Open for lunch and dinner daily
|Spicy Pork Bulgogi ($7.95 lunch)|
Take some decent but uniform "Pan Asian," add one part creepy vibe of former Village Inn, mixed with a dash of good old family-owned feeling, and a heavy dose of quirk (extensive girly fauxtini menu and a free beer for liking them on Facebook), and voila, you've got Crystal Jade.
Uncle Steve and Aunt Shirley are the peeps who run the place, and a quick scan of their booze menu would lead you to believe they're into having a good time: Everyday is "Happy Day" with $5 sake bombs, for example. Getting drunk would be trippy here, though; lunch was populated by large business groups and kids with Grandpa, all chowing down in a snazzed up former diner chain. The metal-backed chairs were cool, though.
|Chicken Hot Garlic Sauce ($6.75 lunch)|
As for the food, well, it was just as monochromatic as it looked in those Aksarben Cinema advertisements you may have seen before your movie. The Spicy Pork Bulgogi and the Chicken with Hot Garlic Sauce looked disturbingly similar, almost like they were cut from the same steam table pan. Major gripes include the absence of the advertised snow peas in the bulgogi, the utter lack of spiciness on menu items marked with the little red pepper (maybe they crank it up at dinner?), and the fried rice that tasted like white rice coated with some soy sauce. The good news was that I was hungry a few hours later, not because of MSG, but rather because everything tasted fresh and healthy. The veggies were crunchy, and nothing -- not even the hot and sour soup -- was too salty.
Sometimes I wonder if I just didn't order the "right thing." Props for the gluten-free and vegan dishes, but this wheat-eating omnivore is still on the search for great (Americanized) Chinese.
|Egg Drop Soup|
|Hot & Sour Soup|
|Underwhelming Fried Rice|