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RICE OF PASSAGE

Shanghai Garden, another snazzy dining room with an enviable location (Southglenn Mall in Littleton), also packaged its sauce separately. This time the order was lemon scallops ($10.95). The scallops were good enough to eat by themselves: Sparsely coated with flour, they had been flash-fried, a technique that brought out their flavor without drowning them in grease. But the lemon sauce was no bonus: It was too mild, despite the inclusion of lemon slices. Another lifeless sauce, this one augmented by scallions and carrots, covered the otherwise excellent shrimp lo mein ($7.75). The noodles had a good, nonmushy consistency and contained lots of small shrimp that had been twisted before cooking so that they were easy to pick up with chopsticks.

The cabbage-ridden insides of the egg rolls ($2.25 for two) had all the mushiness missing from the lo mein, and their wrappers were like newspaper left out in the rain. The hot-and-sour ($2.50 for a small) had a chile pepper next to it on the menu, indicating that it would be spicy, but no go. And the egg drop soup ($2.50 for a small) contained so much corn that it seeemed more like a creamed version of the vegetable rather than a soup.

After those disappointments, I opened my fortune cookie with some trepidation. It read: "You will find love and happiness soon." Since he thought I already had, my husband quickly came up with plans for the next day. First, we went walking through the city, me in an oversized shirt and him in high-top sneakers...

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