Captain J's Restaurant in Raleigh
Gonna start a new thread here as the old one is getting too long...
Captain J's is expanding its Chinese menu. They have recently hired a new chef who specializes in Shanghai Style Cuisine. Earlier today a few of us went over there to try out some of the new items:
1. Fried Pork Potstickers. Handmade by chef. Thin dough and full of meat!
2. Tian Jing Spicy Cabbage. Sweet and a bit spicy.
3. Braised Wheat Gluten. Wheat gluten chunks with shiitake and bamboo in a sweet sauce. Some of us felt its a bit too sweet.
4. Braised Pork Shanks. Really tender. Fell off the bone easily with the chopsticks.
5. Beef noodle soup. Pretty much the same as before but they now use a different cut of beef (brisket).
We did not and could not try them all! For those of you who are adventurous, they have sea cucumber!
Perhaps we need to have another Chow-meet over there...
Speaking of which, I'm hosting a meetup there next week, on Thursday Aug 14th! Sign up at http://smsc10.eventbrite.com if you'd like to go. You can meet other foodies, taste yummy food and try lots of dishes. We each pay our own way and tickets to reserve your spot are free.
I call it social media supper club but you don't have to be on social media to participate.
There's no such thing as too much XLB.
Just a heads-up to everyone, though. There's a new manager and he can be something of an acquired taste. I've been twice since he's started and frankly, I find him very annoying. He talks a lot and I don't always find his comments too helpful or welcome. He's almost too accommodating, I think. I've listened to him guide other tables of non-Asians through the menu and he's willing to alter the dishes any way you'd like. That would include spicing them up like Americanized Sichuan, even when the dish is not meant to be that way. I'm a big believer in giving the customer what s/he wants but in a case like this where the diner may not know what to expect, why not let the food speak for itself or steer the customer to a dish that's meant to be spicy?
Now that I've gone through all of that rant, my current favorites are the spicy cabbage and wheat gluten mentioned above. I still think the wheat gluten is a bit too sweet but it's good. Any of the dumplings or potstickers are very good. The preserved egg and tofu is unusual and tasty but may be challenging if you're not adventurous. The pork chop and rice, while definitely not challenging is equally delicious. I haven't really gone wrong with any of the pork dishes yet. Oh, and there's a new menu yet again but nothing too different.
NB: Unless the manager has corrected himself, the "jasmine" tea is actually chrysanthemum tea. Made from leaves, not a tea bag, and still good, just not jasmine. And my two cents - the ma po tofu is better at Wang's on Atlantic and the zhajiangmian is better at Grand Asia.
Had dinner there last Saturday. We had a great experience with the new staff and the food was top notch though we had a guest and were less adventuresome than usual. There's a new manager (Andy) and a terrific new part-time server named Joy. Both were very personable and helpful.
The XLB (soup) dumplings were better than I remember so whatever you do, order them and if Joy is there, allow her to demonstrate how to eat them. Loved the Szechuan string beans (though beware they come with ground pork which is not noted on the menu). The Shanghai(?) wonton soup was good but DH liked it better than I did. We all enjoyed the excellent flounder in garlic sauce (comes with nice amount of scallions and bok choy).
They have a new menu (prices have increased a bit). The old menu with the pictures is still available but prices are wrong. But definitely worth a visit. As everyone else notes avoid the buffet and make a beeline for the dining room on the left as you enter.