Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Best Chinese in town

I am so lucky. I live near one of the best (in my opinion) breakfast places in town (see review of Sunrise below) and one of the best Chinese (that serves dim sum which is one of my all time favorite things).

For those of you not in the know, dim sum is a Chinese lunch time meal of small plates of various things. Things like (steamed) shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, and many other kinds of dumplings, shu mai, spring rolls, shrimp rolls, duck, onion pancakes, chicken feet and on and on. There are probably 40 things on the menu. You are supposed to drink tea with it although you can pretty much get anything you want to drink.

Oh wait, I guess I better tell you what restaurant I am talking about. Shanghai Lil's is the restaurant. It is located across 82nd street from the main entrance to the Fashion Mall. (Conveniently close to Sunrise). One of the things I was really worried about missing was dim sum when we moved here from San Fran. But luckily, shortly after arriving, we discovered this place, which was serving dim sum on the weekends at the time. It has since expanded to serving it every day for lunch. It is getting more and more popular each time we go which makes me very happy (although you still don't have to wait for a table). They cook it to order, which is unusual to someone used to the huge dim sum places in S.F. and Oakland, where they follow the traditional method of rolling carts around with various things on them for you to choose from. But hey, at least you know it is warm and fresh.

We also recently went for dinner and were very happy with that as well. Several people had highly recommended the basil chicken to me so we decided to try it (be sure and ask even if you don't see it on your menu, as I had one that had been misprinted and that item had been cut off!). It is so worth it! Delicious. Seriously. We also had a lamb dish which was good, but nowhere near as good as the chicken. We also had dumplings in hot chili oil that are amazing as well. Hubby likes crab puffs (their version of crab Rangoon) which generally isn't my fave but was done very well.

Sometimes, particularly at lunch, I find the service a bit gruff, but who cares really when the dumplings are this good?

They also have a full Japanese menu with sushi and all--haven't ventured there, but I did eat at the sister restaurant, Mikado, downtown, and it was quite good. It is a more Japanese focus.

My advice, skip the huge lines and noise at the massive chain Chinese across the road, and hit Shanghai Lil's. You won't be disappointed.

Shanghai Lil's
317/205-9335
http://www.shanghai-lil.com/

Monday, March 17, 2008

More smoky goodness

I have been away awhile but have had many good meals...so I must update. We went back to Bugg's Temple a couple of weeks ago and had an even better meal than the first time we went. We were happy to see some new menu changes (which always gets me excited---I know, it doesn't take much) and tried some of them. I had the lobster ravioli and it was delicious and then, I must admit, I had the same thing for my main I had last time, mussels and the fingerling potatoes from the bar menu (I want to say I tried them the second time to make sure the quality was just as good, but really, I just wanted to eat mussels again at the one restaurant in Indy that seems to be able to pull them off). And this time, because I had 2 appetizers for my dinner, I had room for dessert. I am so glad. The banana tart we had was AMAZING. Lots of bananas on pastry with caramel-y sauce and ice cream. Y-U-M. It was all so good. Hubby had the calamari and an appetizer of a venison chop with some foie gras and it was all outstanding. (I had some of all of it).

We also got to chat with the chef (he went around to the tables while we were there and introduced himself) and he was quite lovely. He is a Hoosier at heart who has cooked in many fine cities around the world and has brought himself back here. Sorta reminded me of yours truly, except I have only eaten in many fine cities around the world and found myself back here..

Anyway, the food is great, the ambiance is quite good, the chef is charming and I really like this restaurant. The only downside again was the service. At one point, a waitress (the one we had the first time I think who was a bit surly) who was not our server, came up and picked up our bottle of wine which was about half full, and just said, "I'm just gonna kill this" and proceeded to pour half a bottle of wine into our glasses which still had a bit of wine in them. OK, generally I am not a big service snob, but when you order a bottle of wine, you want it to be poured out over the course of the meal, not in two large pours at one time. Enough said.

It was the first night for our server, but he was quite friendly and fairly knowledgeable about the menu (which as I said had just been changed).

Incidentally, the smokiness has lessened and as we learned from the chef, much of the smell was due to lack of a vent hood.

Go there now. You will not be disappointed.