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Meyers & Chang - Meh?

Hit up Meyers & Chang today when I found the food truck festival too crowded.. I have to say I was pretty disappointed. On Sundays they just do Dim Sum, so ok, made my choices and asked for some sangria. Service was ever so slow and they were out of some of the items I ordered. Ribs were the standout, definitely would order them again, but everything else; the prawns, brown rice, dumplings, spring rolls were just ok. DC liked it better than I did, but then when the waitress brought the check without removing any of the dirty dishes, we were both annoyed. We had a full glass of sangria left and wanted to just sit and enjoy it without looking at the pile of dishes. Restrooms could have used some picking up as well, and there were a number of empty tables that hadn't been cleaned off when we left.

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  1. not a fan and i've tried it twice. find it over-hyped and over-hip. i also find myself resenting the press for something that doesn't compare in quality with Shanghai Gate, Jo Jo Taipei, etc. i know it serves a different function, but i still find it bland and middle-muddle.

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    Shanghai Gate
    204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

    JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
    103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

    1. M+C struggles with off-base customer expectations, in my view, folks who discount the atmosphere and complain about authenticity and prices. I think it doesn't belong in the same conversation as a JoJo Taipei, Shanghai Gate, and other traditional Chinese restaurants.

      You don't go to Fuloon and expect to see a Korean BBQ truck taco or an Asian take on chicken and waffles. They're different animals. You're welcome not to like it (and I think it's easy to order badly on a single visit: the menu has some definite soft spots I've learned to avoid), but it is its own thing. I think it makes more sense to compare it to an East by Northeast or perhaps a Basho. Different sensibility entirely.

      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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      Shanghai Gate
      204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

      East by Northeast
      1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

      17 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        such an interesting take from the guy who hates Golden Temple.

        1. re: teezeetoo

          That's a reasonable analogy: Golden Temple is also what it is. I just don't like by-the-numbers American-Chinese food that much, whereas I do like a lot of M+C's food.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            see the lovely bit by sam sifton in the Sunday NY Times magazine, including the General Tso's recipe. After all, american-chinese is the original american fusion food (unless it was turkey and sweet potatos?). I'm amused when the scoffers embrace up-scale Asian fusion and sniff at "pedestrian" versions. It's very like the condescending connotation of the use of "red sauce Italian." And what's wrong with red sauce?

            1. re: teezeetoo

              There's nothing wrong with red sauce Italian-American, or American-Chinese, if that's what you like. Nobody has to defend their personal taste here.

              I like lots of foods that are decidedly downscale. For the most part, American-Chinese isn't one of them.

              I don't think the term "red sauce" is necessarily pejorative, either. I think it's a widely-understood term for a certain school of Italian-American cuisine with roots in Campania, now several generations removed from the traditional mother cuisine, something that has evolved into its own thing, and which, yes, frequently features tomato-based ragus and sugos.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          I've never made it the M & C, in part because of the mixed reviews. Could you and some of the others give those of us who might it those menu soft spots, remind us of some of the menu highlights.

          Penny
          http://www.bostonzest.com/

          1. re: BostonZest

            Sure! It's easier to ID the dishes I don't love from the current dinner menu: fresh rolls, scallion pancake, hot & sour soup, crispy whole fish, chicken & waffles. Looks like they've gotten rid of some other dishes I didn't care for. The lunchtime banh mi is hit or miss, especially for $9, but I do love the weekend dim sum bacon/fried-egg mini banh mi.

            I generally encourage first-time visitors to choose from among the pork belly bun, edamame/celery slaw, green papaya slaw, tiger's tears, three-pork stir fry, short rib tacos, shrimp dumplings, and one of the noodle dishes. I always get a couple of vegetable sides (Hakka eggplant is my fave) and some rice.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Ah, I get it! MC Slim JB must be Myers + Chang Slim JB!

              Lol just kidding! ;-)

              1. re: your_outreach

                MC and striperguy are the best posters; i have learned a lot from them.

                1. re: your_outreach

                  Thanks for the kind words, cambridgedoctpr. A lot of my good experiences came out of tips I got here from other Hounds.

                  I wasn't a fan of M+C at first: I think they got off to a slow, inconsistent start, but because they're in my neighborhood, I gave them additional chances I might not to restaurants farther away, and I think they improved steadily over time.

                  I agree that the selection of beer, wine and sake is not my favorite, and I really don't care for the cocktails (not doing much within the limits of their license the way, say, a Coppa does), but the food has come a long way, and I always liked the atmosphere. Aside from one huge service fiasco not too long ago (one of those kids whose training wheels came off too soon), I've found the service just fine.

