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Restaurants & Bars

Chowdown at Fey Restaurant [Menlo Park]

PekoePeony | May 2, 201311:10 PM     20

Fifteen hounds just spent an enjoyable dinner at the recently opened Fey Restaurant in Menlo Park. The jaunt was organized by our intrepid leader hyperbowler who had dropped by earlier in the week to discover the day's specials. As others have mentioned, Fey has some connection with Little Sichuan in San Mateo and the now-closed Classic Sichuan in Millbrae, as I recognized the lady owner upon walking in since I was a frequent diner at the other two restaurants.

Despite its petite and drab looking exterior, the restaurant is surprisingly long and elegant inside, with booths in front and round banquet tables in back. Our group took two of the tables in the way back; I'm listing the dishes at what I'll call Table #1 and hope someone from Table #2 will chime in on what they ordered.

Table #1:

#26 Five Delight Combo Cold Platter ($23.95)
#42 Smoked Tofu Pork with Sichuan Pickles ($9.50)
#48 Xinjiang Fried Cumin Lamb ($11.95)
#134 Spicy Sichuan Cold Noodles with Minced Pork ($7.95)
#150 Sichuan Dry Cooked Chicken Wings ($9.95)
#154 Steamed Powdery Tender Spareribs ($9.95)
#158 Spicy Boiled Tender Fish ($11.95)
Special: Ribs with Stir Fried Sichuan Salty Long Beans ($13.95)
Special: Pea Sprouts with Garlic ($12.95)
Special: Chongqing Dry Pot Yellow Croaker ($15.95)
Special: Sichuan Twice Cooked Tofu (forgot to charge us)
Dessert: Sesame Rice Balls ($8.95)
Dessert: Golden Red Bean Cake ($3 each)

Photos of each dish are here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEY2ikd

The noodles came out first, bland and severely lacking in any ma or la. Fortunately this gave us the opportunity to tell the waitress that we wanted the rest of our dishes to be spicy, really spicy! While the subsequent dishes improved in both the heat and numbing department, nothing was anything close to spicy except for in the yellow croaker dish.

I'll let the others chime in first with their comments on each dish. Service was slow; it took us almost an hour after sitting down before we were able to order. At slightly before 7pm on a Thursday, our group was one of the first to arrive but the restaurant quickly filled up afterwards. That said, due to the slow service, we were one of the last to leave a little after 9.30. Other than being slow, our waitress was quite helpful, suggesting we order the twice-cooked tofu dish (one of our favorites) and helping us with other ordering suggestions.

This was my first Chowdown in many years and it was great to see old faces and meet new ones. While the meal at Fey was middle-of-the-road fine with its muted spicing and more mainstream flavors, it's a great option for that stretch of the Peninsula which is severely lacking in regional Chinese cuisine.

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