Clutching posts from Melanie, Ruth and Bryan we dined at China Village for the first time. Our friends kindly allowed me to do the ordering. (Not that I remember giving them a choice). Their teenaged son was dubious--he's not a very adventurous eater. My teenager, Chowchild, assured him "Don't worry--Melanie likes this place. You can trust Melanie." Chowchild took one look at our menus and asked the waiter for the Chinese menus. We ordered everything Melanie recommended. The only dishes I might not order next time were cucumber w/ garlic sauce and roasted prawn special (I'm w/ Melanie--it was good but not as complex as other dishes). The following dishes got rave reviews from all with the Village (cumin) lamb being the top vote getter: eggplant w/ spicy garlic sauce (even my friend who doesn't like eggplant liked this dish--it was so rich and juicy), Five Spice Beef (fu qi fei pian), Ruth and Melanie's discovery: Village Special Seafood Soup Noodles (only entree off the non-Chinese menu, noodles were so good--chewy or as Melanie taught us--toothsome), sesame flat bread (they make it to order and can take 10-15 minutes so order it first--you'll want it to sop up the rich juices; when you're halfway through your bread order, order another), hot and spicy pork feet (as Bryan pointed out not feet but shoulder; Mr Yao also explained to us and told us it was cooked for 8 hours; almost a tie with the lamb for first place). After I placed our order I asked Mr. Yao if we had missed anything. He thought we needed something green and brought us what he called mustard greens--looked like baby bok choy to me. Was perfectly cooked. He complimented me on my ordering--I explained I had a lot of help. He suggested next time we order Buddah's Delight--pork shoulder w/ dried scallops and dried squids and Virginia Ham.
Service was very attentive. Mr. Yao came over several times and seemed genuinely pleased that we were enjoying our meal. He told us if he was not there next time we came we should ask for George (the husky waiter Melanie says usually wears white shirt and tie).
The meal was very inexpensive--$116 w/ tax w/o tip for 6 including 2 large beers and soft drinks.
I am a little concerned that at prime time on a Saturday night the restaurant wasn't more busy.
1335 Solano Avenue
(10% off take out sign was still up).