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Cilantro, new Chinese near Harvard Square

lipoff | Dec 7, 201401:59 AM

Cilantro just opened up below Dolphin Seafood, in a location that has seen a revolving door of (mediocre) restaurants (New Asia, Tajine, Cancun, Lamole) over the last decade. Hopefully this will buck the trend.

The decor is improved, and Cilantro sports a menu with both standard Americanized Chinese fare and some authentic dishes, with a slight nod towards Sichuan cuisine.

Had a quick meal with a friend the other night. We had shiu3 zhu3 yu2 pian4 (Fish Filet w. Spicy Chili Sauce), zheng1 su4 jiao3 (Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings) and qing1 chao3 dou4 miao2 (Sauteed Pea Shoots). The fish was delightfully aromatic, and very tasty, with both lots of fish and cabbage. It could have used both more ma2 (numbing) and la4 (spice), but it was a very good rendition. The vegetables were cooked expertly. The dumplings had a tasty filling and may have been homemade, but were almost certainly frozen before cooking (the edges weren't quite cooked enough to be pliant).

The menu has other Sichuan dishes like spicy chicken and frog, Dan Dan Noodles, fu2 qi1 fei4 pian4 (Sliced Roast Beef Tendon w. Chili Sauce), hong2 you3 chao3 shou3 (Sichuan Spicy Dumpling w. Chili Oil) and more. There is also one famous Hunan dish, Mao's Braised Pork, a couple Shanghainese dishes and some Cantonese dishes, including a variety of seafood dishes and a section of guo1 shao1 (Pan Grill) dishes.

I'm not the biggest fan of the nearby Dumpling House, and am very happy to have another Chinese restaurant serving authentic food nearby. I wouldn't take a long trip to try Cilantro --- not in the way that I would to visit Red Pepper, Fuloon or Gene's --- but this is definitely worth checking out if you're nearby and maybe there are more gems hidden on its extensive menu.

It's open for lunch and dinner, until 10 PM on weekdays, and until 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. No delivery, at the moment anyway.

Dolphin Seafood,
Dumpling House,
Gourmet Dumpling House,
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe
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