Wow, I'm falling behind on the food blogging. It's time to catch up.
Qingdao Garden is a small Northern Chinese restaurant in north Cambridge between Porter Square and Arlington on Mass Ave. We had heard that they had good dumplings, and thus decided to give it a try.
Conclusion: the dumplings are good, the appetizer we got was excellent, but we were disappointed with the stir-fry dish we ordered. We ordered a couple orders of dumplings - a vegetarian spinach dumpling, a pork and leek dumpling, and also their namesake dish, Qingdao Fried dumplings. We also ordered a pork, tofu, and vegetable stir-fry and a cold cucumber salad.
The cucumber salad was excellent. Slices of fresh cucumber tossed with a sesame-oil based sauce and garnished with cilantro. We both really enjoyed that dish a lot.
The dumplings were cheap (about $5 for 12 dumplings) and quite good. I liked how the vegetarian ones were flavorful without feeling too heavy. The meat ones were OK as well. We both agreed that the pan-fried dumplings were better than the boiled ones. The pan fried dumplings are among the best in Boston (which, according to Bryan, is not saying much - I guess he's comparing with California).
The stir-fried tofu and vegetable dish was uneventful. The flavor was a bit boring (salty soy-based gooey sauce) and the dish was a bit oily. We packed it up to go but ended up throwing it out because neither of us really felt like eating it.
Finally, the service was only average. There was only one waitress working at the time, which translated to slow service at times. The clincher for me occurred when I observed the following thing: We had opened the top of our teapot to signal that our tea had gotten cold and we wanted some hot tea. I watched the waitress go into the kitchen, pour the rest of our cold tea into the common tea maker, and then pour out some hot tea from the same container for us. I was a little grossed out by that.
Over all, Bryan said the food wasn't good enough for him to travel "so far" to eat there.
Oh well, it was worth a try.
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