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Mulan in Waltham, replacing Beijing Star

KWagle Oct 25, 2010 03:44 AM

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>

  1. Ferrari328 Apr 5, 2013 10:58 AM

    I love this place! Lunch portions is BIG, service is quick and friendly and the food is excellent and you get Hot & Sour soup regardless of what you order. For lunch today I ordered one of my favorites here the complete misstranslated Lunch Special Combo Chicken in Chili Sauce. Well, it has chicken and chilies in it so that part is right. The salad was peas, edamame and carrots and the seasonal veggies were lightly steamed but cold zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower. I'm not sure really what was the salad or the seasonal veggies but all of it was a nice offset to the fiercely hot chicken. The salad could have used some dressing. The dish didn't look as hot as on a previous visit but trust me, it was. Loaded with dry chilies, fresh green chilies and lots of Sichuan peppercorns, that has no relation whatsoever to peppercorns, but gives a numbing sensation so that you can stand the heat from the chilies. The chicken was crunchy and tender. At 12:30 there was a few people waiting for tables but at least the line were inside the front door.

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

     
    1. b
      bear Sep 26, 2012 06:31 AM

      We had an incendiary and absolutely delicious chicken in chili sauce and very good pan-fried dumplings a few weeks back. I'm pretty sure the heat was just from chilis and no peppercorns.

      My son also enjoyed his veggie dumplings and veggie lo mein. He felt they were both significantly better than average.

      1. h
        hargau Sep 25, 2012 12:50 PM

        We tried to go Sat night but there was a line out the door and the sidewalk was packed with people waiting. We ended up at Baan Thai down the road for perhaps the worst meal in a restaurant we have ever had. Horrible.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hargau
          c
          Crazy Egg Sep 25, 2012 01:16 PM

          Don't mean to hijack the thread, but what did you get at Baan Thai that was so bad?

          1. re: Crazy Egg
            h
            hargau Sep 25, 2012 01:44 PM

            well for starters the service was horrendous and we waited forever for our food. We were in there at least 2 + hours. Curiously couples came in and sat at tables on either side of us and ordered, got food and ate before we even got food! Other tables also seemed to wait forever.. The tom yum soup tasted like salt water, we got some tofu triangles that were just plain dry fried tofu with no flavor -i actually expected that one, and we got Kra-prao chicken which was the thing i guess that took over an hour to make.. It tasted just like salt and oil, no spice, couldnt even finish it, it was so salty. Oh and a dried up tiny bowl of white rice. We also ordered another app which they never brought us yet billed us for, they removed it when we told them. We left hungry and debated driving through Wendy's but were late already for the show we were going to. Neither of us felt good the rest of the night.
            At one point we were so tired of sitting around waiting that we were going to tell the waitress to just give us the bill for what we had so far and then leave but we decided to hold out longer..

            The kicker is we could have waited in line at Mulan and still been done faster!

            1. re: hargau
              c
              Crazy Egg Sep 25, 2012 07:17 PM

              So sorry you had such a terrible experience. I found that with Baan Thai, they have trouble coping with a full restaurant. I, too have waited there for more than 30 minutes with my 2 young kids for dinner to arrive. Recently, their prices have gone up and quality has gone down. It is too bad. Hope you make it to Mulan to redeem that terrible meal!

        2. Ferrari328 Sep 21, 2012 10:36 AM

          Kind of gray and dreary day today so a bowl of Noodle Soup sounded good and since it's Friday it's Mulan day!
          First a big plate of Pork Chops arrives followed shortly afterwards by a big bowl of noodles. The noodles had a marinated hard boiled egg in it as well as ground pork and spinach. In most restaurants for this price you would get the noodles and ground pork but here you get a plate of pork chops as well. How good is this! It was delicious and perfect for the day. As usual there was a wait out the door at 12:30.

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

           
          2 Replies
          1. re: Ferrari328
            t
            Taralli Sep 26, 2012 05:13 AM

            Is this the pork chop RICE noodle soup? I also see a pork chop noodle soup.

            1. re: Taralli
              Ferrari328 Sep 26, 2012 06:01 AM

              This is the 34A Pork Chop Noodle Soup.

          2. Ferrari328 Apr 13, 2012 10:49 AM

            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
              c
              Crazy Egg Apr 13, 2012 12:30 PM

              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.

            2. KWagle Apr 2, 2011 03:57 AM

              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
                r
                rscolao Apr 2, 2011 05:08 PM

                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
                  b
                  bugsmum Apr 3, 2011 08:25 PM

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

                  1. re: rscolao
                    c
                    Crazy Egg Apr 4, 2011 06:21 PM

                    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
                      r
                      rscolao Apr 4, 2011 06:36 PM

                      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
                        n
                        noodlechef Apr 4, 2011 06:46 PM

                        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
                          c
                          Crazy Egg Apr 5, 2011 09:42 AM

                          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. lipoff Nov 9, 2010 09:47 PM

                    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. t
                      taterjane Oct 31, 2010 02:27 PM

                      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. StriperGuy Oct 25, 2010 04:42 AM

                        That is so sad. I loved Beijing Star.

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

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: StriperGuy
                          h
                          hargau Oct 25, 2010 04:55 AM

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

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

                          1. re: hargau
                            c
                            cambridgedoctpr Oct 25, 2010 07:27 AM

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

                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                              StriperGuy Oct 25, 2010 07:28 AM

                              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.

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

                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                c
                                cambridgedoctpr Oct 25, 2010 07:35 AM

                                Point well taken; I was too cavalier.

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  s
                                  SuzieCK Nov 9, 2010 11:46 AM

                                  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.

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

                              2. re: hargau
                                KWagle Oct 25, 2010 04:54 PM

                                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
                                  h
                                  hargau Oct 25, 2010 05:13 PM

                                  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
                                    beetlebug Oct 25, 2010 06:13 PM

                                    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
                                      barleywino Oct 25, 2010 06:45 PM

                                      Beijing Star did have a good crispy smoked duck iirc.

                                    2. re: hargau
                                      KWagle Oct 26, 2010 12:45 AM

                                      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
                                  b
                                  bugsmum Oct 29, 2010 05:42 AM

                                  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

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