When we saw the poster for a 20-course tasting party, how could we resist the opportunity? It’s usually the third Wednesday of every month, November was special. It’s been pushed up a week due to Thanksgiving. Luckily, I called a few weeks before, and signed up for it. On the phone, I was told it’s $25 per person, cash only, arrive at 6:30PM, and everyone MUST eat spicy. I was a bit anxious, because my throat was super swollen over the weekend, and was afraid spicy foods would irritate. Luckily, it wasn’t all too bad.
We arrived at 6:40PM thanks to rush-hour traffic, and were led into the private party rooms. The round table with lazy susan was big enough to seat 12, there were already 6 people settled in, conversing and drinking wine. The manager came in around 7PM informing us the tasting would start in a few minutes, it turns out, the un-accommodating waitress we overheard that said “no no no no no” to the table next to us is the manager! When the food was brought to the table, we thought they would help distribute it to everyone, but they just leave it on the lazy susan for us to serve ourselves. Sometimes the manager would come by and provide some descriptions.
Soup: Seafood Tofu Soup – The soup was very light in flavor, with tiny cubes of shrimp, imitation crabmeat, and tofu.
Appetizer: Wontons in Chili Oil – The filling flavor wasn’t all that memorable, because the spicyness of the chili oil overpowered everything.
Appetizer: Cucumbers in Chili Oil – These were surprisingly refreshing. The chili oil is less overpowering, and the cucumbers have a slight sweetness to them.
Appetizer: Taiwanese Sausage – The pieces of sliced sausage are served with raw slices of garlic
Appetizer: Scallion Pancake – The pancake were well flavored, but my first piece was a bit undercooked, with a heavy flour taste. It would be better if the pancake was more evenly cooked. The dipping sauce complemented the flavor very well.
Appetizer: Fried Dumplings – The wrapping tasted homemade, something that I can appreciate since my parents do the same thing. Unfortunately, the the filling was also not very memorable.
Appetizer: Beef and Tripe in Chili Oil – I couldn’t find pieces of beef, only sliced tripe. Our dining companions coined this to be the spicyest dish of the night, maybe because they got a spoonful of crushed chili peppers. I liked the touch of cilantro and sesame sprinkles.
Appetizer: Shredded Potato in Chili Oil – Not exactly sure if that is the right name of the dish since there is no chili oil. But that is definitely shredded potato. My mouth was numbed by the next appetizer, that I couldn’t taste if this was hot or cold.
Appetizer: Spicy Noodle with Minced Pork – my enemy! I was scared when they brought out the dish, I think I almost started sweating. This was spicy, but not as spicy as the first time we ordered this noodle dish.
Entree: Tea Smoked Duck – Flavorful juicy duck with a good smoky taste. The manager said this was smoked for 8 hours.
Entree: Sweet & Sour Fish Filet – Probably my favorite dish of the night! The tender pieces of fish that’s been lightly battered, and tossed in a light sweet and sour sauce.
Entree: Mapo Tofu with Soy Beans – The tofu was super soft, all sunk in the bottom of the bowl. As the color of the dish warns, this was spicy. The crunchy fried soy beans added an interesting texture clash with the tofu.
Entree: Stir Fried String Beans – This dish also had minced pork. The string beans are wrinkly because these are par-cooked by deep-frying in oil.
Entree: Long Pepper Style Chinese Bacon – The Chinese bacon is very thinly sliced, this dish was not spicy at all.
Entree: Hot Sauce Style Beef – There were tons of crushed chili peppers all over this dish, the beef tasted soft and tender though.
Entree: Chicken with Hot Dry Pepper – This is almost like spicy popcorn chicken. The pieces of chicken are lightly breaded, with a good amount of spicyness. The manager called this “Chicken Special #1″
Entree: Eggplant in Garlic Sauce – A dish that I usually order since I’m a fan of Chinese eggplant. I wish there was chicken though.
Entree: Triple Delight Chicken – Typically called “Three Cup Chicken,” it was weird they called this Triple Delight. Nonetheless, the dish had ginger, and basil, which lightened the sweetness of the chicken.
Entree: Bok Choy with Black Mushroom – By the time this entree came out most of us were already too full. The bok choy was boiled, and didn’t provide much flavor, and the mushrooms were not juicy enough.
Dessert: Sweet Potato Egg Roll – This is something off the menu that they were trying out, the manager mentioned they had to steam the sweet potato, mash it, add flour and sugar, and then wrap it in the wrapper. Personally, this was a tad too sweet for me.
For $25 a person, you get to try 20 different items from their menu. Some of us at the table were hoping for other dishes like the Chinese Meatball and Dry Pot Chili dishes. Overall, the Tasting Party was a great experience. Be ready to interact with strangers, and enjoy some food!
The TastyMoo rating has been up’ed from 3 to 4!
TastyMoo RATING: / 5