I generally avoid the Chinese food down here in the Naples area, as it is usually what I call “suburban Chinese”, meaning lots of sweet and sour and safe, Americanized dishes. O’mei, tucked into the corner of a shopping mall in North Naples, is the closest approximation to a Chicago or San Francisco Chinatown restaurant that I’ve found here.
I was pleasantly shocked to see 2 kinds of soup dumplings, a Shanghai delicacy on the menu. They offer a crab and a pork version and both are filled with luscious, liquid goodness. Be sure to ask for a spoon and a couple small bowls. We also enjoyed salted pepper calamari. Crispy lobster rolls were a bit sweet for our tastes and I thought the wrapper could’ve been a bit crispier. I enjoyed their hot and sour soup.
The star of the night was the Peking Duck, which is as good a version as I’ve had anywhere. It needs 40 minutes cooking time and they present the whole duck at the table in all of its bronzed, lacquered glory. They return a few minutes later with a plate fanned out with thinly sliced pieces of the duck, each topped with crispy skin. This is accompanied by a steamer of pancakes and a dish with scallions and hoisin. This is a portion feeding 4 people. An order of crispy duck is a satisfying alternative.
They are adept at cooking seafood and every dish we tried was perfectly moist, including wonderful shrimp with lobster sauce, drunken grouper, and O’mei pan fried noodles, which are very crunchy. The seafood has that fresh, gulf taste. Fried rice is a bit bland and needs to be kicked up a few notches. Vegetables are perfectly crunchy and I recommend bok choy with garlic or asparagus with oyster sauce.
The variety of dishes here will cater to everyone’s taste. Good ethnic restaurants are few and far between in Southwest Florida and I hope people give O’mei a try. Few meals are as satisfying and comforting as good Chinese.