China Palace in Madison, WI - aw hell yeah
Just stopped by China Palace, in Northgate Plaza near the airport, after hearing many great reports. On very limited information (one soup, two entrees) I think the hype is justified. Tried:
fish soup with preserved vegetable (simple, delicious, loaded with savory pickled greens, the small portion easily serves two)
dried beef with Chinese celery and bamboo shoots (fairly straightforward but very good)
"dynamite scallops" (the star of the show -- beautiful, giant, meaty scallops in a tangy sauce with fresh wood ears, snow peas, and red pepper -- not on the menu, recommended by waiter.)
In general it seemed the waiter was quite happy to recommend good Szechuan dishes. If I went again with a group of people -- and I will -- I'd just let them pick everything out.
I'd have to say, yeah, a bit inconsistent. I wonder if the chef with all the credentials is not there every night. The waitress we had last time was very unhelpful with suggestions. Do you remember the waiter's name? I think it was John or something, maybe I'll ask about him next time I go. He promised to pick out all the dished for us the next time, but maybe he doesn't work there anymore.
I never asked if they had dim sum, is that only a Cantonese thing?
Yeah, on a later visit I had the pork stomach, which was great, though might have been better shared -- it was a bit much of a muchness to eat on one's own.
Have you found CP to be strangely inconsistent, though? I've never had a bad meal there, but sometimes it's great (as on my first trip) and other times just fine. I've never again seen the waiter for the first trip and have never again been able to get the "dynamite scallops" despite asking a couple of times. Very strange.
China Palace is the most interesting restaurant I've found since moving to Madison six months ago. I think I had the same waiter, he was really excited that we eat organ meats. He wasn't there the last time I went, sadly.
We liked the beef with maw appetizer and the thick rice noodles. We went two weeks ago and there was a beef tendon special. I had never had tendon before and it was fantastic.