Monday, October 8, 2007

Mei Tzu Restaurant Review

Mei Tzu in 4 Prospect Hill Road, East Windsor CT.

Trevor and I had sushi there on Sunday after realizing that Oishi was closed that evening. So perhaps we didn't start off on the best foot since we wanted something else.

I got the fried dumplings and fried shrimp tempura. The tempura was way over-battered and the oil seemed to have lingering aroma. It didn't taste bad but I had the feeling the oil was tainted by something they fried beforehand, like fish or some other seafood. It was all cooked but it was just too thickly battered up so you could hardly taste the shrimp. Good tempura should have a very light crisp coating and not mask whatever food it's encasing.

The dumplings I had were pretty good, but a tad too gingery. On the other hand, I got a very generous portion of 8 fried dumplings instead of the usual 4 or 5.

Trevor had sushi because he can't go to a new place and not have the sushi. It was mediocre. I'd say 2 1/2 out of 4 stars for the overall experience. It wasn't Oyama-bad, it just wasn't satisfying. Trevor was particularly upset that the soy sauce they served was all sweetened. There wasn't a bottle of regular, non adulterated soy sauce available anywhere in the dining room and Trevor had to ask specifically for regular soy sauce from the kitchen. The rice was really glutinous and chewy. It was beautifully plated, but it wasn't good enough to warrant going back for. They do however also serve a number of Chinese and Thai dishes we did not try. If we go back we'll probably be having Chinese instead.

The tendency for Chinese-Japanese restaurants is that the Japanese food is 2nd fiddle to the Chinese fare. The owners are always Chinese and I think they have a small Japanese offering just to satisfy an under-represented market of Japanese food. If they can mark-up some fish and rice to $5 a roll and get away with it, they're just walking away with nothing but profit. I'm sure that they see it as a great way to line their pockets with pretty minimal input. The unfortunate result however is that there is a lot of pretty horrific sushi on the market that happens to thrive because many people don't know good sushi from bad.

I'm really not some sort of crazy gourmet. I'm actually only picky about Asian food. I probably couldn't complain at length about American food because I don't really have a lot to compare it to. I've eaten my mom's Asian food since I was a baby and she mashed up my baby food in the food processor whereas my American food exposure comes from pre-packaged food, eating out and eating over at other peoples' homes.

In my mind I still kind of think all American people eat stuff that's fried, covered in cheese, covered in chili, covered in gravy, doused in ketchup or equivalent tomato based sauce and/or smeared with butter.