Last week I stopped by Darya for dinner to sample a couple of xinjiang standards: cumin lamb and three-flavor knife-shaved noodles. At 7:30pm on Tuesday, there was only one other party here. The lamb dish is not on the printed menu but is listed on the specials board. My waitress said its one of the most popular dishes here.
My comments on both dishes are the same. They both had good seasoning but suffered from lack of wok breath and had an annoying excessive wetness. It seemed more like they'd been made in a microwave than a hot wok. I could hear the sizzle of ingredients hitting a wok when my order went into the kitchen but couldn't taste its influence. As you can see in the photo below, the lamb was pale without any singed and browned spots.
I liked the use of whole cumin seeds on the lamb which give a different flavor than cumin powder alone. Though ordered "spicy", it had just a little bit of chili heat. The halal lamb was good quality, but hadn't been cooked properly to bring out all its flavor.
The thick, handcut noodles were too wet, soft and doughy. The blend of ingredients was good: strips of chicken, beef, onion, scrambled egg, napa cabbage, onion, and shrimp. The eggs were particularly tasty, blended with the savory cooking oils. My brother enjoyed the leftovers the next day reheated in the toaster oven to dry them out. Yet we both agreed that the late Fatima in San Mateo did a better job with this.
Price for these two dishes with tax and tip came to $20, which felt too high to me for food that was just okay. Checking with my server, Darya is no longer associated with Darda in Milpitas. It's located in the same shopping center as Ranch 99 market on Fremont Blvd.