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Exceptionally kid-friendly service at Mary Chung's

I have become a fan of this place since reading reviews here and wanted to add another accolade of a different type. We were there with my chow-toddler last weekend and had Alice as a waitress. Now, you don't usually think "service" with this type of place. Not that it's been bad, just that they bring you your food and that's it. Well, Alice provided service of the "I know what you and your family need to eat and I'll make sure you get it whether you want it or not"-variety. We tried to order a few things medium-spicy. "No," said Alice. "No spicy- the baby should try too." Dun dun noodles- never considered getting them with sauce on the side. Alice insisted, so that the baby could eat the noodles. Baby loved them. Eggplant dish- asked for a recommendation, told her medium-spicy, was told, "no, she should try that too." Surprisingly, Alice knew best and the baby had her first eggplant. We were permitted to order the suan la chow appetizer, but a non-spiced dumpling in a separate dish also showed up and was promptly consumed by the baby. So, thanks Alice. I would have fed the kid brown rice and the sweet potato chunks we brought. You knew best.

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    1. We started bringing our daughter there when she was 2 1/2, 15 years ago, and they were always incredibly accommodating. It became her favorite place to go, and she beamed at her 5th birthday when she was allowed to design/order the meal for the family! Glad to hear they are still servicing families with little ones!

      1. well, they are also very helpful to us in yet another way. our son adopted from foster care with huge trauma including food trauma history was "of course, no problem" allowed to consume his McD's from across the street very willingly while his dad and I ate all our favorite spicy foods. so glad your chow baby loved it all! If only someone had been so kind to our son in his early years! thanks for telling us! The food there really hits the spot for us sometimes.....

        1. My bff's kids were raised on Mary Chungs and now when they come to town to visit, if they don't take up a big table with all their pals, its where they want to go. When Mary is there she will come and visit the table and she remembers when Dar had her first spicy shredded cabbage....great topical post....

          1. Thanks, Parsnipity. Posts like this are what make this Board worth reading.

            1. Alice is a hoot, and yes she can be pretty motherly. Sometimes it gets to be too much - it doesn't take much heat to make me sweat but it takes a lot for me to enjoy it, she often will suggest that I have them send me a less spicy version of a dish when she sees me sweating when I'm sitting there wishing it was hotter ... and if I have her frequently enough in a period of time such that she remembers me I think she tells the chefs to tone it down as it gets noticeably milder.

              All that said, she's really nice and means very well.

              1. I had a similar experience recently, though with a slightly older child who is picky about food and not great at sitting still for an hour. Patient, kind service that also recommended sticking to milder dishes, and now the kid keeps talking about going back for dumplings, scallion pancakes and noodles and wanting to try more Chinese food.

                Thanks for the reminder, Parsnipity!


                1. Yep, we're big fans of Alice. Whether with children or our big group of bridge players, they've always been v. accommodating, and they take great care of us.

                  1. We and our little Maglettes LOVE Mary Chung's. We have evolved a plan whereby we order for the kids first and then specifically say "And then for us we'd like..." and ask for it to be spicy. Strangely, it turns out my dad says he used to eat there all the time when he was in med school - how long has it been around?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DrMag

                      This is exactly the approach we take with Sichuan Gourmet with good results. I never want them to think that the same people who ordered house special lo mein are also eating the gangou fish fillets!

                    2. Alice does know best! She's a great waitress in the mold of Durgin-Park; she tells us what to order and she's always right! As much as we love Mary, Alice is the bomb. She patiently writes down all of the "on the side" orders that my picky daughter requires. Even though we've enjoyed the food since they opened in 1980, we have more fun eating there now with Alice on duty.