It was a Saturday afternoon. We were told it would be a 35 minute wait. It ended up being a 55 minute wait. Though I didn’t know it at the time, Atl Food Critic was in the line as well. My wife was not in the best mood by the time she was seated, but eventually, the food that arrived at the table made up for it.
The dry fried eggplant was really good. My wife thought it was awesome. She said, “crispy, spicy and dry on the outside, creamy but not mushy inside.” It’s a dish, like Shan City chicken, that’s best when eaten as soon as possible. Later in the meal, it was merely good as opposed to amazing.
Dry fried green beans. We all liked this version. This dish, in our opinion, is pretty good across the city, but the slivers of garlic and generally more sophisticated spicing was a hit with us.
This is spicy chicken with steamed bok choy, a dish that Atlanta Food Snob has already described. It is a large dish – the plate is easily a foot across. The taste of the dish is surprisingly meaty. This was the other big shocker at our table. Just how did Peter Chang’s crew get so much umami out of mere chicken and a steamed vegetable? The partial answer is the heavy use of onions, but certainly that isn’t all of it.
This was/is Shan City chicken, after my wife told the waitress to make it milder for my daughter. All I can say is, don’t ask them to make this dish milder. They will replace peppers with cilantro and the dish just isn’t the same. With this dish, the hotter the better, both in terms of freshness and pepperiness.
Fiery lamb. I was a little disappointed in this dish, not for any issues of spice. With very lean lamb and this kind of spicing, there really is no difference between lamb and beef. I had two bites where I could tell I was eating lamb. Otherwise, I should have just ordered the fiery beef. That said, the mix of vegetables here, the textures, reminded me why I liked Chinese back in the days when bamboo and water chestnuts were a new and mysterious wonder.
My daughter’s explanation is a little more evocative: “It’s not gamey enough.”
So that, in summary, was our meal this past Saturday. Two surprising dishes, two not as good as we would have liked, and one old favorite. Oh wait, two. My wife is amazingly fond of these:
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