Sister Janet called and said she and Jerry were coming into town Sunday to go to the Niner Game (masochists that they are) and wanted to meet us somewhere close to 80 East for dinner before heading back over the hill...
Janet has never been to China Village, so that seemed a logical choice, especially since hubby has been bugging me to go back ever since a wonderful banquet with some other 'hounds there back in late August. Since a larger group seemed like a good idea, I called up my kids, suggested they each bring their current dates, and we all agreed to meet there this evening...
I made the reservation for eight, but purposely didn't order or make arrangements in advance. For one thing, I wanted to compare our banquet experience with that which one would have walking off of the street, but apart from that, there was some uncertainty as to whether both kids 'dates' would be able to make it...
so of course, it was the Reno contingent that didnt show. Janet called this morning to say, given that there was too much snow to get the car out of the garage, that coming over the summit just to see the Niners lose seemed foolhardy, even if dinner at China Village was part of the mix.
No problem, just reduced our reservation, and off we went. And sorry, Janet, you missed a great time and great chow.
All items were ordered off of the Sichuan menu or the specials menu, both of which were offered us along with the 'American-style Chinese' menu, as soon as we sat down. In some instances, I may not have names exactly right, but this is what we ordered and my reactions:
boiled dumplings with spicy sauce - very good
cold chicken appetizer - outstanding, tied for best of meal with the rice pudding!
(Two of the party came a bit late and missed the appetizers. The rest of us were very happy to be able to have that chicken to ourselves).
fish filet soup: this was similar to the 'red bowl of death' but with a simpler broth and rice noodles - outstanding
pea shoots with garlic - excellent
spicy crab (a nightly special) - very good
Hot and Spicy Pork shoulder - outstanding
Village Special Lamb - excellent
peking duck, 1/2 order - very good
For dessert we had rice 'pudding': a steamed dish of sticky rice with red beans in the middle and a sauce with fresh pinnapple on top, which was suggested by our server, along with some complimentary watermelon. The rice pudding was really wonderful!
Amount of food was about right for all to feel very satisfied but not ridiculously full, with just a bit of leftovers, and cost with tax and tip and two bottles of wine was $190. Not cheap, but a great value.
Speaking of wine: the list is VERY limited, which I hadn't realized. Next time, we will bring our own and pay the corkage.
and hubby says he will cross the bridge to go to China Village anytime...
1335 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94706