Sa Pa, the Vietnamese eatery in Cleveland Circle, re-opened on Feb. 5 as Jade Monkey. Sa Pa had been closed since Oct. 31, but has now been rebranded under the same ownership. Jade Monkey owner Ky Nguyen brought Vietnamese cuisine to Jade Monkey’s 1952 Beacon St. location in May 2014. Nguyen, a Vietnamese native, also owns the Sa Pa Downtown Crossing location.
Customers remember Sa Pa’s fast line-bar ordering style, in which customers would order and inform the employee behind the counter what to add. Customers would then sit down in the store. This model was very similar to Chipotle or Subway. According to new manager Frank Schillace, the store was losing around $20,000 to $30,000 per month with this model.
After petitioning the Boston Licensing Board, the location reopened as Jade Monkey, a full-service Asian fusion restaurant. The ordering line has since been replaced with a bar featuring assorted alcoholic beverages, aptly named “Monkey Bar.” Customers also are greeted at the door by a hostess and are seated, like many full-service restaurants. The location’s new structure has allowed the restaurant to increase its capacity, allowing for more customers to sit down, relax, and enjoy their meal.
According to the restaurant’s social media page, Jade Monkey had a “soft opening” on Jan. 29, giving a few lucky customers a chance to experience the revamped atmosphere and sample the new menu. The new wood-covered interior features some cultural items along the walls such as Chinese checkers, jade-colored monkey statues, and paintings of Chinese pagodas.
The new Asian fusion style is a change from the Vietnamese menu at Sa Pa, which is still present at Nguyen’s downtown location. Some welcomed additions include the Korea-town short rib dinner with spicy peppers and onions, as well as a green peppercorn sauce. The Hong Kong hoagie contains sliced pepper steak, teriyaki onions, and pepperoncini.
Jade Monkey’s menu features various dim sum such as crab rangoon and different veggie rolls. In addition, Asian bowls and “house favorites” like the Monkey Duckling are available. Customers will notice the change, as Sa Pa previously served banh mi sandwiches and burritos, vermicelli bowls, kimchi, as well as pho noodle soups and spring rolls.
The new menu features new types of rolls like the crispy tuna rolls which includes seaweed, hot mustard, spinach, and yuzu aioli—a spicy sauce comprised of wasabi paste and soy sauce. A fish bowl includes Faroe Island salmon, garlic spinach, soba noodles, Greek yogurt, and a soy ginger sesame dressing.
With plenty of college students in the Cleveland Circle area, Jade Monkey brings something unique to the area that includes Chipotle, Starbucks, and Eagle’s Deli. The revamped menu gives customers who want something more conventional several options, including baby-back ribs, chicken wings, fresh-cut fries, and a house salad.
Featured Image by Jade Monkey