The experience

After an exhausting afternoon taking an advantage of Texas Tax Free Holiday, we were off to dinner.  We decided on an old friend, May Dragon.  Dubbed the only Four Star Chinese Restaurant in Dallas

They seated us promptly.  We are always concerned that one day this wonderful secret will be unearthed and we’ll have to actually wait for a table, but thus far, we’ve always been able to get right in.  They asked us if we’d like a table or a booth.  When you’ve got kids, booths are the way to go.  Especially when you forget your son’s clip on chair.  Doh!  They suggest a booster and we agree, this will be Benjamin’s first experience in a booster chair.  Mina never used a booster chair, it was always a disaster when we tried to use them.  She’d try to get out, fall over, cry.  If we didn’t have the clip on chair we’d just suffer with her on our laps or in a booth.

Benjamin was quite impressed with the booster chair and seemed very content.  We order the pork pan-fried dumplings and drinks right off.  They dropped off “crunchies” with a side of sweet and sour sauce and a side of hot mustard.  I don’t know what the real name of those little “crunchies” is.  They are deep fried strips of dough that aren’t salty or sweet, just addictive.  Mina loves them.  I thought Benji would, too.  So I gave him some with a spoon to play with.  He immediately threw it aside angrily.  He gave me a stern look and said “Mo!” while pointing toward the sauces.  Well, I can tell you he was not going to get his hands on that sticky sweet and sour sauce.  Forget it.  “MO!” I hear again with more crunchies getting tossed towards me.  Okay, Benji, you win…sort of.  I took the hot mustard and dipped his spoon in it.  “What?  No, no, no.” I hear his Papa say.  Sure, he’s sitting across the table and not having to deal with a precariously sitting, angry 15 month old.  He can have empathy.  I have to have solutions. So, I let him try the mustard, and as antipicated, his little mouth turns upside down and he cries for his water.  He sucks some water down and that ends the desire for any sauces.  He realizes the fun of the crunchies and is quite happy to munch on those.  Problem solved. 

Ogre and I have our old favorites here.  Dinner is served family style and we typically get an appetizer and 2 entrees. This comes with soup and we order hot and sour soup.  Ogre has second thoughts thinking Benji might like the egg drop soup.  Nah, we’ll just go with what we already ordered.  When the soup arrives, we dig out all the tofu for Benji.  I’m a little worried that he’ll think it’s too spicy, especially after his experience with the mustard, but he seems to like it.  Once again, it becomes a problem if he runs out of tofu in front of him.  It becomes more of a problem when we run out of tofu to give him.  Ogre decides to give Benji the last little bit of soup he has in his bowl.  Benji loves it, which I’m very surprised about because this soup definitely has some kick.  Ogre is beaming with pride, ahhh, a child after his own heart.  Ogre is a total spice-head and really wants one of his children to follow suit.  We all know it won’t be Mina.

The pan-fried dumplings also arrived and we each get one.  This is one of Mina’s favorites.  When she was younger and even MORE picky than she is now, we’d have to order two of these so she would eat SOMETHING at dinner.  Benjamin thinks these are grand also.  The appetizer comes with 6 so they each get to have two.  The food arrives and we are off to a great dinner.  We ordered the May Dragon Steak Kews and the General Savitz Chicken.  The steak kews come with veggies and the chicken comes with a wonderful sweet vinegar marinated cucumer side dish.  Mina gets 1 baby corn and broccoli as her vegetable mission for the evening.  Benji points at the rice and says “Ri, ri.”  My Filipino parents have been raising him well.  He gets rice on his plate and I give him some bits of broccoli, baby corn, and carrots.  I also give him some of the chicken.  He loves all of it.  He mainly sticks to the rice and chicken, but every once in awhile I catch him putting the broccoli in his mouth. 

During dinner, Mina asks, “Why is the government bad in China?”  Excuse me, my four year old daughter, where on earth did that profound question come from?  Apparently, she and her papa (that’s what she calls her dad) have been having some deep conversations.  He reiterates to her the values of Communist China and not being able to do what you want.  Uhhh, this is pretty heavy stuff for dinner on a Friday night.  Can we talk about Michael Phelps or something?

