After a week of grading finals and writing tedious report cards, I needed some Chinese pick-me-up that I didn't have to pick-up. I'd seen delivered dish mentioned in WW and thought it was worth a shot. Called at 4:30, had my food here by 5:20. $5 service charge, plus tip for good measure (real nice delivery guy!)
We had a hankering for Chinese and decided to try Ambassador based upon it's Szechuan-centric menu. I'm a fan of the spicier flavors of this region, but have yet to find anything close to the quality of the NY-style Szechuan of my college days. Growing up here in PDX my family used to frequent a space on the third floor of the galleria - Chang's Yangtze - which specialized in Szechuan cooking. I loved it, though I couldn't have been more than 18 when it closed, and my tastes have since become more "refined."
We ordered crab puffs (not my thing - the man loves them), wonton soup, szechuan prawns, family-style beancurd (often called "home-style") and chicken and broccoli (again, a favorite of my sig other.) Total before tip/service charge was $36.
The value was high - HUGE portions for average prices ($8-$11 per entree.) The soup was more than enough for two of us and ran around $5. The crab puffs came 6 to an order and were about $5 as well.
The first good sign: Crunchy broccoli. Not that limp, overcooked, frozen then thawed crap. Lots of it. Lots of fresh veggies in all of the dishes, save for those silly pre-cut unnaturally-shaped carrots.
The second good sign: black mushrooms, fresh shrimp and slivered bamboo shoots in the wonton soup. Not your typical broth and mushy wonton concoction.
The third good sign: heat. I rarely order tofu but adore it in this particular dish, when done right. Ambassador did it right. They balanced the subtle sweetness with just the right amount of spice.
Sign four: The tomato-cum-pepper sauce on the Szechuan prawns. The only other place I've found in PDX that does this divine sauce justice is Chin Yen, but there other dishes often disappoint (and they charge for rice! Ugh!)
Both of us have nearly insatiable appetites, but we couldn't get through half of this stuff. Two nights for the price of one. No complaints!
All and all I'd say it's my best (recent) Chinese experience in PDX. Keep in mind that I didn't sample a range of dishes nor do I claim to be wildly knowledgeable about "traditional" Chinese cooking. I do know that the abundance of veggies is a good sign (though the protein was equally plentiful.) I find myself gravitating towards Thai and Korean (I'm one with Bewon) but may have found a new addiction.
Anyone else tried the Ambassador? Methinks it's on 47th and Sandy or so. I look forward to other opinions.
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