Three of us had dinner tonight at China Star to do the Chowhound community the service of (a) determining whether they are still up to their former level of output and (b) investigating the "Verdant Green" (or "Jade") conch slices.
In response to (a), there is no doubt that they are still about the best Chinese restaurant I know of in the area, so long as you know how to order. For example, the three of us had the following tonight:
- Fish in Bamboo Tower
- Salt and Pepper Squid
- Spicy Lamb in Hotpot
- Jade Conch Slices
- Sauteed Spinach with Garlic
Of these, the first and fifth were not on the menu at all, while the next three were on the Chinese-only specials menu. Interestingly, though the two non-Chinese at the table next to ours kept referring to our table while placing their order, they nonetheless ended up ordering a sort of Puu-Puu platter comprising brontosaurus-sized spare ribs, egg rolls (not spring rolls) and other fried things with a fluorescent orange dipping sauce, and a dish of what looked like string beans with ketchup. While our food was uniformly excellent, theirs looked absolutely vile, though they seemed to enjoy it.
We have noticed in the past that countless orders of the fish in bamboo tower would stream past us to the Chinese-occupied tables, even when the dish was not on the menu. We inquired about the availability of the Chen Cang beef, which someone noted earlier has disappeared from the menu. Sure enough, the waitress said that they would still make it, and we later learned that there will be a new menu coming along soon that should include the Sichuan dishes that we all know and love.
As for (b), the conch was sliced quite thin and served with verdant green garlic chives (hence the name, I presume) and sliced shiitakes. The conch was very tender, and the sauce was interestingly seasoned. Two of us liked it very much, though one felt it had little taste. I think it's worth a try.