Monday, November 8, 2010
Replacing the corner restaurant in the 99 Ranch Market Plaza is Liang's Kitchen taking over the old Japanese restaurant next to Tapioca Express. They recently just opened their doors and the line has been out the door. Does this mean they are to die for? Nope! People from around here flock to anything that is new and enjoy lining up or being a part of the talk of the town just so they can say they were there. I went on a weekday during lunch and there was still a line outside. Be sure to put your name down and wait near by to be called in. I was willing to sit at a big table and share with others so I got seated faster.
After perusing through their menu I decided on a few items and to my surprise they tell me they are out of a complete section??!?!?! What?? They somehow messed up the dough or lacked the dough, not quite sure, but they didn't have any of their pancakes! Boo! That is a bit irresponsible that they didn't have a good part of their menu. Still, I ordered a bunch of stuff to try and plan to come back just for the different pancake/rolls they offer but most likely take out.
Mom wanted to try their Spicy Red Oil Wonton or as they call it "wanton", $4.75. The wontons were a little overcooked for my liking because the skin tends to be a little too soggy, They have a stronger ginger flavor than what I would like. As for the sauce, I thought the garlic stood out but didn't quite feel any spice or other seasonings to make the dish pop. In fact it was more on the sweet side if anything. This was not what I expected of spicy wontons. I wanted something more Szechuan, but then again Liang's Kitchen was catering more to Taiwanese flavors.
A simple and common dish in Taiwanese cuisine is the Beef & Tendon Noodle Soup, $7.25. The slowly cooked beef should emanate through the soup but I felt that this broth was too light and lacks any real flavor. I ordered this dish with thick cut noodles, which were nice and chewy. Normally I would enjoy a flavor beef noodle soup with delicious crisp green onion pancake, but here they failed to impress with the soup and I didn't even have a decent pancake to snack on or fill up on! >_<# One way I measure a Taiwanese restaurant is their Taiwanese Style Pork Chop Rice, $6.45. I love to hear the crunch as I sink my teeth into a succulent and juicy piece of fried pork chop. The one here was only just alright for me. The batter wasn't as flavorful as the one at Nice Time Deli next door. They do give more side dishes to complement the meat but I thought their cabbage was super bland. I am not one who normally eats my veggies but I do enjoy my pork chop rice with the cabbage that helps balance out the unhealthiness.
The only dish that I actually sort of liked was the House Special Cold Noodle with Chicken, $5.00. At first I thought the dish was a little light because it was hard to mix the sauces into the noodle on a plate. Eventually after a many tosses I got the sauce more evenly mixed. I only wished that it was a little bit more spicy or more garlic, but that is only because I like things more flavorful. Still this was a solid dish and refreshing on a hot day. They give a pretty healthy portion and I took it home then doused it with Sriracha... mmm good!
All in all they are not really worth the wait. I was not very happy with my lunch and I think the server knew because he kept apologizing and saying that I should come back when they have the pancakes again. Hmmm we will see. At first I was stoked to see that they had the beef roll that I'd like to try but after the mediocre lunch the other day, I am not so sure I'd like to come back. All of these items ended up costing us $25-$30? What? That actually sent my Mom over the edge. We can eat around in most places in Irvine for a better meal and be more satisfied.
5408 Walnut Ave
Irvine, CA 92618