Last week, as part of my renewed quest for good Chinese, I posted a review of the King Buffet. Several readers responded with restaurant suggestions. And, being a responsible blogger, I felt an obligation to follow up on their recommendations.
It’s a tough job, but it’s my duty!
This Week’s Candidate
At the top of the list is a recommendation from my friend Kevin Stuart.
If you are open to a small drive, I would highly recommend New Dragon Diner in West Jordan. They are a small ma and pa shop that does your typical combination of rice, egg roll and meat choice with a bowl of egg drop soup (my personal favorite recipe of any I have ever had especially with a bit of chili sauce). Super cheap ($7-$9/person) and I have never left hungry.
When it comes to food, Kevin is seldom wrong and this is a good example.
Getting to the New Dragon (3078 West 7800 South) was a bit of an adventure, like any trip navigating the west side. Making it even more exciting is that if you blink, you’ll miss the place.
And I did.
But being a simple “hole in the wall” actually added to the charm of the place. You see the whole operation on a trip to the bathroom. It’s basically a clean little place with eight plain booths with Naugahyde seats.
What They Offer
The menu was just as simple, basic choices with combination meals (includes egg roll and fried rice). There was one exception to what you see in most Chinese restaurants in Utah – Egg Foo Young (but more about that in a minute.)
Debra and I each ordered a combination, but afterward I realized that if I were to review this place properly, I might also need to try the Egg Foo Young (EFY). EFY has always been one of my favorite Chinese dishes. Over the years I’ve seen fewer places offer it and what they have offered has often been terrible.
Proof is in the Gravy
Making EFY is not hard (it’s eggs, vegetables, corn starch and soy sauce fried in sesame oil), but what makes or breaks EFY is the gravy – beef gravy of a particular consistency generously salted. I repeat, the gravy needs to be just right.
Now I’ve had EFY gravy that was too thin and I can deal with that, but too thick…gag me with a fortune cookie. The last time I tried EFY the gravy was chicken, so thick that I gagged without the aid of a fortune cookie. Needless to say, I’m gun-shy.
So today, I followed the waitress into the back of the place and quizzed her down about the gravy. Even though I spoke loudly (what old hard-of-hearing guys do when talking to people with accents) it took time to resolve my concern.
I asked if the gravy was thin or thick. She wasn’t quite sure.
I asked if I could see the gravy. She said they made it fresh when they made the EFY.
I asked if I could order just one patty. She told me my only option was the full, 3-patty order.
So, for the sake of my readers, I decide to take a chance and order the Egg Foo Young.
And I am glad I did!
INSERT PHOTO OF EGG FOO YOUNG HERE!!
Duh!!! When the EFY came, it looked so good that I forgot to snap a picture!
EFY Winner and More
The gravy was perfect and delicious, with peas and carrots added, and it was not an exception to the rest of the meal. This was good food – fresh and well cooked.
The Egg Drop soup (not listed on the menu as part of the combination) was thick with vegetables and perhaps the best I’ve ever had.
The chicken chow mien (yes, crunchy noodles) was very good as was Debra’s Kung Pao chicken.
We both loved the freshly made egg rolls and the dipping sauce (not your usual sweet and sour from a bottle).
The only negative was the somewhat bland ham fried rice.
I recommend the New Dragon Diner with a four out of five stars. That’s the same score I gave the King Buffet. What the Dragon Diner lacks in variety, it more than makes up for with that gravy.