21 Aug 2007 @ 4:26 PM 

(Never going) Back to Guangzhou. (98th and Giles)

There are times in a person’s life where you just want to “try something new” and you head to this new restaurant that you heard about. I don’t remember where it was advertised. It could have been on the radio or TV, I really don’t remember. I do remember that the food looked more like art than food. So the Critic Wife and I went with a few kids and decided to try it out.

As I have stated in a previous post, I believed myself to have a rather worldly pallet. So that being said, I want to put this disclaimer in: This is very traditional cooking for the Guangzhou province of China (At least I think so) and they have a very different sense of taste from some Texas raised, Omaha transplant who thinks he’s got a worldly pallet. This is a completely foreign culture that needs to be respected…

That being said and disclaimers made, I will now start my review:

As I walked in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the amazing decor. The tables were all hand carved, and they had this glass sculpture in the middle of the room that was breathtaking. Looking up, they had a “Best of Omaha” sign hanging from the ceiling for “The Best Mongolian Beef”. Then, the owner flicks on the lights, because at 12:30PM on a Saturday, nobody else was there and we thought that a little odd. We got a better look at the place and there were offerings and incense scattered around the room, some in various states of decay. Some of the window sills had toys and books on them, and I couldn’t tell if they belonged to a child, were for guests, or were part of some offering. But, being the “man of the world” that I am, I respected it, it didn’t stink, and there were no “flies” swarming the oranges, so I just nodded and went to my very beautiful table.

The woman who took our order was very nice and was very attentive. Our drinks were never empty, and she checked on us throughout the meal. She kept asking us how we liked the food, and we always responded well, even though… well… read the review.

My family ordered a dimsum combo, pot-stickers and spring rolls to start with. They were interesting. Very southern China… Good, fried and fast. They were nice. The presentation was artistic, and they had these seafood/crab-ball/corn fritter things that were very tasty. I was thinking that I wasn’t sure about the menu as a whole, but at least I had something that I found I liked.

So I ordered the BBQ Pork, my wife orders a noodle dish, my younger daughter orders the Mongolian beef, and my oldest orders Chicken Fried rice. It was a rather tame order, considering that this place had a more varied cuisine and they were voted “best Mongolian Beef” in Omaha, I figured it was a good bet that if one of us didn’t like our dish, the rest of us would share.

Out comes to food… Plate one, Plate Two, Plate three, and Plate four. (away walks the woman) “Daddy? This smells funny.” – “Pappa? Mine tastes strange” – “Honey, I really don’t like this.” – “Uhhh this tastes like *insert word for behind here*” The waitress walks up: “How is your food, you like?” Kids: “Not a word.” Wife: “It’s pretty good.” Me: (they always walk up when you take a bite) *thumbs up*.

None of us liked what we had. It was to say the least, not tasty at all. I would have to say that it was horrible. (Sorry!) There may be people that like this type of food, but the four of us weren’t one of them. So we all switched dishes, (except me, I know nobody would like what I had) and my wife took the Mongolian beef, the oldest got the noodle dish and the younger one got the fried rice. My wife took one bite of the Mongolian beef and almost threw up on me. The texture to her was way off, and the flavor had the aroma of rotting meat. I tried to get her to try the rice after that and she was too grossed out to even bother. I tried the fried rice and it had some goofy flavor to it that was unappetizing. The chicken had a strange texture to it as well, and my wife’s noodle dish had the same rotting meat smell and flavor that my BBQ pork had. It was not good at all. I tried the Mongolian beef that my daughter had and I have to say, it was icky. We made nice, and got all of our food put in to-go containers and hastily paid and made our exit. We got in the car and drove directly to a gas station that was next to the restaurant and promptly threw our leftovers away because the smell was making us ill.

Overall impression: If you are going to go there, I would suggest doing the dimsum and tea ceremonies only. It is a beautiful place with good service. The entrées that we ordered were not good.

Plusses: Great service, beautiful presentations of the food, the food was like artwork. The dimsum plates and appetizers were good. The place was beautiful.

Minuses: The entrées stank and were “unappetizing”. There was rotting fruit on the floor and window sill. (We understand it was an offering and want to be respectful of that, however, you shouldn’t have rotting oranges next to your potential customers). It’s way out on 98th and Giles.

(Apologies:) I am very sorry that I had to give your establishment such a bad review. We had very high hopes for it because we love to try new food. I am going to give you a better rating simply because the service was outstanding, your dim sum were good, and your decor (other than the fruit) was stunning.

Food – 2 Napkins (3 for appetizers, 1 for entrée)
Service – 4 Napkins

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2007 @ 03:35 AM



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