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China Village notes

Ruth Lafler | Jun 12, 200302:04 PM

Melanie called me last night, said she was on her way to China Village for dinner and did I want to join her.

Talk about a no-brainer!

There were four of us and we ordered six dishes. A couple we've had before: Cucumber with Garlic Sauce and Village Special Lamb -- both dishes I could eat forever. The cumin-spiced lamb is seasoned unlike any Chinese dish I've ever had, and the aroma of slightly charred lamb and spices that arose from the dish as it was set down was mouthwatering. We also ordered the eggplant with spicy garlic sauce other posters had recommended -- Melanie's sister and I seemed particularly fond of this dish but I managed to snag the leftovers.

We had a couple of off-menu items: a turnover the chef and owner have been using Melanie as a guinea pig for: a little like pan-fried sesame-encrusted mini-pita rounds with a spicy pork filling. These oozed red chile oil: hot but good. Another unique dish was a special of roasted whole prawns that surprisingly came in a syrupy (unthickened) sweet sauce with hints of ginger. The prawns' crunchy shell moistened with the sweet sauce was declared to be the highlight of this dish.

But the most important discovery was an excellent soup lurking on the "American" menu: Village Special Seafood Soup Noodles. It was ordered medium hot, but it was fairly mild to my taste. Still, it was exceptionally flavorful with a deep broth flavored by napa cabbage and chunks of ginger and with clams, prawns, scallops and flower-cut squid jumbled over chewy hand-cut noodles. Delicious!

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