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May 20, 2011 06:05 PM

Better to take out at Quingdao Garden? Just had a very middling meal.

I was so gleeful when they reopened in North Cambridge. Did takeout a few weeks ago and loved everything, from the leek dumplings to the cucumber-garlic salad to the very good cumin lamb in spicy sauce. Went to dine-in tonight and couldn't have been more disappointed with the experience. The hostess was lovely and very attentive. But the waitstaff were so harried -- crashing into one another, scurrying around -- that it set the whole room on edge. Our server ignored us for the first 10 or so minutes completely, then forgot our water order, got our dumpling order wrong, and basically flung our food at us when it was ready. I understand that it was a busy Friday night, but a little bit of pampering would have gone a long way.

Beyond that, though, the food simply wasn't very good. We ordered the three-delight dumplings. They were all meat. Mr. Swankalicious ordered crispy duck; it arrived lukewarm on a bed of sad lettuce. It was underspiced. But the real bummer was my pig intestine with sweet peppers. The main flavor was intense, lip-puckering salt. Intestines were flavorless and rubbery. Some sad, soggy onions and peppers rounded out the plate.

I loved my takeout experience. I think from now on I will do takeout as the dining room was charmless; I'd also love suggestions on what to order, as clearly we missed the boat tonight.

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  1. Had a similar experience a couple of weekends ago. Forgettable and lukewarm cumin lamb, fish soup and dumplings. The only very good dish was the Chongqing Spicy Chicken.

    1. I've loved several of the dishes I've had there -- the leek dumplings, the Spicy Chicken, and the pork with asian pickles -- but your description of the harried, forgetful service sounds exactly like what I experienced there on the night of their grand re-opening. With a line out the door, I just chuckled and shrugged when they forgot my drink, forgot the dumplings, and left me without a check for 10-15 minutes... but if they're still that scattered and sloppy NOW, they're pushing the limits of patience.

      1. Hate to pile on, because I really like this place, but have to admit I had a disappointing take-out experience Friday night -
        Ordered two dishes I have had a dozen times from Qingdao - singapore rice noodles and pork with cilantro. The rice noodles were ok, but not the usual amount of curry kick, very bland. The pork was truly disappointing - it was festooned with chopped cilantro stems, instead of cilantro leaves - picked around for the pork, but it was really kind of gross. The woman who took my order also questioned aloud whether pork with cilantro was a dish they offered. Have had other take-out orders since the re-open that have been outstanding, so I wonder what the deal was this weekend.
        Was also asked if an hour wait was going to be ok...and it was a full hour, which I was fine with, since they disclosed.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          I had dinner there the other night and it was so bad that I suspected that the chef had been replaced. Anyone else had a similar experience?

        2. I went there today to get frozen dumplings and they told me that they would have them 'next week' which was the same thing they told me when they first re-opened. Anyone have a similar experience?

          2 Replies
          1. re: suzysue2

            Any word on their frozen dumplings? I'd like to get some for a meal this weekend.

            Thanks in advance.

            1. re: Area Man

              I visited Quingdao for dinner last night. They had all varieties of frozen dumplings available.

              It was empty when I arrived (~630pm), though they were busy with several takeout orders.
              -Sauteed Baby Bok Choy was on par with all of their greens dishes (Chinese broccoli is my favorite)
              -Shredded Pork with Pickled Chinese Vegetables had less depth than I recall it having a few months ago, but was still good. The pork was a little one-note (salty) and didn't stand up to the vegetables (cabbage, primarily) that had a strong vinegar taste. I recall this dish having more sweet, salty, savory pork, and the vegetables having an almost fermented quality. I still enjoyed it, though.

              Service was friendly.