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Shiang Garden report

Chowpatty | Feb 9, 200406:09 PM

So, we had 13 people at Shiang Garden Sunday night -- which was enough to sample quite a few Hunan specialties. To simplify the ordering process, we decided to get the set banquet known as "$168 for 10 people." But we also ordered some extras like minced squab soup, a chicken and peppers dish since there was no chicken on the set menu, cold julienned tofu in chili sauce, fantastic tiny anchovies with sliced jalapenos, preserved duck with pressed tofu and crispy frog legs with salt and pepper. All were excellent, except the frog legs which grossed me out, even though I try to be a Chowhound. The banquet dishes were mostly great with a few bland ones. The Charming Garden combination platter had jellyfish, dried fish, some other preserved meats like chicken and beef, and some rice noodle kind of things with sweet walnuts in the center. The dried fish was especially good. The steamed ham in honey sauce comes wrapped in white bread which everyone found hilarious. Like the best ham sandwich you've ever had, and even better the next day. Two kinds shrimp, black mushroom and spinach in brown sauce and sweet and sour fish were all forgettable, yet all loved by the non-Chownhounds at the table. The herb noodles were fantastic, one of the big hits of the evening, thanks much to Bob Wollman. Baked beef stew and tendon in brown sauce was flavorful but a little too rich and fatty. Special rice and spare rib had a great anise flavor but also kind of fatty. Minced green and bamboo marrow soup was kind of a palate cleanser -- very delicate flavor, but cool color and texture. All in all, a great experience. It came out to $22 a person -- we only had one large beer and one sake but this seems reasonable for the immense quantity of dishes we were able to try. Service was very attentive.

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