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Not the best selection, however I enjoy the Hitachino Nest Red Rice beer and the Bunraku Nihonjin No Wasuremono Forgotten Japanese Spirit sake and M&C.

                  2. re: your_outreach

                    The title "MC" means "Master of Ceremonies." Some people who MC don't know what this term means.

                    1. re: Luther

                      In hip-hop circles, MC also means "microphone controller", i.e., a rapper, as opposed to DJ, a turntablist. That's where the MC in my Chowhound handle comes from.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        I was just joking about MC meaning Myers + Chang! :-p

                        I figured it was microphone controller (although I never actually knew that's what it meant! I always just said MC).

                        1. re: your_outreach

                          Gee, and I thought all this time MC stood for Master of Chow! ; ) Keep up the great posts MC Slim!

                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                          If you're one thing, Slim, it's totally street.

                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                      Vnmese ba'nh mi` for $9!!! Is there gold flakes on it or truffles pate in it?

                      1. re: joebloe

                        They're generally creative versions, and pretty big. I think they're mostly okay (the curry hamburger one is interesting, for instance), and certainly a lot better than when they first started, when the bread was all wrong.

                        But this is one area where I think the $2.50-$3 traditional version is a far superior product. The atmosphere at Myers + Chang at lunch, when they serve these banh mi, is not a particular asset: it's often kind of dead then, though that lunch business has been steadily building up, too.

                        The smaller bacon/egg weekend dim sum banh mi is totally worth it, though: superb.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                2. We love MC, actually. Almost everything we've had there has been very, very good.

                  I do find it pricey for what you get, but we still find ourselves there when we are in the nabe.

                  I agree with MC Slim, that you shouldn't compare it to traditional chinese restaurants because it isn't one.

                  Three things I don't like about it: service has always been just so-so; limited and weird alcoholic beverage selection; it can leave you a bit stinky and wishing they had better ventilation.

                  Their outside seating area is nice.

                  1. I think the tea smoked ribs are great.

                    1. I too trekked over to MC from the the too crowded food truck fiasco. I enjoyed the Dim Sum menu. Had a carafe of Sake Mango Guava sangria, which was great. The pork belly bao was solid. Liked the prawns, and shiitake omlette. The tea smoked ribs were outstanding. The only meh was the chive and mushroom dumplings which were overfried and bland. If it matters to you, I am Chinese American, and I guess my expectations for authenticity are always lowered when I am outside of Chinatown.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: fanonscudder

                        i know that i have gotten into trouble for saying this before, but i like food that is tasty, not necessarily authentic though many times authentic and tasty go hand in hand.

                        1. re: fanonscudder

                          Agreed the ribs were excellent. Interestingly enough most posters here have the impression that I was comparing it to American-Chinese, which really wasnt the case. The point is I was expecting something a little different. Obviously I ordered poorly and based on my choices can understand why people thought I was comparing. Also, had the sake/mango sangria which was a nice change. I think the thing that put me off the most was the poor service and the tables not being cleaned.

                          1. re: Pegmeister

                            I didn't get that impression about your post: I think the discussion just veered off separately into a discussion of American-Chinese food.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          2. re: fanonscudder

                            How many hounds did the same thing Sunday? I also trekked over in response to truck fest.... I tried the shrimp and pork dumplings, both eh. The kimchi pancakes were boring. The dan dan noodles were fantastic - nice heat, although slightly mushy and a bit small portion size but a real win in my book. The bacon / egg banh mi was the absolute jam.

                            I'd go back again at some point, but with so many new places, it won't be for quite a while.

                          3. I have been there probably 15 times since it has opened and as far as the service goes, you really never know what you will get. I go back thinking I may get better service but it's a roll of the dice. My favorite dishes are the haddock, tea smoked ribs, mama chang's pork dumplings, tiger's tears, and the chow fun. We weren't really into the prawns either. Please try it though, like MC said, the atmosphere is great and they have some really uniques dishes. Enjoy!
                            http://bostonfoodanddrink.com/

                            1. I agree that I've often been a bit disappointed at Myers + Chang. I think the disappointment comes partially from how terrific Flour bakery is, and the plethora of excellent Chinese food in Boston.

                              However, there are some jewels on the menu, notably the Tiger's Tears. And one time I had a crispy whole fish there that was just so perfectly cooked, so fragrant and was topped with just the right amount of kumquat that I can almost still taste it.

                              Unfortunately, I can also taste the execrable scallion pancakes (a dish that they still have not managed to get right) and undercooked vegetables.

                              Sometimes the atmosphere, "feel" and judicious ordering lead to a really nice experience there. But when you're not in that mood or make a mis-step ordering, it doesn't add up.