Variable, but mostly good.
Posted on 02 / 20 / 2009
I've known this place in its previous incarnation for about 10 years now, and considered it one of the old reliables. Reading some of the more recent reviews left me with some concern - had things really gone that far downhill? So, I got off the plane, checked into my hotel and wandered into Chinatown with the omni partner to see for myself - even if it were terrible, it would be better than the airline food.
So, what has changed in the year since my last visit? The stairway has been cleaned up and re-tiled for a start. It's still not a welcoming entrance, but there are handwritten signs on the stairs reassuring you you are heading in the right direction. The loos, too, have had a thorough make-over and are completely tiled and impeccably clean. The place has not been taken over, though, and I was greeted by the same woman who has greeted me over the years.
We were starving, and probably over-ordered. On this first visit, a Monday evening, we shared a portion of fried dumplings - basically fake chicken gyoza; I had the Tom Yum Goong soup, which was mild for a Tom Yum of any kind, and my partner had the Chinese-style hot and sour. This was the right call - it was perfectly and outrageously hot. We went for extravagant mains. I chose the Thai Roast Duck with Red Curry; C had the Green Curry chicken and it was my turn to make the right call. The "duck" was luscious, with a choice of vegetables that perfectly complemented the rich, spicy sauce. The green curry was good, but not as impressive. We left full, and happy that the reviews did not reflect our experience.
The second visit was the following Saturday, Valentine's Day. We had the Chicken Fingers for our appetizer, and both went for the Chinese hot and sour soup. The Fingers were basically tofu in a deep-fried dumpling, and not that exciting. A little over filling for an appetizer. We ordered "lighter" entrees - noodle dishes, and found them enormous, and rather too greasy.
Visit three was the traditional lunch prior to departure, taking advantage of the cheap set menu. This was back to Monday's high standard, though C noted that the "Lemon Chicken" was not what had been expected, but it was still good.
Overall, the place hasn't changed. There was some variation in the standard of the food (two cooks?), and items such as the chicken fingers had been reheated from frozen, but for the price, there's little room for complaint.
cheap, central, big portions
grease, variable, inaccessible entrance