Went for the yang rou chuan/r (sheep meat chain). Also got the fish w. black bean sauce, greens w garlic, and battered oysters.
Went in at about 9 on a weekday and asked to see the menu. Good Chinese-only crowd. For some reason the taitai and xiaojie workin' the joint wouldn't let us stand and peruse, but rather sit at a table nervously and gloss. WTF?
Got a little nervous after not seeing coal pits at the tables: the metal ones with those little notches to pull your meat off its skewer.
After deciding to fold/stay, we ordered... or, rather... THEY ordered. See... they kept pushing their "special of the day" on us: deep fried battered oysters. We finally relented, but wondered if we'd just been hoodwinked.
Skewers came first, 6 of them. They were cold, undercooked, very large, and pre-spiced. I'm used to each person getting their own little plate with those four pretty spices. The ones that are arranged like the four corners state divide (UT/CO/AZ/NM).
I'm not expecting the stuff to taste like it does NW China. I've had it in Chinatowns all over: Hawaii, HK, and even S. Korea, of all places. Everywhere, they always follow the cook-at-table formula.
Needless to say, the stuff was nasty... gamy in all the wrong ways.. I actually should have asked them to go back and char them a little... that might have done the trick. But by that point, the other food was on its way.
Greens were rockin'... but, I mean... c'mon... they're f'n watercress and spinach. The fish? Hell no. Salt and weijing up the @$$. Chest pains galore.
And finally... dun dun dun... the oysters... McCrap. Soggy, bland, bad... but there were pounds of them. My theory is they had too many left over from the oyster pancakes... and offloaded them on us poor suckers... the fools with the broken Chinese.