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First trip to China Star -- Mixed Reviews (long)

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First trip to China Star -- Mixed Reviews (long)

Greg | Jun 7, 2004 09:05 AM

Well, after scanning this board's reviews of China Star, my wife and I decided to give it a try Saturday night. It was . . . interesting.

First of all, it was clearly very popular with the local Chinese community; there were probably only three tables (us included) in the entire place that were non-Chinese.

Now for the review. You don't go to China Star for the service; it took multiple efforts to wave down waiters to get our order taken, my wife's entree (more on that later), or our check. Add in the language barrier that we had with the staff, and the unmanaged lines snaking outside the door on a Saturday evening, and it could get frustrating if you aren't looking for a dining adventure or aren't resolved to maintain a good humor. (Several groups left after a long wait with no seeming progress.)

We started with two dim sum (the scallion pancakes and the stuffed bean curd skins), per the comments of past posters to this board. The bean curd skins came first; they were just okay, not all that flavorful, and quite oily. The scallion pancakes made an impressive presentation, but they, too arrived with a puddle of fryer oil in the bottom of the plate, suggesting that they had not even been given enough time out of the fryer to drain a bit. There was little scallion in the dough, but it was still a tasty appetizer, which I likened to an "elephant ear" or funnel cake from the state fair. (Proving again that you can't go wrong with any sort of fried dough.)

Being a fan of hot, spicy food, I ordered the capsicum chicken, also on the advice of another poster. I was impressed, like the other poster, with the ability of this dish to transmit significant heat without losing flavor. I couldn't finish it all -- in part because of the quantity; in part because of the heat -- and brought a significant portion home. It, too, came with significant pools of oil.

My wife, who is less interested in spicy food than am I, ordered the beef with broccoli (from what she called "the children's menu"). Believe it or not, this was the star of the show. Copious amounts of both, and the brown sauce that coated the beef was rich with beef flavor, and would have proudly stood beside an excellent steak or roast. The only problem with this dish was that it arrived late -- the waiter had apparently forgotten it and we effectively had to re-order it from the host, whose command of English seemed to be the best of anyone there.

Here, though, is the real signature feature of China Star: All of this very interesting food, a pot of tea, and a beer (wine is no longer available for some mysterious reason), cost roughly $25.00.

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