28 July 2010

Rich with cultural and culinary treasures

I have never been a fan of the offerings available in the China Pavilion of World Showcase, aside from the occasional egg roll. However, after dining at Nine Dragons last fall, I may very well have to eat my words.
For starters, what could be a very cramped and commotion filled environment has a very relaxed element to the atmosphere which is a well needed relief from the hustle and bustle just outside the restaurant’s unassuming doors. The interior décor is elegant, yet simple, as Nine Dragons is filled with rich colors, deep rosewood panels, and gorgeous artwork from a variety of disciplines.
My cohort for the dining affair was my good friend, and regular dining campanion, Glenn Whelan, and the pair of us decided on the Nine Dragons Family Dinner Set. The fixed price meal allows each guest to choose a bowl of soup, entrée, and dessert from a pre-set menu of options. With only two soup selections, three main dishes, and two desserts, Glenn and I opted to try as much as possible. Glenn sampled the Hot and Sour Soup, Honey-Sesame Chicken, and Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream. For my part, I went with the Chicken Consomme with Pork Dumplings, Canton Pepper Beef, and Caramel Ginger Ice Cream. The only item left out of our feast was the Sweet and Sour Pork.
In my experience, there are two types of Chinese restaurants in the country, the quick carry out specialists/buffets and the more complex meal authorities. After my meal at Nine Dragons, I firmly believe in falls into the latter category. With such a dense history of food and, honestly, a culinary heritage unlike any other it is easy to not rise to the occasion of Chinese food, especially when the something as simple as wrecking rice can completely obstruct the rest of the meal. Nine Dragons makes the task look effortless in the way in combines uncommon elements together, such as the caramel and ginger, and subtly layers the flavors of traditional favorites, a la the Canton Pepper Beef. All and all, this was a terrific meal, and I am sure to head back to Nine Dragons again.


Zanna said...

The handful of times I've been to Nine Dragons, it's always been because it was 10,000 degrees outside and we new it would be empty and cold. Is that wrong of me? I've loved it every time, but it's just never a place I think to go unless we can't find anywhere else to go. I'm glad you gave it some love though. The pepper beef is exceptional. I do wish they'd done the refurb they once talked about with the noodle chefs pulling the dough visible from the kitchen. Did I just imagine that?

Great pics too!

Unknown said...

I love the Nine Dragons. However, one restaurant I will never give a second chance to is the Rose & Crown. Possibly THE worst meal I ever ate. I ordered lamb and received two tiny peices (which tasted like no lamb I ever had) smeared with what can best be described as McDonalds barbecue sauce. When the server asked me how it was and I replied "disgusting!" she must have thought I was being ironic because she just said "okay" - no "I'll get the manager" / "would you like to choose something else?"

I am English, the Rose & Crown is not representative of our best - trust me!