Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So upsetting! Upon someone's recommendation I was excited to try this new place that opened up in El Toro. It's called Taste of Asia and it's suppose to be a very spicy place like YunChuan Garden, but it can NOT hold a candle to it. YunChuan Garden is 10 million times better and the prices are much more reasonable! We went late in the afternoon today so it wasn't as crowded, but there were still some people there. It's a very small place in a strip mall. Since it's new, it is actually very clean. The decor is very vibrant and colorful with a modern twist. It almost doesn't feel like a Chinese restaurant! lol Note: The pictures look a lot better than how the food tastes.
The servers seemed very friendly, but the guy behind the counter... probably the owner... was a little bit impatient. If you walk up to the counter you can get the cold side dishes. They are 3 for $5.50 but we only got the Fu Chi Fei Pian that I love at YunChuan Garden. Here they have a lot less choices in side dishes so we opted in only getting one item. Note: The portions for the side dishes are a LOT smaller than the ones you get at YunChuan Garden. Now onto the taste... WAY TOO SPICY! It's nowhere as good as YunChuan Garden! There wasn't much flavor except spiciness. It should never be too overpowering that you taste nothing else. My Aunt who loves spicy and can take it ate the dish said that she tasted almost nothing. It was too bland for her and it needed more salt. One of my favorite favorite things at YunChuan Garden is their Wontons in Hot Chili Sauce. So of course I had to try that here for myself. Boy was I wrong! This place missed the mark by far! It was flavorless and not spicy at all. The wontons were not flavorful and had an extreme ginger flavor, but nothing else. It was too one-dimensional. They need to beg for the secret recipe from YunChuan Garden. If they could make dishes or sauces like them, their business would be booming! I would also be here almost every other day to get my daily fix.
Since I read some reviews online about their lamb dishes, I decided to get the Mongolian Lamb. After trying the Fu Chi Fei Pian, we realized that their spicy dishes would be way too spicy for us so we were trying to find a dish that's not spicy. Believe it or not, it was actually very hard to find one! They do have some normal Americanized dishes, but we wanted real Chinese food. This dish was actually very good and the portion was not bad. Since there are a lot of onions, it becomes a very sweet, flavorful, and aromatic dish. This ended up being the only dish we actually ate.
Unfortunately I didn't think what we ordered was enough so we added one extra dish. I ordered the Fish Fillet with Garlic and Brown Sauce. The portion was actually very generous, but I must say... BLECH! It had no flavor at all! I wish there was salt by the table to add into the dish. If you know me, I normally don't like to add extra flavor to most dishes... but this one was bland and flavorless. I was hopping that there would be a strong garlic flavor because I love garlic and fish. How could I go wrong? Apparently VERY WRONG.

All in all I will NOT be back. I don't even care if Ms. Lin comes back and wants to try. I am NOT going again. This place has no lunch specials or any deals. It's pretty pricey and the food is not that good. Why would I want to come back? We basically ate NOTHING today. I only managed to eat a little of everything, but that was it. The only dish we finished was the lamb. My Mom eats almost EVERYTHING, but she didn't even want to eat anything else here. What does that tell you when a woman who consumes almost any and everything refuses to eat it?


Anonymous said...

Authentic SiChuan dish can be even spicier.

YunChuan Garden is a good place, but not good enough for me to drive up to LA every week.

Overall this place is pretty good. I am happy that we have something like this in south OC. ( 5 minutes from work, 15 minutes from home, really no complain). price for each dish might be 1 or 2 dollars higher than other SiChuan places in LA, but this is OC: A lot of chinese resturants can not survive here because of the rent and other reguluation rules.

Kat said...

I am a convert on spicy these days and I like spicy things... my tolerance is growing and I continue to like it more. What I am saying about this place is the Fu Chi Fai Pian was way too spicy and had no other flavor. It was too one dimensional versus YunChuan I am willing to keep eating the spicy food because it's flavorful all around.

I am okay with paying higher prices if it is worth it. Like the wontons had NO flavor. It was water and I felt the wontons were going bad. I wished it was spicy. This place is definitely not consistent. I am fair to the dishes, I thought the lamb was really good. Maybe I ordered the wrong dish but based on what I had of the spicy I just really didn't like it. IMHO.

As for it being OC I can understand it being more, but there are a LOT of places in OC that have lunch specials or better dishes for less. I have lived in MV/LF for over 20 years and the rents are not that bad. My parents use to own a restaurant and in a better location. Granted it's getting more and more expensive, but they really are located in a dingy area that shouldn't even be that costly. Those restaurants in Irvine that cost less than here or just about have more worthwhile prices/deals and I bet they have higher rent. After all Irvine is an expensive place to be, not like the small shopping center that Taste of Asia is in.

Rasa Malaysia said...

I have had real Sichuan food in China too many times, and think that the food at Taste of Asia is great and absolutely authentic. All my Chinese friends love it. And the fact that it's in the OC, it's even more precious. I wanted to give my full support to this restaurant so I don't have to go to Monterey Park to get decent Sichuan food.

Anonymous said...

You ordered the wrong things there. I have tried the 紅油抄手 there... NOT GOOD. You need to order 五更腸旺 and 水煮牛肉- however, it is very spicy.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Rasa, I am raised in a Szechaun - cultured family (parents from szechuan province) and I've been many times as well. The authenticity of it in Taste of Asia is very good. So although you might not agree with the tastes, it will be a perfect place for someone who wants authenticity. I also want to add that this chef here makes food even better than places I have tried in Monterey Park. And trust, I have tried ALL szechuan places to find some decent food!

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