Mediocre Lunch at Jin Jiang -- W.L.A.
OK, I wanted to try something new rather than my old reliable lunch combo at Hu's, so I decided to try Jin Jiang. It is located on the second (top) floor of the minimall on the N/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Sepulveda. First surprise was when I drove up at about a quarter to noon -- all of the parking in the lot was valet, which was supposedly free for the first fortyfive minutes. Went upstairs, seated at a nice table with tablecloth, and reviewed the menu. Prices for lunch combos were $6.50, $7.50 and $8.50 -- fiftyfive cents more each than what is listed on their website. Was given a small cup of the hot'n'sour soup, which was thin, not full, not spicy, and not very hot -- as if it had sat for a bit before being picked up and served. Asked for hot chili oil, was given a small dish of red chili paste like Schirracha (sic?). Asked again for hot chili oil, and was told they don't have it. Was given a small cup of salad -- some iceberg lettuce, some carrot shreds, a few crispy wonton skins crumbled on top, and a bit of sweet rice wine dressing at the bottom. My kung pao chicken was about half the size of an entree at Hu's or Cheng Du, and bulked up with lots of onion and green bell pepper. While I ordered it spicy, it wasn't. More important, it wasn't really kung pao -- just chicken in sort of a garlic/black bean sauce with some peanuts thrown in. No real kung pao sauce or flavor or velveting of the meat like at Hu's. Finished, left a tip, and took my check to pay the cashier, who first dealt with a mistaken dish a waiter handed her to go back in the kitchen and then figured out a big grocery bag full takeout order before finally taking my money. Went downstairs to claim my car, and the valet chased me down claiming I spent more than 45 minutes and owed a buck -- checked my ticket and was sure they back-clocked the ticket on the way in. (No way I got there at 11:40.) Oh, I also ended up refilling my own glass of water twice from the pitchers on the next table since no waiter or busboy checked on me.
Overall, not recommended.