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Feb 25, 2011 06:27 AM

Qingdao Garden MARCH 2ND RE-OPEN

Hey, I saw them putting up the new signage last night as I drove by, called from the car, and they said, Wednesday, March 2nd. I said "Great, I'll tell Chowhound so we stop talking about it!" We had a laugh and said we'll see each other later!

So that sounds very definite to me.

Qingdao Garden Restaurant
2382 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

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  1. So as someone who's been hearing the hype since they closed, and has been anxiously awaiting news of their return... what should I get to start with? Their dumplings, natch, but what else is a don't-miss signature dish to try?

    15 Replies
    1. re: Boston_Otter

      There's been a ton of discussion here in the past. I would just search this site for Qingdao Garden and browse through the threads.

      Our personal favorites are pork with cilantro and boiled fish fillet in fiery sauce.

      1. re: dfan

        That's the problem -- there's many threads, tons of discussions, and many people naming their favorite 10 dishes, etc. That's all wonderful, but I wanted to see if any longtime regulars would say "Oh, for your first time, definitely get the crispy hot chicken", or some such thing. The boiled fish filet that you mentioned is one that I see pop up a lot in discussions, so I'll definitely give it a shot.

        1. re: Boston_Otter

          lamb with cumin
          the vegetable platter if they have it [special only]
          pork noodle soup
          spicy fish in broth

            1. re: galangatron

              I don't really know. The owner suggested it one day, it was delicious, and now I always ask if he has it available.

              1. re: smtucker

                When I've had the vegetable platter, the vegetables in question seemed to be "whatever's good."

                What floors me, however, is that each vegetable seems to be cooked to a pleasant doneness for itself. Either they're savant-like at deciding how big to cut each different vegetable so they simultaneously finish cooking, or (more likely) each vegetable is blanched separately to its own taste. Who takes that kind of time?!

                For me, this (and excellent use of salt) sums up why I like QG.

                ETA: lotus root platter, if they have it. It's "just" cooked lotus root.

                1. re: enhF94

                  Thanks for the platter tip. I'll throw in the 5-spice pork, which is a stirfry akin to cumin lamb but I think more interesting. Definitely the sweet & sour cucumber. If they have a lily bulb special, that's worth trying. (Yes, I think this is a chef who will take that kind of time. He'll also talk your ear off if given the opportunity, and it's slow.)

                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                    I'm with you on the five spices pork.

                    The lamb with scallions is also good.

          1. re: Boston_Otter

            boiled fish fillet in fiery sauce
            szechuan chicken with chili pepper
            home style bean curd
            hot & spicy string bean
            chongqing fried hot chicken
            pork with cilantro
            lo mein and orange flavored beef are surprisingly good
            fried rice is not

            No idea which to get on your first visit. I have no idea what I'm going to get when they finally reopen. I want everything!

          2. re: dfan

            could you describe the pork with cilantro?

            1. re: galangatron

              It is sliced boneless pork cutlet, sauteed with a equal amount of bamboo shoots and cilantro. Not sure of the sauce - it's thin, an oily sheen and just pleasantly porky goodness.

              Personally, I have been craving their version of singapore rice noodles.

              I am considering hanging out outside on March 2nd and outing

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Yeah, Qingdao's Pork with Cilantro is one of their great dishes, along with the Fish in fiery Sauce, the Pork with Dried Bean Curd, their Lamb with Cumin, etc.

                  1. re: Kenji

                    Thanks, everyone! I feel more prepared for the grand re-opening now.

            2. re: Boston_Otter

              pork dumplings
              sweet and sour cucumber
              spicy pig tripe
              lily root with celery
              lamb with cumin
              red braised pork
              braised pig feet
              pork intestine with sweet peppers

            3. Hurray! Thanks for the update. As we were stuffing ourselves silly at Gourmet Dumpling House last Sat., we were lamenting the lack of good dumplings close to home . . . finally, they're back!


              Gourmet Dumpling House
              52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

              2 Replies
              1. re: gansu girl

                Yup less than 48 hours to go can't wait. Is it too early to put my bib on so the dumpling juice doesn't stain my shirt?

                1. re: lc02139

                  I have my Daktronics Galaxy Tri-Color Message Display all set up, with the timer counting down to tomorrow.

