The good folks at nashvillerestaurants.blogspot.com have confirmed rumors that Lucky Bamboo, the new Chinese restaurant on Charlotte Ave., is serving dim sum on the weekends.

Lucky Bamboo
5855 Charlotte Pike
Nashville, TN 37209-3101
615.457.3133

We’ve been waiting to visit the restaurant, waiting until they work out the service and restaurant snafus.  Customer reviews and nashvillerestaurants suggest a rough opening right now.

There’s even some hint that this might be one of Nashville’s few attempts at a “good Chinese” restaurant–as opposed to what I’ve recently noted in my last post.

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Chinese Food in Nashville

February 20, 2010

In America, there’s good Chinese food and bad Chinese food.  Let me explain:  good Chinese food is served up by restaurants that attempt to offer un-Americanized or regional Chinese food. They don’t do buffets, and they don’t put sushi dishes or rolls on their menus.  They can come across as rude to English-speaking customers.  They often have untranslated menus in Chinese characters.  They offer feet, innards, and things not available at Harris Teeter, Kroger’s, Whole Foods, Publix, or Trader Joe’s.  There are a variety of Chinese vegetables.  They may have algae-infested tanks of crustaceans, fish, and eel.  Service is dependably lousy.  They don’t apologize or explain to customers their way of business; customers deal with it.  Nashville has no such restaurant.  A sad reality.

What we do have, however, are bad  Chinese restaurants.  This means buffet lunches, “chicken McNugget on a stick” (as heard from a fellow diner recently), sauces in packets, chicken breasts only, broccoli as your only vegetable, a brown rice option, and vegetarian egg rolls.  These restaurants serve up food they think Nashvillians imagine what Chinese food should be.  We have a variety of such restaurants.  It’s all a matter of figuring out:  which are the good bad-Chinese-food restaurants?

Probably the most well-known and consistent example of a bad-Chinese-food restaurant is PF Chang’s on West End.  Desperate for any kind of Chinese food when we first moved here, we ate there a few times.  First impression:  there’s nothing more offensive than a waiter coming up to our table and asking if we’ve ever had Chinese food before–only to then explain it’s served family style.  [Ask if we’ve been to PF Chang’s before, and that’ll go over better.]  I don’t need you to explain the sauces at the table either, thanks.  Second impression, we once asked a server if they had bok choy that night.  She turned to us and asked incredulously, “What, you think this is a real Chinese restaurant?”  Confirmation that this is another bad-Chinese-food restaurant.  Golden Coast, August Moon, Chinatown, et al. fall under this category–albeit at a cheaper price.

There are days when I’m craving Chinese food, and I drive all over town.  I’m hoping for the best bad-Chinese food that will churn my stomach the least.  I return most often to:

China Spring (next to the Melrose Kroger)
2613 Franklin Pike
Nashville, TN 37204-3042
615.386.3892‎

It’s a buffet-ed lunch, though with an interesting lunch crowd.  Their buffet’s meat dishes are all variations of chicken, save the beef and broccoli.  For lunch or dinner, you can always order off the regular menu and get decent dishes.  Not a sit-down dinner place, but more of a take-out dinner option.  Strip-mall architecture and decor.  Nevertheless, they at least play Chinese music, and the food is cooked with fresh ingredients.  The gentleman who works the cash register can be charmingly snarky.  To-go portions are quite bountiful, and their low-mein is worth a try.  So goodly bad, it doesn’t have its own website.

Eating in NYC

December 26, 2009

We arrived in NYC yesterday, on Christmas day. The airport was half empty, and we took the 59th St. Bridge from LaGuardia.  Everything about NYC seemed to be moderated: the cab fare, the street traffic, the density of people, even the winter  weather.

Our first order of food business was a mid-afternoon snack: Zabar’s smoked salmon and H&H bagels with cream cheese and E’s sliced veggies with salt.

After Up in the Air (a product-placement disappointment), we had dinner at the Grand Sichuan on 7th Ave.  We went with a group willing to order aplenty and adventurously.   Appetizers included Sichuan cold noodles, ox tongue and tripe with spicy Sichuan sauce, and Shanghai dumplings with love and soup inside, all washed down with a round of Tsingtao.  For the main course, Ggg ordered some Pinot Blanc 2006, Domaine Ostertag imported by Kermit Lynch (a point of emphasis here: a Chinese food restaurant with Kermit Lynch wine!).  First came the greens: sauteed pea shoots and sauteed Shanghai bok choy.  Ahs preferred the pea shoots. Then arrived the shredded chicken with sour cabbage (just ok), lamb with scallions (delicious), steamed whole fish with ginger, and the best dish of the night, “red cooking pig’s elbow,” which had been simmering all day in a thick, tart sauce.  The least satisfying dish was the steamed fish, which was a bit too fishy, of the bottom-feeder variety. The after-taste of the Sichuan spices complimented the rich texture of the ox tongue and tripe, the noodle appetizers were subtly garnished with minute amounts of minced greens, the slices of garlic in the veggie dishes were as crisp as the vegetables.

For a late lunch today, we went with Nat and E to the Shake Shack on Columbus. Finally a burger for ahs to eat after the Times article. It was heavenly.  Ran into the Z-Lo clan.

Headed to dinner now at Uva.

Tomorrow: lunch in Philly.

Dim Sum Rumors?

December 12, 2009

We had heard that there may be a dim sum joint opening up on Charlotte.  the location is sandwiched between K&S Market and Miss Saigon.  We went there today to do some investigation, but couldn’t confirm anything.  With our faces pressed against the tinted windows we saw a restaurant ready to go–at least in the front of the house–as well as a bar area stocked with glassware.  We asked around the shopping center, but no one seemed to know anything.  We’ll keep our ears to the ground, and if anyone hears anything let us know.

Hopefully, the rumors are true.   It’s sad to think that Nashville’s most consistent option for dim sum is Trader’s Joe’s frozen shu mai.  No, Ouyang House does not count as a consistent option for dim sum.