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Should I go back and try again?

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Last night, TeenHound and I.
First visit to this particular family style restaurant.
Although we were only two diners, it was a planning-for-leftovers decision.

Our shared dish was... "okay" and wasn't quite as large as expected. We'd always had better in Beijing and I occasionally make better at home, but the ingredients Are sort of pricey when done at home for 2-6 servings.

Our shared side dish was... "okay" but considerably larger than expected. We both agreed that we wanted to take it home to doctor the seasonings.

Our shared bread dish was... terrible.

While we were perusing the dessert menu, an incident occurred not actually involving us, so we did not order dessert and our entire meal was comped by an extremely gracious floor mgr-- without any protest or plea from me about the problem.

I was ready to write of the restaurant as a BTDT [been there done that] but... we still haven't bought a meal there and we did not order a "famous for" item.

Should we go back or count ourselves lucky?

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  1. I'd go back and give it another try.

    1. "Our shared dish was... "okay" and wasn't quite as large as expected. We'd always had better in Beijing and I occasionally make better at home, but the ingredients Are sort of pricey when done at home for 2-6 servings."

      Then why order it?

      I would go back and give it another try, this time not ordering items that you know you can make better at home or have had better in their country of origin. Ordering those types of items at a restaurant is just setting yourself up for disappointment.

      1. BTDT.

        1. I would write it off. There are a lot of Western-style restaurants in Beijing so no need to give the bad ones your business, especially given that they are pretty pricey compared to Chinese places.

          I am curious, which place was this? I lived there for three years and I may have eaten there before.

          2 Replies
          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            We lived in LongZe from 2004-2011. I worked in the Lido area, went to church in ShunYi, and hit SanLiTun for movies/meals weekly.
            What are your haunts?

            1. re: Kris in Beijing

              I used to live near the intersection of XueYuanLu and the 4th Ring road. Worked at SanYuanQiao, and partied at SanLiTun with a bunch of drunken, degenerate Euro expats. I think my life expectancy was seriously shortened by the combination of drinking baijiu and the apocalyptic pollution levels.

              I would not say Beijing is a great food city but I do miss some things. Streetside dumpling and noodle stands with hand-stretched dough were really good, as were the fried rou bing. Spicy Ma La Tang with sesame sauce would really warm you up in the winter months too.

          2. I wouldn't go back. Everything was okay--at best? Nah.

            1. I think you should go back, for the same reasons you posted. I try and always give a place three tries, two at the least , before I write them off forever.

              1 Reply
              1. re: genoO

                .

              2. This is DC? I'd ask the board if your food experience there was typical. It no answer, i wouldn't go back. There are far too many places to explore.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  agree.

                2. "we still haven't bought a meal there and we did not order a "famous for" item."
                  So you are out nothing so far and you have not tried what the Restaurant is known for. Sounds like you should go back and order "The Dish" and judge from there.
                  We have a couple of quite good Szechuan Restaurants in my area. I often hear people say they do not understand why they are so popular, they thought the food was terrible. I ask about what they had ordered and the reply is usually " Wonton Soup, Orange Chicken and Pork fried Rice" or some other Non-Szechuan dishes. So they are missing out on what the place really excels at.

                  1. How many other options are in your area that are similar? In nyc where i am it better be damned good for me to go back, there's just too many other better choices.

                    If the place had resonable prices and is one of the few options you have then maybe give it another shot and be sure to order what their "specialty" is. There are certainly restaurants that only do a few dishes really well, so maybe you just missed those.

                    1. Update/ clarification:
                      We were eating in DC at a regional chain, not Chinese food.
                      In terms of price points, basically a $10-$20 per person entree place.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                        It has to be a flagship dinner for me to order something in a restaurant that I competently make at home.

                        Since it is a chain, I would recommend another site. Unless you are researching for a local "safe, no surprises, I do not feel like cooking tonight" place.

                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                          A regional chain can sometimes be very good, with what they are known for. It's probably how they grew into a chain.
                          national chains strive for okay, nothing more.
                          I would give the house specialty a try.

                          1. re: genoO

                            Good point.
                            I think we'll try
                            1) speciality and
                            2) another location

                        2. What was the incident? Did you wear your heels?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                            BB-- I'm always in heels unless I'm barefoot.

                            Incident was an insect.