It’s a smaller shop and hard to see from the road, famed these days for being the original home of Peter Chang’s spicy cooking. We came on a weekend, to check it out and see. I didn’t even see the place until my daughter finally said, “Dad, turn HERE.”

Inside, we arrived right as several large groups must have left, and there were several large groups still eating. We were seated quickly, but then we had to wait for service. There was no cutlery on the table once we were seated. None arrived until we explicitly asked for it – after we were served food. Given that there appeared to be two staffers working the tables, I’m not entirely surprised. Overwhelmed, you  know?

Once we started ordering I think half the time we were told, “I’m sorry, we’re out of this dish. Can you order another?” I know for a fact this cut my wife out of some dishes she really wanted to try, the dry fried eggplant being dish #1 in her eyes.

We started with a tofu and mushroom soup. It was good. Nothing mind blowing, but good.

We also had mushroom with wild pepper. It’s a cold dish and if you’re not prepared for the cold dishes, they’ll seem off putting to you. But I like the variety of mushrooms you can get in a Chinese restaurant.

We ordered Shan City chicken, as my daughter has decided the various incarnations of this dish around the city are “her” food. This was an excellent version, reason enough on its own to come here.

I tried a duck dish. It ended up deep fried, and I felt something of a disappointment. I don’t think fried duck has as much appeal as oven based treatments, where it’s possible to have very distinct texture and flavor differences in a single bite of food. Duck skin can be very different from duck fat, and in turn you have the richness of the meat. Frying makes it all the same.

It has to be noted that all the dishes looked like they were being prepared for the eyes. They’re visually fantastic. Colors are striking on the plate and the food always seems to look like an explosion of rich color.

In all we had a highly mixed experience. Some  of it was just the day. We arrived just past a peak and were dealing with an overburdened staff and shortages in the kitchen.  Certainly not ideal, in any sense. I’d say that the plusses were enough to recommend the place, but the minuses are substantial. If you need excellent staff and any dish on the menu, regardless, this isn’t the place to choose. If you don’t mind a hit or miss meal with a few “knock you dead” dishes, this place can deliver.

Tasty China
585 Franklin Road
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 419-9849

Tasty China on Urbanspoon