William and I tried Café Yulong recently for the first time. It has a very pleasant, contemporary feeling. We tried a couple things that Dee Glaze recommended and also tried to break new ground to sample a couple other dishes. Sad to say, we didnt do so well on our own.
The most disappointing, and also on the pricey side, was the gan shao lamb, $10.95. Supposedly sautéed, this grayish-looking wet meat had no flavor of a hot wok or the spiciness promised by the symbol of a chili pepper on the menu. It reeked of black pepper and an out of place sweetness, and not much else aroma or flavor.
The spicy chao ma noodle soup, $6.75, was also a failure. Decent housemade noodles, but the dilute broth was washed out with but a single chili heat note and the seafood was dried out and overcooked.
The stir-fried spinach and mung bean thread, $6.50, was almost acceptable, and the leftovers went home with my brother to be salvaged with some condiments. Even though the spinach looked beautiful and was as fresh as can be, it was underseasoned and standing in watery liquid. The menu describes this as sautéed with garlic wine sauce, and we could see the garlic pieces, but not taste it. The bean threads were perfect in texture, but flavorless since there was no tasty sauce to absorb.
But we could almost forgive those lapses because we LOVED the fish and leek dumplings (12/$5.95) so much. Hard to believe that these delicate morsels came from the same kitchen as the other dishes. Finely textured chopped white fish blended with ginger and chives was exactly on point in flavor. These shui jiao were not doughy or overly thick and the tender wrappers almost melted in the mouth. Were already plotting our return to try the shrimp ones and the pork version.
743 W. Dana St.
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