              2. I'm so excited!

                (I agree with the dishes listed in this thread, and also really like their Crispy Butterfish)

                1. I just called them and they are in fact open, but no frozen dumplings for two weeks, boo hoo!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: suzysue2

                    That was you! I was eating lunch there when you called. She's got a headset to answer the phone with, which was a little flustering as she tried to simultaneously take an in-store customer's order and answer the phone.

                    I think my theory of the individually-blanched veggies was, uh, rhapsodic nostalgic. The veggie platter was delicious and seasoned beautifully, but the broccoli was firmer than the rest as you'd expect from a mass blanching.

                    1. re: enhF94

                      so was it busy? We had hoped to stop by tonight.

                      1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                        I was there at 2 the menu hadn't changed, they had 2-3 tables in the main room open. You still can get cooked dumplings just not the frozen bag yet. They seemed to have added more space to the back left as you look in so I would think that they will be able to seat more than before, so I would think it won't be a problem. You can always call before heading over and ask.

                        1. re: lc02139

                          Is the bathroom still through the kitchen?

                          1. re: lc02139

                            Sorry looks like I might have given you some bad information, looks like they were feeling the love today, hopefully it keeps up and they make up for lost time.

                    2. So, did you hounds not pack the place tonight? Or, are you still there as I sit 200 miles away? I had imagined the place wall-to-wall with Striper Guy, gansu girl, Area Man, galangatron -- all looking smart in their costumes -- like a meeting of the Just-Eat League of America. I even imagined cambridgedoctpr there -- a name (Cambridge-Doc-Purr) that suggests a Bond villain stroking a cat -- in his ultracasuals: just jacket, no T, no jeans. And who was that in the hoodie in the shadows in the corner?

                      How is the food?

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        I went tonight, and the line was nearly out the door. The staff was one step beyond harried... running around looking panicked as they tried to seat people, take orders, answer the phone, etc. Even trying to get a glass of water was tough. I'm certainly glad they're busy!

                        I went with a friend and we split an order of the pork & leek dumplings, the szechuan chicken, and the pork with cilantro. Everything was excellent, especially the dumplings; the chicken was spicy and five-spiced with tons of dried hot peppers, and the pork was heavy on the cilantro (which is great, I love cilantro) with lots of tender bamboo shoots.

                        Next time, the fish in fiery sauce!

                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                          Thanks for the report. I used to like the pork with cilantro. Glad it's up to par.

                        2. re: FoodDabbler

                          hee hee! great visual! I went to Gran Gusto tonight w/some non-Qingdao-Garden types (first time, see my recent post, not overwhelmed by the pizza) but I might try to wedge my way into Qingdao tomorrow or this weekend.

                          (Shhh . . . I'll be disguised as a suburban mother.)


                          1. re: gansu girl

                            "I'll be disguised as a suburban mother"

                            You won't fool anyone. It'll be pretty clear that your minivan is in fact a gansumobile.

                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                              Oh wait wait wait, now. Let's be clear . . . this supermama ain't drivin' no minivan! : )


                          2. re: FoodDabbler

                            Thank you, I needed a chuckle this morning.

                            Area Man and Area Woman will be dining there next week, in part due to Area Mother-in-Law's availability to babysit.

                            Thank you everyone for the reports that the food is still excellent. And wow, who else is wishing they had speculated on bags of frozen dumplings before they closed for renovations?

                            1. re: Area Man

                              Just a note, if you are willing to drive 10 minutes from Quingdao, Wang's sells bags of frozen dumplings too. I have a half a bag of pork with fennel and half a bag of veggie in the freezer, and if I listen closely I hear they are calling my name..... they are just delicious!

                              1. re: Area Man

                                With the news of an opening feeling "real", I cooked up the last of my Quingdao Frozen dumplings the other night. Time in the freezer had not been kind to them, with some cracking. But, I managed to press ahead and was reminded of why I love their dumplings so much. Gosh the pork and cabbage filling was delicious, even though the wrappers had lost some of their specialness.

                                Silly that I held on to them like it was insurance that they would re-open. But a food lover has to do the right thing for the whole. :-)

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  File under "Only a Boston-area Hound would..." :-)