After years of loving Aja, I couldn’t take it when Tim and Sandy Mock opted to move to Grants Pass, Oregon. Yes, they sold the recipe book and basic concept, but I figured the move from a restaurant named after a classic Steely Dan album to one sharing a name with a dreadful David Caruso film was a bad omen. Luckily enough, other people gave Jade (3132 State St., 563-2007, jadesb.com) a chance, and now the spot is celebrating its third anniversary. It’s still bright and inviting, the kind of mid-priced cafe style spot that’s oddly in such short supply in this town. The food is still Pacific Rim-centric and perhaps better on the appetizers and small plates than the entrees. There’s no denying the Indonesian corn fritters, especially in their pool of luscious sweet chili sauce, a perfect balance of sugar and spice. The mini crab tacos are everything nice, too, with more of a kick than you might imagine. Fish specials that feature curry will always curry favor. And then there’s the accessibly priced but cleverly designed wine list, full of bottles that won’t get lost with this generally piquant fare. And while no one can be Tim, the service finds the right blend of helpfulness and wit that makes a visit to Jade well worth it. Especially since the prices are so moderate.
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