i'm always up for some chinese, so i was an easy get for friends this week. first, a friend suggested fate... i've heard hit and miss, but i was interetsed to try it so off we went.
its interesting, because as you turn the corner on 4th st, you see the sign for fate in front of a large, open contemporary patio that feels trendy. keep walking... fate is the tiny white garage just past it. it was smaller than my living room, with just enough space for 8 tables, and it was tight. the garage door was open, and we pondered what happened in the heat of summer...
service was.... fleeting is the word i'd choose. two girls tended to the inside and the outside (another 4 tables)... but it was ok. their hair and outfits were really colorful and distracting. we both ordered a glass of wine (a nice white) that we both noted was freezing cold, the way we like our white wine.
We decided to split the fried tofu starter... my dining companion swears she loves all tofu, and though i enjoy them, i'm not as easy a sell. the tofu was delicious and insanely hot... we both had to wait a bit for it to cool down. deep friend in panko I'd say, it was perfectly silken inside.
We were both enamoured with the dishes flying past us, so my companion ordered the Mi Xao and I ordered the pad thai, which was more of a vermicelli than a flat rice noodle. They arrived just as we finished the tofu.
Both were good. Both were really spicy, but we'd been warned. We both ate most of our bowls... generous portions at that.
We stuck with the one glass of wine.. mostly because we were never asked if we'd like a second. Water was a bit tough to come by, but we tripped a waitress going by and she returned with water.
We'd been there for about an hour and a half, talking... we'd been waiting for the bill,with the table cleared. First, my companion went to the bathroom, and then I did, and we laughed that the bill STILL hadn't come. About 20 minutes later, it got there, and we basely looked, just shoved credit cards at her since we were scared to lose her again.
The bill was, for my taste, expensive. 70 before tip for 2 glasses of wine, two entrees and a split appetizer. The food was good... but by no means remarkable. The service was not bad so much as absent (for a not crazy busy wednesday night). I can't imagine we'll be back, but am glad to have gone.
I've been JONESING for some dim sum, and after a vigorous morning of wii, it was time to do something about all those virtual calories we'd worked off. it was 12:30pm, Sunday, so off we went to try out the great wall.. we hadn't been in since the reopening. it was, as expected, packed to the gills, but we were told 15 minutes and literally 14 minutes later, we were seated.
Almost immediately, carts descended.It was in the afternoon, and Sunday, so I do not begrudge them that the carts were a bit repetitive for about 45 minutes. We saw the same har gow and siu mai and lots and lots of chicken feet... but no ribs, no lotus rice, no pork, no spring rolls, etc. but, we did ask for select items and very attentive, polite, and abundant waitstaff managed to locate the springrolls and spareribs for me when none were on the floor.
honestly, its a bit rare for the staff to be THAT thorough at a dim sum joint, so it was nice. after about 45 minutes, the kitchen started to push out a lot more items and bbq pork, cripsy skin pork and duck made an appearance, as well as the sticky rice, noodle rolls, and everything else we're used to.
The selection was still not huge... but we didn't stay around longer. With the exception of the pork, everything was piping hot and well plated. The spareribs and rice did not disappoint and usually that's where dim sum places falter.
We left, MANY dishes later (and a few to go home) for the sum total of 31$ plus tip. A bargain. I'm pleased to report that Great Wall is BACK and better than ever! If you go, don't be afraid to ask for items not appearing on the floor, and probably hit it a bit earlier than we did... just be prepared for the wait!
---one postscript to this.... i have a slight intolerance for MSG. I eat a lot of chinese food, generally without problem as so many places have really ceased using it, and even in small doses, its not a problem. i don't even ask about it anymore, i just get really really shaky if i've had too much. about 2 hours after we returned home, i knew i'd gotten a massive dose of it at Great Wall. again... not a big deal for most people.... just FYI.