Friday, February 4, 2011
Restaurant review: Ming Place China Bistro in Dallas
Sprouting up like a lotus blossom in the muddy darkness.
DALLAS Dallas kind of sucks … when it comes to Chinese food. Hey, what can we say – the truth hurts! If you want some classy Chinese food, you got your Royal China, which has been around since before the Great Wall was built … along Northwest Highway between Hillcrest and Preston Road (it’s pretty tacky). You’ve also got your Howard Wang’s, whose setting never fails to outclass the food. And, of course, there’s Lover's Egg Roll, which never really appealed to us after the hair incident.
But, sprouting up like a lotus blossom in the muddy darkness, sandwiched between a T-Mobile store and a Starbucks, comes Ming Place China Bistro at the southwest corner of Lemmon and Inwood in Dallas. Fittingly situated across the street from a Volvo dealership (Volvo having just been bought by a Chinese investment firm), we were hoping that Ming Place could fill a role sorely needed in a neighborhood full of Tex-Mex clones and Salva-Tex-Mex clones.
Even though it occupies a narrow storefront space, Ming Place is decorated well enough that the modern-meets-old Chinese decor makes the space feel open. Behind the dozen or so tables, a semi-open kitchen showcases the wok chefs working their magic. Servers are friendly and gracious, which makes up for the little bit of a language barrier. Too bad the food didn’t deliver as much as we’d hoped.
We forgive Ming for the forgettable fried dumplings ($5.95), which were under-fried and a bit tasteless. Luckily, sprouting up like a lotus bloss- oh, right … Well, what can we say? Only one of our entrees delivered, but it was stellar. The orange peel chicken ($8.50 lunch; $11.95) was blessed with a hint of spiciness to go with the evenly flavored orangey-ness. The chicken was the good stuff, and there was plenty to save for dinner later.
But the lowlight of the entrée menu came under the heading of “Ming Place Healthy Dishes.” The featured eggplant in the Eggplant with Garlic Sauce ($8.25 lunch; $9.95 dinner) was overcooked and mushy, which was very disappointing considering that the garlic sauce was deliciously near the line of being too garlicky. It also seemed pretty clear that when Ming Place says “healthy,” it really means greasy, since the eggplant was swimming in plenty o’ that. Still, portions are huge, and if you eat it all, there’s no way you’ll be hungry again in two hours.
So, on our Pink Floyd “The Wall” five-gavel scale played backwards, where five gavels is the Great Wall of China, and one gavel is the Great Wall of North Dallas, we give Ming Place two-and-a-half gavels, or the Wailing Wall in happier times.
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