I've been debating whether I should post this or not, as I don't like tattling on people I don't know, but since Seven Stars Pepper is so ubiquitous on these boards I figured it'd be good to relay this experience.
While we were eating our Ginger Crab dish last night, my girlfriend said it was really annoying that they were cleaning the kitchen while we were eating. I didn't smell the ammonia and kept gnawing on the crab leg. She was persistent, though, and we finally figured out that the ammonia smell was actually coming from INSIDE the crab - the meat specifically. This concerned us, as ammonia can probably kill you, so we debated getting our stomachs pumped. We went back and forth on what it could be - were they trying to clean the crabs with ammonia before cooking them? Did they clean the tank with ammonia? Instead of going to the hospital, we drove home and found this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/346785 So it looks like either the crab was rotten or it had been kept in its tank while other crabs pooped on it for a long time. I guess that's better than the alternative theory that someone was trying to poison us, but either way it doesn't make for a nice dining experience.
We asked the server about it and she took one sniff of the crab leg and whisked the whole plate away. She came back and said there was nothing wrong with the crab, maybe we just didn't know what it was supposed to smell like. Right.
Overall - and I'm trying to be objective - even the non-poisonous food didn't blow me away. The best dish was the amuse-bouche, a kim chi-like plate that was smothered in hot peppers. We had the shaved noodle house special chow mein, which has an entertaining texture but I added chili oil to get some heat. We had the pork & pickled cabbage soup, which was really bland. And the Ginger Crab was pretty good, but I'd take a Thai ginger dish over this any day. And about that crab: when we asked the market price, we couldn't understand what she answered, so we clarified: "THIRTY ninety-nine or THIRTEEN ninety-nine?" The server answered $13.99. When the crab came I said to myself, "no way that's $13.99." When the bill came it was $34.99! MAYBE we misunderstood the 30/13 thing (and being travelers we've learned to be ok with miscommunications), but I'm sure she didn't say 'thirty-FOUR ninety-nine.' To the server's credit, as soon as I made funny eyes at her she grabbed the check and took the crab off altogether, but that doesn't explain the price discrepancy.
How disappointing. I was really looking forward to liking this place. We're not going back and I think I'm going to go vegetarian for a while. It's almost summer and I need to lose some weight anyway.