365 Restaurants, 2 Kids, 1 Giant Fiasco
First off, that’s their catch phrase, not mine. I thought it was a little weird, but I think it’s true. In a good way. You’ll see. But back to the task at hand. We decided that it had been awhile since we’ve had Chinese Food. We decided to use another coupon from the “Best of Guide DFW.” Jasmine was the only choice for Chinese in there. Neither one of us had ever been, so it was another adventure for the Team Phipps. Part of the adventure was just getting there. I guess because of Texas-OU weekend, the roads headed south were jam packed! It took us almost 45 minutes to get to Addison (normally about a 25 minute drive). It took so gosh darn long that Benji fell asleep (today he would have been awake for dinner if it had not taken so long -he fell asleep 30 minutes into the drive). So, I had to gingerly pull him out of his carseat and carry him up the flight of the stairs to the restaurant on the second floor.
At the top of the stairs is an aquarium with very “friendly” turtles. Ogre said it’s because they think they’re going to get fed. I like thinking they’re just wanting to get a closer look at the kids.
I requested a booth, which they were able to seat us at (the last one available!) and since he had just fallen asleep, I decided to try to lay him down. I did this ever so carefully, blocking any change in light and then covered his eyes with a napkin…SUCCESS! Ahhh, it felt good to be able to eat dinner with hands free!
We started to look over the menu, which was set up in typical Chinese restaurant style fashion -divided into the appetizers, meat categories, and “house specialties.” I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have very many more “traditional’ (and by that I mean non-Americanized-Chinese dishes). As expected, they didn’t have a kids menu, so we had to figure out we would feed the children. We considered getting Pot Stickers and Boneless Spare Ribs (appetizers), but I thought it would be fun to get the PuPu plater for Mina -and we could have some, too. When Ogre asked which she would rather have, Mina invoked Beavis and Butthead. “Heh-heh. Poo Poo platter! Papa said Poo Poo.” Laughter erupted. I think Mina also felt like she was getting away with something here since poops and gas are not discussed during mealtimes at the Phipps table.
Ogre and I began to hammer out our dinner order and Mina announced that she had to go the restroom. I took her and told Ogre to just decide on our dinner (I was starving!!). Mina and I walked down the long hall to the restroom where Mina noted aloud that there were a lot of doors, which there certainly was, even I thought there was a freakish amount of doors in that hallway for a restaurant. In the bathroom, there are no changing stations, but there is a wall-mounted ashtray. (?)
When we got back, Ogre told me that the waiter said not to worry about ordering dinner right away, the PuPu platter would take 10-15 minutes anywah. Jeez. We decided to order Pork Lo Mein (the kids would like this) and Ogre asked the waiter what “Ma La” was and it was a spicy brown sauce, so we ordered the “Ma La Delight.” Benji was still asleep. Mina munched on those crispy won-ton things while we waited. She also played “Eye Spy with my Little Eye” with Ogre.
When our PuPu platter arrived, Mina thought it was very cool! She wanted to serve up appetizers to everyone, but, for herself, first. When Ogre showed her that we could put food on the little grill looking thing, she was even more impressed! After he started putting stuff on there, she wanted everything “cooked” on there. We all shared the items on the Pupu Platter and I put aside the Chicken on a skewer for Benji in case he woke up. He was still sleeping.
Mina asked me if the egg roll were the same as the ones she and Ethan like. I knew she was probably talking about the Filipino egg roll (Lumpia), but I told her I wasn’t sure since I wasn’t with her and Ethan when they had it. She took one and took a bite -not what she expected, she took a long drink after that, but she must have thought it didn’t taste terrible because she ate more of it later.
Next came the Lo Mein and the Ma La Delight with fried rice. I like to eat my Chinese dinner with steamed rice. So we asked the waiter for some steamed rice. We had some Lo Mein while we waited. Ogre took a bite of the Ma La and his eyes widened a little and he let loose a little cough. Huh. Spicy? He wasn’t sure that I would like it. I’m a spice woos. Great, I thought, guess I’ll be having Lo Mein for dinner. The waiter never came by with my rice and it looked like he’d forgotten, I flagged him down to get my steamed rice and finally got it. I tried the Ma La -it was spicy, but had a great flavor, so I tolerated the spice by drinking a lot of soda with it and diluting it with lots of rice. Of course, drinking lots of soda meant needing refills and I had to basically keep my arm in the air to flag the waiter down for refills.
Benjamin was still asleep. We gave some of the Lo Mein and steamed rice to Mina. She told us she was going to eat half of her egg roll. She asked me to take a picture of her “Purple Horn, Purple Eater” (One Horned, One Eyed Flying Purple People Eater).
