Last week tried Peach Farm with a friend. Good but not fantastic. Certainly worth another try, particularly with adventurous mouths to feed and more of them.
We showed up last Tuesday around 7:40 and it was packed with an hour wait predicted. Rather than keeping company with the fish in their tank and suffering the blasts of Arctic air every time some one entered, the two of us walked around in the neighborhood, looking for a place to get a drink and a nibble. This was an evening when a neighbourhood pub would have been perfect, but they don't exist in Chinatown.
To stave off incipient hunger pains we stopped at a lousy place -- Shanghai -- that makes chicken in lettuce -- is it called Soong Chicken? -- but without the pine nuts. Tasty, but lacked the requisite crunchiness. I was thinking of trying some dumplings at Taiwan Cafe, but they were closed to remodel in preparation for Chinese New Year.
By this time our table at Peach Farm had opened up.
6 steamed oysters with black bean sauce, but got 8.
one scallop with garlic and two with black bean sauce, by mistake but it worked out.
snow pea shoots
one eel, prepared in what was supposed to be heavy soy sauce, but was in fact sesame seed and light dusting of flour, quickly and lightly wok fried.
I liked everything but as I feared it was too much. Took most of the eel home. Now frozen, it is waiting for another meal.
Normally I have no trouble polishing off half a dozen oysters, but steaming them with black bean sauce makes them much more filling. They explained that they were smaller than usual and so offered us an extra two to make up for the inadequate size. As far as I could tell, the oysters were standard size -- eight was too many for us and we wound up leaving one behind.
I like scallops and was happy that I could taste both versions. I was surprised and relieved to see that the scallops in shell are prepared without their coral, something to which I am allergic so I didn't have to cut away this this delicacy. Having sated myself on black bean sauce in the oyster dish, I was not surprised to conclude that I preferrred the garlic sauce with cellophane noodles. Not quite certain what the noodles do on this dish.
I was disappointed by the snow pea shoots. At Wang's in Somerville where I regularly ordered this dish, the shoots are really shoots, like the stems of summer grass, but here they were leafy and substantial, more like Chinese broccoli.
The eel was tasty, though I could not figure out where the heavy soy sauce went. The smallest eel they had weighed over 2 and 1/2 pounds while still slithering in the tank. It was more than we could manage at this point in the evening, but we took a stab at it.
If anyone wants to organize a large party for a Tuesday or Wednesday dinner, I would be happy to join.
By the way XO sauce was not on the menu and our waiter did not seem to know what it is.