Pei’s

I mentioned before  how we’ve not been able to get good Mexican food in years. Chinese food was even worse. Everywhere around us Chinese food meant buffet. And buffet meant you  were risking your health with time-temperature abuse. I used to call the chicken on the buffet Petrified Chicken because it sat in the steam table so long. The restaurants were dirty, the service poor, the the food awful. And they were always busy.

We escaped during my daughter’s gymnastics practice for a “date” and went up the street to Pei’s. First thing I noticed was the decor. The place is old but the tables are more like an Applebee’s than what we are used to seeing. When you come in to the left is an area separated off by partitions. This is where the handful of teppanyaki tables are. To the right, behind the hostess station/cash register is an impressive looking sushi bar. Two sushi chefs were working and nearly ever bar stool was filled. Going into the main dining room there were large circle tables with lazy Susans on top. These are perfect tables for large parties. The lazy Susan works great for sharing plates. The only other time I’ve seen these types of tables was in Rome Georgia. But theirs were ancient black lacquered wood. These were a contemporary green Formica.

We went strictly Chinese, no sushi. We ordered the appetizer sampler platter. I’m disappointed in myself that I did not get a picture of it. It was impressive. Fried wontons, crab rangoons, fried shrimp, great egg rolls and pot stickers. I stopped eating egg rolls where we used to eat because they tasted so foul.

I ordered the Hot and Sour soup. Finally a good cup of hot and sour soup. The place we ate at in Murphy, it tasted like crap, literally. I was forced to start making my own because it was so hard to find any good hot and sour soup. This soup was different in that it also had shrimp and green peas. My wife is allergic to legumes so I got to take hers home for lunch the next day. Bonus!

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The Wife ordered Mu Shu Pork. I can’t tell you anything about Mu Shu Pork because I don’t eat it. She said it was really good. But she was surprised that it was served with Mexican style flour tortillas instead of the thinner Mandarin wrappers she was more accustomed to. Still excellent she said. Both of our dinners came with white steamed rice.

It was too easy to order something I knew and liked, like Mongolian beef. So I just went down the list until I found something I didn’t recognize. I ordered the Yu Shiang Pork. Mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, and bell peppers with hot pepper pods. Lightly breaded pork. All in a garlic sauce. For the first time ever I didn’t pick the pepper pods out. I’ve always been afraid of them because I’ve been told they are raging inferno hot. They really weren’t but they were unpleasantly tough to eat. Very fibrous, like an oak tree leaf. The sauce was sweeter than I would have expected but everything was well balanced and it was good. I would order again. I was thrilled to have water chestnuts because I absolutely love them.

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Behind us one of the teppanyaki grills was having a raucous good time. We’ll have to remember that. There must have been quite the show given the cheers and applause we heard. The teppanyaki menu was cheaper than Osaka’s but to be fair the menu was much simpler.

When we were checking out I noticed the old picture hanging on the wall of a married middle aged Chinese couple. The wife looked incredibly like our server. I asked if they were the owners. “Yes, the original owners, long ago.” Looking behind the cashier I saw an elderly white haired Chinese woman rolling silverware. She would be 30-40 years older than the woman in the picture. Hmm… I said that woman looks a lot like the woman in the picture. The cashier turned around and looked and then grinned big,” that’s because that is her.” And that’s when it hit me why I struggle with going to an Asian restaurant and the hostess is a young blonde white girl and the teppanyaki chef is named Andreas. Or even going to a Mexican restaurant and the server is some white red neck. Unless I’m eating at a chain, I want a family restaurant experience! I love the Greek diner where everyone is family. Even my favorite coffee shop in Michigan, everyone who worked there was family until they needed to expand. And even then family was always present.

Being a family restaurant made me love this experience even more. We will definitely be going back, probably as regulars. I am so happy to finally have a sit down, non-buffet, Chinese restaurant I can depend on for a great meal.

 

 

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