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Restaurants & Bars

Beefy Lunch Specials @ Ming's Diner, SF

Melanie Wong | Nov 19, 200604:55 AM     8

On Monday we had just enough time between doctors' appointments for me to haul my parents over to Ming's Diner on Taraval for lunch. At 11:30am we had our pick of tables, but the room soon filled up with other eaters in the know who were also tuned into the incredibly cheap lunch specials here. Once again, no rice stuffed chicken available for us, too early this time.

Mom and Dad each picked a lunch special, priced at $3.25 or so, and I had the tomato beef chow mein (and asked for curry to be added). Though rather unusual for us to all choose beef, it was an opportunity to compare and contrast. Soon a small tureen of the house soup, pork bones with black mushroom, came out, a big enough portion for each of us to have two rice bowls full. The complimentary soup included with the lunch specials could have been more intense, but we still enjoyed the warm brew immensely.

The best of the three dishes was Mom's beef with tender greens, shown in the center of the photo. Nice sear on the beef, redolent with garlic and wok breath, tender and juicy choi sum, and a deliciously complex pan gravy, this one disappeared first. Dad's curry beef (on the right) was the most tenderized, but the portion of meat was much less than than Mom's dish and buried under way too much onion. The saucing was straight ahead Madras curry powder with a bit of sugar and comforting over the steamed rice. Rice was served separately, a full caddy that would run $3+ at dinner time, included in the lunch specials pricing.

I wouldn't order tomato beef chow mein here again. The pasty beef was a thicker cut, too chewy, and not properly charred. Also the noodles had hardly been browned. This did make a good leftover though, as we poured the gravies from the other two dishes into the carton along with the rest of the onions and bell peppers, and refrying it in a skillet added a lot of pizzaz.

The tab for lunch was $11.80 including tax, before tip, for the three of us. Our bag of leftovers was heavy, including nearly all the chow mein and a full carton of rice. My mother asked me why we didn't eat here more often, and I have to say it beats me too.

Lunch time images -
http://static.flickr.com/103/30055215...

My Ming's Diner experiences -
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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