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Great Cilantro Dishes?

I had Zoe's wonderful zi1 ran2 yang2 rou4 (cumin lamb) last night, which is slivers of dry-fried lamb rubbed with cumin on a bed of cilantro. The cilantro looses some its flavor due to cooking at high heat, but not all of it, nicely balancing with the cumin.

This is a great cilantro dish, rekindling my love of this herb.

What other great cilantro dishes do people recommend at other restaurants, whether Chinese, Mexican, or something else entirely?

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  1. The first thing that comes to mind for me is the Pollo Cilantro at El Sarape in Weymouth Landing. It's very tasty. Large chunks of chicken in a garlic, butter and cilantro sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mwk

      I also really enjoy the shrimp version of this dish--same wonderful sauce with grilled shrimp.

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      El Sarape
      5 Commercial St, Braintree, MA 02184

    2. Ah, I am remembering that cumin lamb at the New Taste of Asia, which passing I still mourn (the chef is now a sushi chef at Haru, which is probably good for him but seems a waste to me).

      I love the Chinese Westlake beef soup, though it's tough to find a really good one. I remember having this dish even as a kid, at that time they called cilantro "Chinese parsley".

      Just ate a banh mi, does that count? Had tons of cilantro in it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Zatan

        Qun Li is at Haru making sushi now wtf?

        1. re: Luther

          I know, right? Well, I guess it's more secure and steady income for him, taking care of a family with a small, risky place on his own was apparently stressful. He still talks about opening a place on his own, though he thinks he should stick to sushi or do some sort of fusion. i tell him no, people would travel far for his Chinese dishes, but he doesn't seem so sure.......

        2. re: Zatan

          You're kidding?!? Then again, Zhang Wenxue of Fuloon started working at the lamentable Yenching restaurant in Harvard Square when he first came to the US. I really hope Qun "Dragon" Li can find something that is more suitable for his immense talent. I miss New Taste of Asia (and Rice Garden) too.

          1. re: lipoff

            I think all the hounds should band together and stake Qun Li in starting a new restaurant. In my book he is the best Chinese Chef in Boston, Wenxue is great, but I'd give the edge to Li.

            As I understand it, he had to close the most recent place after paying for build out, kitchen, etc. because of a dispute with the landlord.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Well, we totally agree on this one! Though there are now several options for something other than the standard Cantonese fare (which I still love), I have yet to encounter any place where the chef exihibits the skill and that intangible thing that can consistently raise a dish from good to great. Chef li has that for sure. I still often think about several meals I had at New Tatste (or Rice Garden before that). Sigh. Oh, and to keep on topic, he used cilantro in many dishes and very well. just can't get em anymore.

            2. re: lipoff

              Since you mentioned Fuloon... and we are talking about cilantro... I just went there for the first time tonight and the best dish was the Wok Baked Beef. It was loaded with cilantro.

          2. I recently had a chicken with cilantro curry at Guru that was really good. As with all of his items, not available every day.

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            Guru the Caterer
            1297 Broadway, Somerville, MA

            1. This is a great thread! I had Cilantro Chicken from Topacio in East Boston that was AMAZING. They also offered Cilantro Shrimp.

              Cilantro is my favorite herb. I'm waiting for Drink in Fort Point to grow it so they can incorporate it in their drinks!

              Olecito also has Baja Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Pesto- YUM.

              Biggest letdown recently- Peshawri Chole from Tamarind Bay: chickpeas with cilantro, ginger, and onions. Didn't even taste like cilantro in the slightest :(

              1. Mulan makes a fabulous beef w/cilantro. They throw in lots of slivered ginger and some jalapeno (I think it's jalapeno). Delicious.