On the prowl for dinner one Friday night, the hubby and I found ourselves outside of Ding How II. Located in the Fresh Market shopping center at Airport and Whitesburg, we must have passed it by a hundred times without ever really noticing the unassuming storefront. It had finally caught our eye though and we headed in.
We had arrived after the peak dinner crowd and there was only a sprinkling of other patrons in the restaurant. After a short staring contest with the bulge-eyed orange fish guarding the dining room, we were seated in a comfortable booth. The menu offered a variety of items including egg fu young, pho and, from 11-2 on weekends, Dim Sum.
The dinner combos included a spring roll, fried rice and our choice of soup. I ordered the Beef with Vegetables combo while the hubby opted for the Kung Pao Chicken. We both selected the egg drop soup over the hot and sour. We settled into our booth, listening to the light music, and had barely had time to settle in when our soup appeared.
In addition to our individual bowls of soup, we were brought a large bowl of fried won ton wrappers to share. The oil lent a nice flavor but wasn't so heavy as to be greasy. Imminently snackable, they almost didn't make it to the soup. The soup itself was thick and full bodied with lots of bits of egg and a light chicken broth like flavor.
Quick on the heels of our soup came our entrees. The beef in my Beef with Vegetables (shown at the top of this post) was slightly chewy, but the viscous soy based sauce ensured it was tasty. The vegetables were fairly unremarkable, the carrots were crunchy, the bamboo shoots canned, and the mushrooms pronounced "mushroomy" by my husband, the official mushroom taster of the Dining Dragon.
Large slices of onion added crunch but no real flavor. The broccoli and water chestnuts were subsumed by the flavor of the sauce. Overall, the sauce determined the dish and on that measure it succeeded; not too thin, too thick, or too salty. The vegetables were average grocery store produce but they looked prepared on site and overall the dish was a step up from your standard Chinese food.
The spring roll featured a crunchy exterior and a dense filling comprised of cabbage and carrots, seasoned with pepper. The cabbage made the roll slightly squeaky against my teeth, but I was happy with the light touch used for frying as it was not overly greasy.
The fried rice was made from sticky, short grained rice with a sparse smattering of tender peas and carrots.
The hubby enjoyed his meal, finding the green pepper especially delicious.
Our check came with orange slices as well as the omnipresent fortune cookies. The orange slices were seeded and weakly sweet but refreshing and a welcome addition. The fortune cookies were an upgrade from the usual fare, clearly fresh with a stronger vanilla flavor.
With better atmosphere and food than your average Chinese spot, Ding How is worth a trip. Their website boasts that they are MSG free and you can taste the difference in their sauces. I'm excited to see that they have a dim sum menu and am looking forward to going back again to try it.
Total for the meal: $23.17 (Includes two entrees and two drinks)
View Larger Map