The subject changes when Mina drops some chicken onto herself and we have to remind her to eat over her plate.  She often forgets her surroundings and thinks she is a fairy princess swinging her hands through the air with food between her fingers.  Ogre wipes her shirt off and chides her a little bit more. I eye Benji’s clothes and he has soup all down the front of his shirt, rice smushed into his legs and chicken in his booster seat.  Nice. 

We are all done with dinner -except Mina.  She still needs to finish her veggies.  Ogre and Benji open their fortune cookies to munch on and Benjamin says “Goo, goo” for good and requests more “Coo.”  Mina finishes off her vegetables after Ogre tries to explain to her that taking a long time to eat her vegetables, taking small bites, and chewing for prolonged periods of time does not make it any easier.  He tries to make her eat the baby corn piece in one bite.  I feel sorry for her and tell her that two bites would be okay.  Ogre scowls at me from across the table.  I mouth “babysteps” to him.  I’m pretty sure he rolled his eyes at me.  She finishes off her vegetables.  The 2 inch piece of baby corn was finished in 4 bites. 

We each open our fortune cookies and read our fortunes.  I let Benji have mine.  Mina’s cookie says “A good deed results in a good reward.”  We explain to her what that means (the reward being feeling good about what you did and not that you get something back)  and she immediately gives Benji half of her fortune cookie.   That was very sweet of you, Mina.

The owner of this restaurant is Joe Chow, who is actually the mayor of Addison.  He was there tonight and we chatted with him briefly as we walked out.  Topic of conversation: Michael Phelps had just won his seventh gold (and just barely)!

 

The food

The Phipps family really like the food at May Dragon.  Everything always seems so fresh!  I would not put this type of Chinese food in the same category as what they have in Richardson, nor would I say it goes with the type of Chinese they serve at P.F. Changs.  Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle, but certainly a little more upscale than your usual Chinese joint.  We rotate three dishes there.  The May Dragon Steak Kews, General Savitz Chicken, and the Garlic Prawns.  These dishes, particularly the steak kews and the prawns represent culinary excellence.  I also think the pan-fried dumplings and the hot and sour soup are some of the best in town!  Ogre thinks this is the most amount of food Mina has eaten in months.  That says a lot!!

Dinner is served family style, so while there is no child menu, it is still is a great menu for families.  We have come here with both of our parents and sat at one of the big round tables with the giant lazy susan and I just think it’s fun to spin for food!

 

The service

Our family hasn’t been to this restaurant in over a year.  Still, when the waiter showed up, he welcomed us with a huge smile recalling us from visits before.  He chatted with us for a bit about our kids (he apparently has kids that are the same age as ours) before we got down to the business of ordering drinks.  There seemed to be either a mix up or just waiters helping each other out because another waiter we’ve had frequently came behind him to get our drinks also remembering us from before and chatting with us.  These two guys tag-teamed our table the entire evening up until the very end.  In fact, one dropped off the bill and the other one picked it up.  Service here is consistently good.

 

The kids

When you walk into this establishment, I would say it’s a lot nicer than most of the restaurants that proclaim their kid-friendliness; yet, I do not feel uncomfortable at all with the kids, even when they act up and make a mess.  There are dividers everywhere, which also makes me feel better that others can be shelftered from the Phipps fiasco.  I’m just going to put this out there for the moms who want to know about diaper changing.  In the bathroom, there is technically not a changing station, but the counter is long enough that you could change a baby or toddler in the bathroom if you needed to. 

When we asked Mina what she thought, she said, “I give it 15 stars!!”  So that, my friends, is why May Dragon, gets FOUR STARS from the Phipps, too!

 

Rants, Raves, and Ramblings

This has nothing to do with food.  I just want to give a shout out to Nastia Lukin and her family, who are fellow Parker residents.  I couldn’t be prouder of and happier for them!  I was at work last night hollering up a storm while watching it.  That just totally rocks!

Total price: $59.80 (that includes 2 tsingtaos)

What did Guidelive say about it?

Best Chinese -Dallas Observer

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