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Mulan in Waltham, replacing Beijing Star

I just drove by the location of the former Beijing Star and saw a lovely red sign for "Mulan". As some of you may recall, I had an extremely disappointing experience recently at BS, so I'm quite happy to see the change.

I'm assuming this is a branch of the restaurant in Cambridge, which I've never been to, but have driven by many times including a few hours ago. They have two Web sites, both seemingly their own sites, rather than the fraudulent sites created by delivery services (a true blight in NYC, which has started to spread.)

http://mulan.4t.com/
http://www.mulan-ma.com/

~ Kiran <entropy@io.com>

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  1. That is so sad. I loved Beijing Star.

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    Beijing Star Restaurant
    835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

    11 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      I love Mulan but also loved Beijing Star. What was your bad experience? I cant find the post.

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      Beijing Star Restaurant
      835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

      1. re: hargau

        Mulan is a very good chinese restaurant so I think that Waltan will be well served.

        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

          I love Mulan, but we already have a Mulan.

          We will no longer have Beijing Star which was unique and served quite a few dishes served nowhere else including some really noteworthy dim sum items.

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          Beijing Star Restaurant
          835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

            1. re: StriperGuy

              I'm with StriperGuy on this. Their special menu of more unusual fare was delightful with things I'd not seen on any other Chinese restaurant. Wonderful porky, cabbagey, wintery dishes and other things. Plus, the people at Beijing Star could not have been more pleasant and accommodating. Sorry to miss them.

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              Beijing Star Restaurant
              835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

          1. re: hargau

            First, when I asked whether the Sichuan noodle dishes on the whiteboard had huajiao, I was told they didn't use that because they were a northern restaurant. So, I decided to try the double cooked pork for carryout (transporting it half a mile by car) since many places do a decent job of that, and I didn't have time to study the menu in detail. While they did use pork belly, the dish was the kind of thing I vaguely remember from the days of going to random "Chinese" takeout joints--overcooked vegetables, mostly American peppers, no spice, and grey pork with a bit of an off taste about it, on the whole flavorless and swimming in a carton half full of watery cooking liquid, not even a sauce or a broth. The kind of thing I *should* have just tossed, but I ate it anyway, and ever since, when I drive by there i've been sad about the presence of a restaurant that was probably quite authentic, it was just *bad*. I never tried the dim sum, though, and it's certainly possible that the dim sum department was quite good--this is not uncommon at all.

            1. re: KWagle

              Yea its definately not a sichuan restaurant. The Pink authentic menu and the dimsum menu are all excellent.

              Also dont exect huajiao at mulan either.. Not their thing..

              ps. You have become the guy who says Sichuan Gourmet stinks and should close down because they have horrible beef with brocoli.. Just sayin...

              1. re: hargau

                FYI, Mulan does have one tofu dish with hua jiao. It's the Mu Lan tofu. It maybe on their menu as something else, but that's the chinese name as well. One of my favorite tofu preps. Oddly enough, Mulan's ma po tofu doesn't have the sichuan pepper.

                As for BeiJing Star, I've always had mixed luck there. I'm one of the few that doesn't like those knife cut noodles (inelegantly cut and it shows in the taste). Unfortunately, I never made it out their for dim sum but I do remember Striper waxing poetically about it that I was intrigued. My loss now.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  Beijing Star did have a good crispy smoked duck iirc.

                2. re: hargau

                  I wouldn't have expected "Beijing Star" to have Sichuan food, but *they* did list several such dishes on their whiteboard. Maybe they were taking cooking lessons from Joyce Chen instead of say Mrs. Chiang.

                  As for double cooked pork, AFAIK that's a dish served all over China, and it's certainly done well in many local restaurants. GDH even sometimes puts huajiao in it, though the folks at SG tell me that's highly inappropriate. I think Qingdao Garden also used huajiao, but I haven't been there in a long time because they're closed on Tuesdays.

                  QG is currently closed for "renovations" and I sure hope that doesn't mean a change in ownership, because the owner of Qingdao garden was the first person who just treated me like a person, instead of a slightly slow child who doesn't actually know what he wants to eat. Their menu wasn't universally good, but they did have some real standouts on there.

                  ~ Kiran <entropy@io.com>

            2. re: StriperGuy

              Agree, this is very sad. We loved Beijing Star and I truly hate to see it go.

              -----
              Beijing Star Restaurant
              835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

            3. We went to Mulan in Cambridge today, and the waiter confirmed that the waltham location is a branch of the Cambridge one with the same owner. He thought they might open before thanksgiving.

              1. I like MuLan a lot, but I will also miss Beijing Star. I often left a little disappointed at Beijing Star though --- their execution never quite lived up to their menu and everything was just a touch bland, but not inauthentic. They were the only restaurant around that had yang2 rou4 pao4 mo2 on their menu, and while their version wasn't very good, it was a lot easier than going to Flushing, or to Xi'an. But I am sad to see them go, because I hadn't worked through their menu, and it was quite unique. They were at their best not with their renditions of Sichuan food (slightly muted and changed versions of Sichuan food are not uncommon in other Chinese provinces, incidentally) but with their northern style entrees and some excellent lamb dishes.

