Hey looky, it’s a food blog. Sometimes we forget.
New Kam Fong (2400 University) is, for me, an ideal Chinese restaurant: unassuming, even divey-looking from the outside, and no-frills inside with lots of reds and golds and roasted ducks hanging upside down near the counter. Inexpensive. And, of course, the food is fabulous.
We and our friends got a different set of dishes last night than we did for takeout a month ago, and it was all good. The spicy eggplant was a particularly nice suprise: Chinese eggplant sliced thin, battered, fried, and sweet-spicy-sauced; it was flavorful and crisp to the bite but the eggplant inside instantly melted away. Could have been less sauce, and not a dish I would get for takeout, wouldn’t travel well, but really really good last night. Sizzling lamb with big slices of ginger and scallions was excellent, and so was shrimp-wonton-noodle soup, the broth was quite flavorful and the shrimp-filled dumpling was soft and delicious. “Paper duck” was complicated to eat, lots of bones, but crisp outside, moist inside, very tasty all around. Sauteed yu choy was good too, it reminded one friend of broccoli raab in terms of bitterness.
We also got orange beef, in our ongoing quest to find a version that measures up to Hunan Garden’s Orange Peel Beef (3345 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA). OB/OPB is one of those Americanized Chinese dishes that is usually too sweet, oversauced, not good. Hunan Garden’s is an amazing balance of sweet, spicy, and savory, with not too much sauce. NKF doesn’t measure up — chicken chunks are too large, too much sauce, not enough heat — but it’s still better than average, the flavors are right at least, and our youngest (eight year old) dining companion loved it.
In my experience so far, NKF has great customer service, especially the owner (I think she’s the owner?), who once again was extremely helpful in shaping our order. I can only think of one small complaint, which is that the specials board repeats regular menu items. That is, last night’s sizzling lamb was a special, but is also on the regular menu. How can that be special? Except it is really good, so maybe that makes it special. Deep down inside, we’re all special. (Yes, I watched part of a Mr. Rogers rerun last Monday. Is that so wrong?)