Darda report (Milpitas)
Only got to try a few dishes, as there were only two of us, but maybe other people can pile on with their experiences.
sesame onion pancake (thick) - these were excellent, maybe the best I've ever had. A lot of times, these are underseasoned and a little gummy - these were really good.
whole fish two ways (steamed with garlic, scallion, cilantro; fish head soup with ginger, vegetable, 100-year old egg, tofu) This was a total upsell - I had originally ordered cumin lamb, but my server looked at my friend's eyes (a little red from recent surgery), declared his qi to be "too hot" for cumin, and strongly urged us to order the fish dish ("for the New Year!") To her credit, it was quite delicious (the soup in particular), but I wasn't on top of my game and I forgot to ask how much this was going to cost... it was $40.
shrimp fried noodles with hand-cut noodles - the noodles had the lovely ripply edge of a good knife-cut noodle, but were a little soft. I also wish I'd ordered the lamb version - my original plan was to order cumin lamb, and I didn't want two lamb dishes, but since I didn't end up getting the cumin lamb, I ended up with no lamb at all. Overall, the dish was underseasoned and fairly disappointing.
The strip mall Darda's in has a lot of interesting restaurants - there's a Shanghaiese restaurant with no English visible anywhere, not even on the sign. It was packed, with tons of people waiting outside - don't know if it's because it's good, or because it's cheap. I also picked up take out menus from Penang Garden and Chili Garden. Both have interesting looking dishes that I can't remember having seen on other menus.
18. Kapis ayam (braised baby chicken served with dry scallop sauce)
52. Babas fish fillet (maybe this is a standard Chinese prep, but I can't remember seeing the term "baba" on any other menus. I thought the Nyonyas did all the cooking.)
67. Santan Ikan Campur (half steamed and half fried tilapia)
68. Steamed fish Chiu Chow style (tamarind, tomato, mushroom, and plow (?))
97. Salty fish rice noodle
101. Yang Young Noodle Chiu Chow style (braised thick yellow noodle with shrimp fish cake and dark soy sauce)
Chili Garden (mostly Szechuan, with a little everything else thrown in):
A3-7 are all deer dishes (sauteed roast; family style; in fiery sauce; with green onion; with oyster mushroom)
A8-10 are all ostrich dishes (with roasted chili; with cumin; sauteed)
C1 Roberto and Slice Pork Soup (poor Roberto! He shows up again on the menu at H5, in a hot pot with a lamb rack)
C15. White Fungus with Pork Blood Soup
Darda Seafood Restaurant
296 Barber Ct, Milpitas, CA 95035