                On the other hand, I am 100% with Kiran regarding the owner of Qingdao Garden. That man is extremely nice and very welcoming. Apparently they are just closing for renovations and have every intention of reopening in December. I look forward to that!

                -----
                Beijing Star Restaurant
                835 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451

                Qingdao Garden Restaurant
                2382 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                MuLan
                228 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. Just updating this thread to say that they have now opened. I stopped by to get a carryout menu but haven't tried anything yet. (I still haven't been to the Cambridge location yet.)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: KWagle

                    I was about to do the same. However, we actually ate at Mulan Waltham this evening and it was terrific-- BUT they were too mobbed to be able to handle us normally. People were waiting for takeout for ages and we were there for over 1.5 hours for a very simple meal. We will be back but will avoid rush times and hope it settles down- we got things out of order, etc, but I expect it will be fine soon (and hope so!)
                    We had: smoked pork w/ leek- great; pancake w/ beef appetizer- great, and the pancakes were excellent; pan fried noodles were good, mostly got them for the kids, not exactly complex. Hot and sour soup: way too five-spicey for my taste.
                    I'd just suggest for the time being if you're doing take out, call ahead lest you end up waiting for ages.

                    1. re: rscolao

                      Thanks for this, can't wait to try it.

                      1. re: rscolao

                        rscolao, I was there too! With chowpups and DH in tow and another couple with a 4 month old. Got there at 5:45pm and snagged one of the last tables near the entrance. Right after, the place was a TOTAL MOB scene. The hostess/owner (?) was very gracious though and the waitresses were still real polite even when I asked them to fill a sippy with cold water. Cool under pressure for sure! Food was good, but had the same experience as rscolao in terms of getting things out of order, though it didn't bother.

                        We got:
                        -Scallion pancake, which I thought was good, but I wanted more scallions flavor. Crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside.
                        -Steamed pork buns, which were their 'special' that night. Chowpups loved them. I felt that I needed more filling, but the bun was pillowy soft and had just the right touch of sweetness to balance the porky saltiness of the filling. My mother tried to make the dough for the buns herself and she says it is truly an art to get them soft and pillowy. Kudos to getting them right on opening weekend.
                        -Pork and leek dumplings, which was as good as I remembered them. We only had 2 leftover because we ordered too much food.
                        -Steamed Pork and Mushroom Sticky Rice with Gravy was the last dish I tasted with only one bite left. It remind me of a dish called 'oily rice' at home and was delicious with the small dried shrimp and mushrooms and pork floss on top.
                        -House Fried Rice was good. Better than most places for fried rice, but did not floor me. Mainly for chowpups.
                        -Rice noodles with pumpkin and pork was tasty, but I thought there should be a tad more pumpkin to get a nice balance of sweetness to the dish. This is a little nit-picky because I have to say the flavor did remind me of grandma's rice noodles, so it was very good.
                        -Bean curd with dried bean sauce was the hit of night with the softness of the bean curd in contrast with the sweet, crunchy dried bean 'sauce'. The plate was licked clean! My one year old chow pup was literally screaming for more!
                        -Sauteed Shrimps was a simple dish, but so well done. The shrimps were well-seasoned, plump and juicy in a bed of snow peas and a little bit of clear sauce. The shrimps had a bit of 'bite' and was cooked to perfection. We brought it back, as we couldn't finish it and we devoured it the next day.

                        We will definitely be back when the crowds had died down or go for another early dinner. The advantages of having chowpups! :) Overall, a good experience and pretty kid friendly.

                        1. re: Crazy Egg

                          Crazy Egg, I wonder if we overlapped- we had 2 screaming young things (until they were fed-- we didn't go early enough, got there closer to 6 and had to wait on a table) and were uh, one of the whitest tables in the place. Thanks for the menu list- we were ordering quickly to get food and we will want more things to try! Better I think w/ more adults as well those pups to try more dishes!

                          1. re: rscolao

                            We were there Saturday at about 8:00 and it was still mobbed. Service was gracious considering how busy they were. We tried:
                            -- Crispy chicken -- good flavor though deep-fried
                            -- Tofu with dry bean sauce -- great contrast of crunchy and soft, salty and sweet
                            -- Moo shu pork -- lots of julienned wood ears and other nice ingredients
                            -- Pea pod stems
                            We'll go back but maybe next time at an off hour or a different day. Please suggest more dishes for us to try!

                            1. re: rscolao

                              rscolao, I think the saving grace for my own noisy chowpups was that the place was mobbed and thus REALLY LOUD! LOL. :)

                              I forgot! We also got Lamb with Hot Chili. Spicy goodness and flavorful. An awesome heat to the dish, but I could still taste the lamb-y goodness and still have my taste buds. I did sweat a little, but I grew up with hot food. My DCs had more tea and water after their taste, but declared the dish delish!

                      2. This is a favorite of mine and I have lunch here almost every Friday, today was no exception. Fish Fillet with Spicy Bean sauce was today's choice for me and about 5 other tables around me. Does anybody know where the Spicy Bean in the name comes from? Suspect something got lost in the translation since there really isn't a bean to be found anywhere.

                        http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                         
                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ferrari328

                          I haven't gone back to read the Chinese on the menu, but I believe the Spicy Bean is spicy bean sauce, or spicy black bean sauce.