January 15, 2011

Fortune Express

Fortune Express, as depicted by the painting inside.
We were going to make salmon tonight, but with my lack of sleep and perpetual laziness, we decided to make the trip out for food. We decided on Fortune Express as we'd heard good things about it and hadn't yet found a good nearby Chinese place.

The interior of the place at first glance was like any other Chinese restaurant: clean, a bit tacky, with an arrangement of tables and assorted decorations.  We chose a booth to the side of the room, and our waitress (who was also helping with carry out orders and acting as a hostess and busser) brought menus. She took our drink order and was back a moment later with waters and a pot of tea.

The inside is pretty typical.
Hot tea, 75¢
For starters we ordered an egg roll, hot & sour soup and fried dumplings. For the main course I took the General Tso's Beef & Chicken, while Teresa went with Mongolian Beef (the waitress's recommendation).

Hot & Sour Soup, $1.75
The appetizers arrived a few minutes later, all looking to have been freshly prepared. I started with the Hot & Sour Soup. It was vegetarian, with bits of tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and egg swirled in and a nice dicing of scallions on top. It came with a side of hard noodles. The flavor was fresh, with heavy notes of soy sauce and a bit of sugar to round things out. I should also mention this is the first Hot & Sour Soup that Teresa has ever been willing to have more than a single sip of, a good sign indeed.

Egg Roll, $1.35
The egg roll was next. It was a bit more standard, crunchy, with a filling of cabbage, scallions and ground seasoned pork. The dumplings were unfortunately not my cup of tea. They were filled with a flavorless ground pork, fried only on one side (and a bit burnt), and it was a bit too gooey for our palates. Luckily, it seemed to be the only blemish on the meal. Our waitress looked worried by the little bit of dumplings that had been eaten, and assured us that the main courses would be worth the wait. They were.

Pan Fried Dumpling, $4.35
My mouth began watering just from the sight of the dishes. Our entrees looked delicious, with large cuts of chicken and steak, thick and aromatic sauces, and large fresh-steamed (and/or sautéed) vegetables. A large shared bowl of steamed rice accompanied the dishes.

General Tso's Beef & Chicken, $9.50
I dug right in to the General Tso's Beef & Chicken. The beef pieces were made from thinly-sliced beef, dipped in batter and fried until the beef seems to disappear, leaving a light airy beefy crunch behind. Divine. The chicken was a mixture of large pieces of breast and thigh meat, with moisture locked into every bite. The sauce had hints of soy, tomato, garlic and chili pepper, each flavor complementing the meat perfectly. The broccoli itself was simply steamed and placed on the side. It made a nice contrast to the powerful taste of the sauce.

Mongolian Beef, $8.75
Teresa's Mongolian Beef was every bit as good, though I only tried a few small bites. It employed the same thinly-sliced steak, sautéed in a pan with onions, scallions and broccoli (she substituted the bamboo shoots for broccoli).  The brown sauce it came with had similar flavor notes as the Hot & Sour Soup: dark with hints of soy, sugar and scallions. It reminded me of some of the best Asian steak dishes I have had in this town, and was a long cry from the typical congealed brown sauces I'm used to.

The service was excellent, and the small staff very attentive. All in all, a good use of $30.  I'm sure I will be back soon!

Fortune Express on Urbanspoon

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