My husband and I just tried the new Chinese place on West Portal called Xiao Loong. Has anyone else been there?
It's such a huge improvement over the Chinese place that used to be there. New owners look like young American-born Chinese. They completely renovated the place--raised the ceiling, put in about a dozen tables, modern Asian decor, wine list, etc.
We went with a group of six. We had: dry fried chicken, dry fried squid, chow mein, combination fried rice, a sauteed lamb dish, string beans, curry chicken clay pot, mapo tofu, xiao loong beef. Everything was pretty decent. We really liked the dry fried chicken and squid dishes, and the fried rice. The dry fried dishes were still crispy, covered with bits of carrot, garlic, green onion, peas?, and a sweetish-soy glaze. Perfect with hot, steamed rice. The fried rice was extremely flavorful, with a perfect balance of seafood, rice, vegetables, egg. Delicious. A meal in itself.
I don't eat meat, but the others seems to really enjoy the lamb and beef, as well. They said the beef tasted similar to Korean boolgogi. The only dish I didn't like was the curry chicken. It smelled great--very aromatic--but it didn't taste much like curry at all. Disappointing.
We spent about $30-$35 per couple, including a bottle of wine and a couple of beers, tax and tip. The dishes run between $7 to $12. Service is very casual and friendly (one hostess, two servers?). Best of all, the restaurant is very clean.
It may not be the best Chinese place, or the most authentic, but it's a welcome addition to the West Portal mix, and an amazing improvement over what used to be there.