Ming's Cafe on the Drag
Earlier today, I read a post from Torckus (sp?) that mentioned the delicious eggrolls at Ming's Chinese Cafe. Since I have already had Mam's, Thai Kitchen, and Clay Pit in the last 7 days, I decided I would finally hit this place up, since it, too, is walking distance from work and I don't bring my car to the office. (Oh if only I could have gone to Kim Phung...that sounded so good...) Let me give the disclaimer that I know very little about Chinese food. I like it, but on any given day I would rather have Japanese, Thai, Korean, even Taiwanese you get the idea. I do, however, have a place in my heart reserved for delicious eggrolls that are handrolled and stuffed with fresh ingredients. I used to make them at home, and so, was anxious to try Ming's. I ordered an eggroll and veggie lo mein, whilst my dining companion had the TangySpicy Chicken lunch special. They have four lunch special entrees to choose from, and each one comes with a helping of sweet and sour chicken (odd...isn't it?) side of fried rice, and a drink. First I'll say that the texture of the 4.25 inch eggroll was not bad. What I look for is a thick, very flaky wrapper with lots of crunch and plenty of puffy bubbles that crumble with each bite and melt a little bit in your mouth -- deep golden without any burnt spots. I thought this eggroll wrapper was the best part of my experience at Mings. The filling consisted mainly of peppered cabbage with maybe a stray carrot or two thrown in, and there was barely any filling; maybe you would have better luck with the filling in a meat eggroll. The eggroll came with a ginger soy sauce that smelled garlicky and was tasty for dipping the crispy bits left in my little paper eggroll boat. As to the entrees: yes, I found out it is true they serve on styrofoam plates, and to me that just "don't make sense." Do they really think it's cheaper in the long run to use disposable plates? They have fairly nice decor, pretty stained hardwood ceilings and black laquered tables, so why styrofoam? A silk purse on a sow's ear... Anyway, it was a huge pile (literally: a pyramid) of way too much overly salted food. (Why not serve better quality food in smaller portions, Ming's? I could say this to 90% of sit-down restaurants in town, though...I digress...) The veggies seemed a mix of fresh and frozen (taste like frozen crinkle carrots, fresh onion and sprouts, various other veggies) but the whole thing was drenched in oil and then griddle cooked. Think: the Teriyaki stand at Highland Mall. The only good thing about it was that I asked for extra spicy, and there Ming's delivered. My DC's grilled chicken in the Sweet-Tangy dish looked pretty good, tender white meat, he said there was little fat or gristle, but the veggies were the same as in my Lo Mein, all was drenched in a thick sauce, which mingled on the plate with the sweet and sour chicken, and the gi-normous ladle of sweet&sour sauce the waitress ladled over his dish at the end. The fried rice was just plain; no veggies mixed in. It was average, not greasy or too mushy. I don't know why I'm writing so much about a place I didn't enjoy. Like I said, the eggroll was OK. But as much as I really want new variety in my UT area lunches, I think the next time I lay down $9 for a weekday noodle based meal I'll just double my weekly dose of mam's. PS I found out this IS the same as the Ming's that's in the Montrose in Houston; says so on their web site: http://www.mingscafe.com/
I gave Ming's a shot the other day. I'm not much of a "food writer" so I'll keep it short and simple.
I went because I heard the egg rolls were spectacular. I thought the egg rolls were pretty good and I would order them again.
I ordered the "General Jow's chicken" dish, though, and this dish was a huge let down. The sauce was OK I suppose, but only one piece out of probably 12 had any sort of crisp/fry on it. The rest of the pieces of chicken were just tough pieces of grilled chicken breast with no fry/crisp on them.
I try not to be a "food snob/elitist" with pre-conceived notions that cheap prices = cheap/poor tasting food. In this case, though, I'll say that you really do get what you pay for.
I suppose it's 0-2 for Ming's so far (minus the egg rolls which were pretty good I'd say).