Well over a week ago I made a reservation. When I tried to change it to two smaller tables but more seats in total, it was initially approved, but later they called me and told me they wanted a $100 deposit for the second table. I ask for 2 more seats and they want $100. Really?
Anyway, I kept my reservation. They are of course well aware of Chinese New Year, so I was not surprised to find the restaurant of course packed for their 7pm second seating. What I wasn't expecting was the staff shortage--It took very long to just order anything. But even so, floor staff kept their cool with customers and were at least professional though clearly so overworked most basically had to ignore you unless you walked right up and talked to them, in which case they typically asked you to wait a moment.
Dishes also came out quite slowly. The kitchen was probably working at full capacity of course, but surely management could have called in all hands to help with Chinese New Year at least on the floor for bussing and helping with customers? The dishes at our table were basically never cleared. How the kitchen survived without their plates and steamers returned was a mystery. Potstickers and various items came with no condiments. I even saw another large table get their own replacement bowls and soup spoons from the service counter.
Sadly I didn't get every photo before hungry hippos dove into the food, so not quantities on the plates in the picture are as they came from the kitchen...
Overall, food was between mediocre and substandard, especially certain staples, like Hot and Sour Soup. Xiao Long Bao (soup buns) could not be counted on to actually have soup inside, which was extremely disappointing.
We tried quite a few things. Only a few notes here:
Hakka Style Shredded Pork w/ Squid & Green Onion ("Shred Pk w Squid&Oni"; $12.95)
Stir Fried Rice Cake with Pork Chop Shanghai Style ("Fr Rice Cake w Pk Ch"; $8.95)
Simmer Chicken & Chestnuts in Brown Sauce ("Chk+Chestnuts in Bro"; $12.95)
- The sauce is pretty tasty here, and they give you lots of it.
- So much bean I thought it should be included in the name of the menu item.
- Prawns strangely salty here.
Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings ("Chk Soup Dumplings"; $7.50)
Simmer Assorted Vegetables & Fried Tofu ("Assort Vege+Fr Tofu"; $11.95)
Large Hot and Sour Soup ("Hot+Sour Soup(L)"; $7.95)
- Spicy-hot in a peppery way, but not sour at all.
- Good for maybe 6 bowls of soup.
- At just over $1 a piece, in price it is way less than the new-ish steamed bun place nearby, Bao Place. A little smaller, though, and the filling not as tasty, but the Bao Place isn't exactly super-tasty either.
Steamed Red Bean Paste Buns ("Red Bean Paste Bums"; $3.95 for 3)
Steamed Chocolate & Red Bean Paste Dumplings ("Choco+RBean Paste Du"; $5.95 for 8?)
Pan Fried Pork Pot Stickers ("Pk Pot Stickers"; $6.25 for 6 sticks)
Gongbao Chicken ("Gongbao Chk"; $13.95)
- Watch out for the chilies!
- Felt lacking in peanuts, but otherwise not bad.
- One shrimp on the top of a filling of pork. Pretty meaty -- you get slightly more filling than one of their soup buns.
- Also had clams. Which were gobbled up before I could take a photo. <.<
- Strangely bland except for a peppery flavour.
- NOT a "chow mein" with the crunchy pan-seared noodles, if that's what you are hoping for when you order. Look at the picture in the menu carefully. Not sure if they actually have that style of noodles on the menu.