like a balloon.

From all the negative comments I think I'll just have to go there and make up my own mind. Yelp reviews seem to be much more positive on this place ... which also makes me think this place is getting picked on here by those who might not want to face competition from "outsiders".

People should make up their own minds.

Posted by what is Asian food, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

If it doesn't taste like Asian food, then it is not Asian food. Serving it in an Asian-style takeout box is not enough.

Posted by reviewer, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Have had it twice and found it to be bland. Would not go again.

Posted by ChrisC, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Go to the Korean place across from Asian Box for absolutely delicious food at reasonable prices.
Go to Palo Alto Pizza company on Park Ave off Cal Ave for pizza that blows Howie's way overpriced pizza off the map.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Yes, Anon, a vendetta! That was funny. More like a variety of locals, Asian and non, who don't like Asian Box or don't want to try it.

If you do go, please let us know if you liked it.

Posted by mmmmMom, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

We don't care who owns it - as long as it is legal. What we care about is the quality of the food, & the service. Both are nothing special @ Asian Box, & can be less than average. Our family went several times, giving them a fair chance. Not going back! It is more gimmick than substance.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Well, I did go to Asian Box to try it out.

It's a good idea I think can work, but it needs a bit of tweaking. Some complain about it being complicated to order, but I found it very easy and quick. The food seemed fresh and tasty, yet for some reason a bit bland or soggy. I think the ingredients are cut up into such small pieces that they soak up too much oil.

The owner seems to be very intent of listening to customers and making changes as needed so I hope they keep at it. It's a good idea, quick and fresh fast food that is healthy, how can that go wrong, yet it will be a while before I go back to try it again.

There is no reason this concept should not be a winner, I just think they have a ways to go. Good luck to them.

Posted by Frank, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hello. I am one of the owners of Asian Box. Thanks for the feedback. We take all comments seriously. Grace Nguyen, our chef and partner uses her families authentic recipes. Yes, she is Vietnamese and the recipes are her grandmothers. Not that it should matter. We use sustainably grown and raised vegetables and proteins and always NEVER EVER products meaning no hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc. etc. All our products are natural. We bring our products in fresh every day and cook them fresh every day. We make our own sauces and marinades. Asian food is one of the cuisines that everyone has as a different view of what it should be and taste like. We do fresh, natural, everyday with a friendly staff. So come and make up your own minds. Social media has allowed lovers and haters to review anything. We are in a public business so not only do we have thick skin but really do listen to any and all feedback and sort through what we can improve.

Posted by Malini, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

My son treated me for lunch in Asian Box today.
I loved it so much! Very fresh vegetables, yummy Coconut curry sauce, Peanut sauce, Tamarind sauce. Super fresh deal for Vegetarians. Very Saathvik food! Would love to go again. Hope you have more branches all over USA.