Panda was recommended to me ages ago when I was starting to suss out locally owned eateries. Every so often, I'd look at it as I drove by and think "I've got to try that place." It's day finally came one Saturday when the hubby and I were out running errands. Tuckered out, we decided to stop in for dinner instead of heading home to cook. We were early for dinner and throughout our meal we were the only customers in the shop. Given the numerous lunch specials (which are available on Saturdays as well), I'm guessing they draw a much larger lunch crowd.
We settled in and perused the menu, noting both the sushi and the dedicated vegetarian sections. It didn't take us long to make our selections. I opted for orange chicken and the hubby decided on chicken lo mein.
As we waited for our food to come up, I tried to place the vaguely musty smell. The hubby swore he noticed nothing so I wondered if it was due to my seat being near a damp window. After a short while, I got attenuated and ceased to notice it.
Since our meals were dinner plates, they each came with fried rice and an egg roll. The plates came up piping hot and aesthetically plated.
My orange chicken came drenched in a thick, syrupy sauce. Sweet with just a bit of a kick, it enveloped the chewy fried coating. Bits of orange peel let off wafts of strong orange scent as I moved things around my plate. The fried rice was a bright saffron color, but had no real flavor aside from the small pieces of vegetables--flavorful onions, rather bland carrots and peas. The egg roll had a mushy, under-cooked interior and an indistinguishable filling. A few red bits looked like they might have been imitation crab, but overall it was a beige mass.
The hubby's lo mein (shown at the top of the post) was passable, but not anything out of the ordinary. Our check came with the standard fortune cookies. These seemed vaguely lemon flavored but were chewy and otherwise flavorless.
I'm glad we went because now I know I'm not missing out on anything grand. The food is run of the mill food court Chinese food. I was happily surprised by the flavor of my orange chicken, but the thickness of the sauce was a bit alarming. Coupled with the underwhelming egg roll and my tea which was so weak as to be water and I won't be back.
Total for the meal: $17.77 (includes two dinner plates and two drinks)
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