Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ming's Seafood

This week we tried Ming's Seafood at 1 Brook Street, Quincy (it's actually on Newport Avenue in Wollaston, about a block from La Paloma). This place came recommended to me by the same friend whose parents are from Hong Kong and who recommended Yummy last time. The word was that it had very good food, but got crowded quickly.

It being Saturday night, we knew we had to get there early if we wanted to get a table. We arrived at 5 and there were already a couple of families eating, but there were still plenty of tables. Both diners and staff all seemed to speak Cantonese as a first language - a good sign. Also, I've always been told that the mark of an authentic Chinese restaurant is when you see tanks of fish in the window, and sure enough, there was a whole wall of fish tanks as we walked in, full of crabs, lobster, shrimp, and some fish. These were not for decoration; rather, they serve really fresh fish here.

Jim ordered the Beef Chow Foon again, and I ordered Shrimp Lo Mein. We ordered vegetarian spring rolls as an appetizer, and ordered Chicken Udon for the kids. After a few minutes, they brought out heaping portions of the food, and it was all really good. Nothing was too greasy or too salty.

Jim liked the Beef Chow Foon here better than at Yummy Cafe. I also want to mention that Annie tried all three dishes! (We promised her dessert if she tried everyone's dish). She said she liked everything except the onions in Jim's dish.

The service was also excellent. Everyone was really nice to us, even when Ian decided to throw a total fit in the middle of dinner (we ultimately had to take him out of the restaurant after he tried to pull the tablecloth off the table and knocked over a glass of water). The wait staff would come over to refill our water glasses and smile at him and try to make him laugh. They were very kind.

A downside to this place could probably be the parking - it could be difficult to park on Newport Avenue ( very busy street) or Brook Street. We had no problem finding parking, but we also arrived early. The other possible difficulty is that we could see how it would fill up quickly. There are only a few tables available. So it's a good idea, on both counts, to arrive early for dinner!

In sum, this seems like a pretty authentic, Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurant, with excellent food and service.

Given that we've now found two great Hong Kong-type restaurants, we are going to focus our search on yummy Szechuan-style food in Quincy! We're taking a break next weekend due to a business trip, but tune in soon for our next sampling.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Yummy Cafe

Week 2 of our Chinese restaurant adventure! We got take-out from Yummy Cafe, located at 669 Hancock Street in North Quincy. This place came recommended to us by a colleague of mine whose parents are from Hong Kong. He described it as a place that serves comfort-type food, Hong Kong style.

Jim ordered Beef Chow Foon (beef with wide noodles) and Pork Dumpling Soup. I ordered spring rolls (vegetarian) and ginger-scallion lo mein. We ordered chicken fried rice for the kids.

The lo mein was a big hit with me, Jim and (unbelievably) Ian!

It was a pretty simple dish, just noodles, spiced with ginger and mixed with scallions. It was light and tasty.

Jim thought the food was very good, but was hoping for something a bit spicier. Annie and Ian gave thumbs down to the fried rice (but Jim thought it was tasty).  The kids give thumbs down to just about all the food we make that isn't pasta, fruit or hot dogs.  But they gave huge points for the fact that this place included chopsticks in the takeout bag!

A couple of other points.  First, it's cash only. Not a big deal, but you have to be ready. Also, diners could probably eat-in there, but it's a small place and the eat-in facilities aren't kid-friendly (no high chairs, no public restroom). It is located on one of Quincy's busiest streets, so parking seems like it could be an issue, except that they state on their menu that they have more parking behind their building.

Their menu is a lot smaller than many Chinese restaurants, and I actually appreciate that. I'm not one of those people who enjoy getting handed the phone book when I'm expecting a menu. But, on the downside, there were very few vegetarian options.

Our verdict? This place had delicious food. We would go back.

Inferior Terrace

The first restaurant we tried as part of our quest was Imperial Terrace, located on Sea Street in Quincy.  Some background first. We have driven by this restaurant nearly every day since we bought our house 12 years ago. Click on the following link to see what the outside looks like, from  Given the lack of windows, etc., we always envisioned that it would be the sort of place where there was cock fighting going on in the back and people would be eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor. In a word, it was sketchy. So sketchy, in fact, that some friends of ours termed it "Inferior Palace."

In the interest of dispelling all preconceived notions, we knew that this had to be the first restaurant we tried. So, a week ago Friday, we parked and walked inside. It didn't look like anything we expected.


Jim ordered a spicy pork dish and I ordered Vegetarian Moo Shu (also called Moo Shi at other places we've eaten). We ordered shrimp spring rolls as an appetizer, and chicken fingers for the kids.

The food was very heavy and salty.  I didn't get through much of it before my stomach didn't feel quite right. When the waitress came by to see if we wanted to take home any of the food, the only food we brought home was the chicken that the kids didn't eat! I knew I wasn't going to eat any more of my dish.

The service was pretty good, but unremarkable.

Also, this may sound gringa of me, but usually you're offered chopsticks at Chinese restaurants, and many times the menus are bilingual.  Nothing like that here. These small things and the large number of Buick-type cars in the parking lot let us to believe that this may not be the most authentic of Chinese restaurants in Quincy.

All in all, it wasn't as sketchy as we imagined, but we won't be back. Here are Jim and Ian in front of their cowboy front doors, on the way out:


The Great Chinese Adventure

One of our joint new year's resolutions this year is to find good Chinese food in Quincy. We have lived in Quincy for 15 years and it has a very large Chinese population. However, we have failed at finding any good Chinese restaurants in our hometown.

Here's a list of Chinese restaurants that we have tried in the past that we didn't like very much:

Cathay Pacific in North Quincy
Great Chow, Beale Street, Quincy
Mr. Chan's (technically in Milton, but close enough)
Mandarin King, Washington Street, Quincy (next to Dairy Queen)

This year we will change things. How will we find our next "go-to" Chinese restaurant? The plan is to try a new restaurant every Friday night. Tune in for the results.