Benjamin finally started to stir. He went back to sleep briefly, but eventually he awoke. After a few disoriented minutes, he dug right into his chicken. I gave him some of the sweet and sour sauce to dip in. I watched him put his mouth close to the bowl as if he was going to lap right out of the bowl and told him to stop. He must have still been in that fragile I just woke up state because he immediately burst into tears and cried “di di.” We were able to distract him with noodles so he quit crying.
Then he decided to try one of the onions from the Ma La Delight. We tried to stop him, but he insisted. Of course, he cried after he did that. Normally, he’s not allowed to have iced tea, but we gave it to him tonight because we had not ordered a drink for him. Later on while he was eating, he yelled at the top his lungs, “WAH!” (he was saying water, but he meant tea). Benjamin even tried to get another piece of onion -I guess he liked the flavor, too! so we had to move the platter with the Ma La aside.
Benji decided to stick to the noodles and chicken after that! Dipped in the sweet and sour sauce though. At one point, his whole hand was covered in sauce and it was dripping down his arm off his elbow. GRRROSS!
All of a sudden, Benjamin declared that he was done and wanted “uh uh ee” (up up please) from me, he reached over crying and grabbing for me while I tried to get Ogre to intervene and take him to the bathroom to wash off. Ogre’s snail pace caused my arms and hair to be coated with sticky sweet red sauce. Awesome.
Mina needed to go to the bathroom again, so Ogre took them both to the restroom. When they got back, Mina continued to work on her egg roll and I told Ogre to take Benji to see the turtles. One of the older couples from another table stopped by to tell me what cute kids we have. Mina told him thank you when he said she was pretty. Very good manners, Mina! After a few minutes, I see a Benj running toward me saying “tuh toe,” then whining it to me and crying. Ogre tells me he wants to show me the turtles. I switch with Ogre and go out to see the turtles with Benji for a bit before going back in to find Mina finishing up her last bite of “string sacks” (that’s what she called the cabbage filled egg rolls).
We say good-bye to the turtles on our way out and head home.
Also, they had someone playing the piano all night -tunes like that song from Titanic, Somewhere My Love, etc. I felt like I was eating in an elevator. Mina danced quite a bit to some of the tunes though…
Overall, I’d say it’s above average. The PuPu platter was average -the standouts were the chicken and the boneless spare ribs. I was disappointed by the crab rangoons (no sweetness at all, and a little too salty). The egg roll and battered shrimp were above average also. My least favorite was the beef on a stick, it was not meaty at all and was very dry.
The Lo Mein was very good -it had this distinct allspice or almost cinnamon flavor so that it doesn’t taste to salty. The pork was very good, in our opinion. Mina was excited to see it as she was running low on the PuPu platter spare ribs, but when she tried it, she said “It tastes funny, I don’t like it.” Picky eater!
The Ma La Delight was actually a nice surprise. It definitely had some kick behind each bite, but the flavor was very good. The meats were all very tender. It was a spicy brown sauce just like the waiter said, but this brown sauce did not taste generic at all, it was very flavorful!
No kids menu here, you might be able to use appetizers such as Pot Stickers to keep ‘em fed.
Especially when compared to yesterday, service was not stellar. He was not attentive and we had to flag him down when we needed something. The entrees came out slowly and every request had a slow response. Ogre flagged him down so much for iced tea that the waiter just set the pitcher down on our table so he coudl refill himself! Ogre thought this was a great idea, I thought it was a little ridiculous.
Overall, not very kid friendly. For a Chinese restaurant, it has the expected amount of kid friendliness. Chinese restaurants typically don’t offer a kids menu or crayons. The fried won tons, though, are a nice distractor. You can also order and eat family style here, which is always nice for families, particularly with older kids.
In summary, above average food, average kid friendliness, below average service = 3 stars.
The toal: $34.40 (25% off)
At first I was perplexed by why they would call themselves “Uniquely Chinese.” When you look at the menu, it’s not much different than most Chinese joints in town. They call Kung-Pao dishes “Murango” and they have this “Ma La” sauce and I guess that’s what makes them unique?! I will give them credit though, the Ma La sauce was unlike anything I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant and it was very good -flavorful and spicy -so I agree it’s Uniquely Chinese.
Childsplate.com chronicles our journey to find the perfect family restaurant. We are looking for restaurants with excellent food and a great attitude towards kids, even the whiny, cranky ones! We will be headed out to a different restaurant every single day to provide ourselves (and you) with some entertainment and good information about DFW area restaurants. We hope you will visit frequently and use our experiences to create some fun dining experiences of your own! Watch out, DFW, the Phipps family is going out to eat!