After a long, drawn-out remodel, old favorite Qingdao Garden has reopened. You no longer have to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom, there's more seating in a new dining room space, and the doors are wide enough for wheelchairs now. On the downside, it's been crammed ever since the March 2 grand reopening.
Word is that the food is as good as ever. The dumplings have long been a major draw; the frozen ones sold by the bag are competitors for the dumplings at Wang's. Bad news: The frozen dumplings aren't for sale yet. Good news: They're still available fresh at the restaurant or for takeout. Try the pork and leek and the pork and cabbage.
Other board favorites from the menu: boiled fish fillet in fiery sauce, cumin lamb, pork with cilantro. The vegetable platter, an occasional special, is a stunner. "What floors me, however, is that each vegetable seems to be cooked to a pleasant doneness for itself," says enhF94. "Either they're savant-like at deciding how big to cut each different vegetable so they simultaneously finish cooking, or (more likely) each vegetable is blanched separately to its own taste. Who takes that kind of time?!"
Area Man also notes that the "brown rice" available as a substitute for white is exceptionally good: "This was a combo of brown rice and a red rice. Rather than sticky and moist (white rice), it's toothsome and sturdy (I don't want to say 'dry') and a superior textural counterpoint to the meat and vegetable dishes we order. Bye bye white rice." An order of shredded pork with pickled vegetables won raves: "Please, for the love of Chowhound, TRY THIS DISH on your next visit. Not for the meek, this is an aggressive dish without being spicy. It earned more talk-with-your-mouth-full praise than anything else on the table," Area Man said. "The pickled cabbage was sour and pungent, while the pork was sweet and salty."
Qingdao Garden [Cambridge]
2382 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
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