Friday, September 17, 2010

Spiced Right - Tasty China Revisited

So I've already written about Tasty China. And I love it. But with a new chef that everyone is raving about, I had to make it back to try some of his food. Peter Chang, one of the original chefs of Tasty China, is back after a break from the Marietta eatery. For a while there was rumor of him opening his own place in Atlanta and there was and still is so much buzz surrounding the guy, you'd think people were mistaking him for David Chang.

So I'm going to debunk the rumors right away. The food isn't any better with chef Chang in the house. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing considering how great their dishes already are. We went with a large group so I got to try some old and new plates, and a couple were outrageously good.
The Fish and Coriander rolls are a really great start to a meal. Light, delicate and flavorful, there ain't nothing wrong with these.
The Iron Griddle Chicken with Scalions is a spectacular mash-up of flavor and spice and is now my favorite chicken dish they serve. While I still love the Shan City Chicken, this just brings more flavor to the table without having to be fried (like many of Tasty China's great dishes).
The waitress also recommended the Crispy Beef (I think that's the name of it). Essentially beef is stuffed into Tofu skins, rolled into swirls and fried. This was a pretty unique creation, but not one of my favorites of the night.
My new absolute favorite is the Roasted Fish with Green Onion and Pepper. The fish was prepared to the utmost perfection; Crispy, spicy crust surrounding the most tender, moist and flaky fish.

I actually thought the dried fried eggplant wasn't as good as its previous incarnation. The eggplant was cut too thickly and didn't pack the crunch, or flavor, of the original rendition. I don't know whether to attribute this to an off night or Chef Chang's twist?

Mushrooms up front, eggplant in the back

The dried fried mushrooms were delicious. Meaty, slightly gamey, and just the right amount of chew, I'd gladly substitute these for any number of fried snacks or even popcorn at the movie theatre. Addictive.

Midway through the meal, someone ordered the pan-fried bread. While it was a nice change from the spice, I felt the onion-filled bread was just average. Pung Mie used to have one that was really terrific and this one just couldn't measure up.
The peppery aftermath

You might not be able to tell from the picture above, but I thought the food was not as spicy as it has been in the past. I actually appreciated that Chef Chang harnessed the powerful Szechuan peppercorn and used it more deftly than the previous chef. This allowed for a greater appreciation of the food, while still having to reach for ones water glass regularly.

I'd really put more hype on the owner, Phoung than chef Chang. She is so personable and makes the dining experience fun. She also makes great suggestions. The last few times I've been, she was not there - does anyone know if she's OK?

Tasty China on Urbanspoon

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