Posted by Tampa Bay Food Monster on October 12, 2010
every saturday night, a group of friends and i go out to see a movie, after which we go someplace to eat and hangout. we often end up going to chili’s, which i enjoy, but i would prefer to go to more interesting places. the problem is, not many places are open around 10 when the movie gets out. but this last weekend, we scrambled across the street in hopes that liang’s bistro (across from the muvico on bruce b downs), a place i’ve never eaten, was open. well, it technically was, but they closed in less than thirty minutes, and we’re not the kind of people to go in and ruin the everyone’s nights and make them stay late. but the host came up with a good idea – we order to go, and we could eat it outside on the patio, and stay as late as we wanted. well, that worked for us! (although, this seemed like a strange move on their part… they must have been in a rush to close.)
and so that’s what we did. we all went outside (which was beautiful! nice cool florida weather, for once), and ordered our drinks and dishes to go. everything came out exceptionally fast (once again, they all must have had somewhere to go…), and they were all piping hot. a friend ordered steamed and salted edamame for the table, which was nice and hot, and surprisingly good (tender little soy beans). i ordered fried pork dumplings for the table, which were incredibly delicious (they always are… dumplings of any sort are always a good choice).
i ordered some egg drop soup, which is one of my favorite soups ever. it came out nice and hot, with a good amount of egg in it. not too salty or anything, and without any chives. it did have a somewhat fishy taste to it, for some reason, but it was light and not too noticeable.
to wash it all down, i had gotten an iced taro milk tea, which was nice to see on the menu. in fact, their drink options contained a whole bunch of different types of fruit and milk teas, and even four different types of hot tea! additionally, they serve a variety of wines, sake, and beer. really a great selection! i feel that most places just don’t offer enough diversity in their drink options; drinks are a huge part of a meal for me. so this was nice. the tea came out ice cold, with a good sweet flavor a little different (more ricey) than i’m used to, but still great. there’s something about a drink that comes from a root that is just refreshing and unique.
anyway, i also ordered an actual entree, too. mongolian chicken.
i apologize for the picture. the discarded napkins and empty containers make it look really trashy. IT WAS NOT TRASHY. well, not really anyway. in fact, the inside of the restaurant looked pretty damn classy! but our table outside was a little messy. the mongolian chicken was really good. it had a nice spice to it, and the ingredients were very fresh. i would say that the quality of the ingredients at liang’s bistro is quite probably the highest quality i’ve found at a chinese restaurant. really superb. my only complaint was that the scallions they used were kind of overpoweringly bitter. it got to the point that i was trying to avoid them with each bite, concentrating on the perfectly seasoned chicken. still, i feel like this is just a hallmark of the strong, clear flavor found in fresh vegetables. it came with rice, and you could either choose white or brown. i went with brown, because that’s a kind of rare item to find at a chinese place. i actually really enjoyed it. it was soft at warm, pillowy even, and had a distinct taste. it was the healthy choice, but it didn’t feel like i was sacrificing anything.
overall, it was a very good experience. i really enjoyed the meal, and eating outside as well. i think that they have a great atmosphere in the restaurant, which would be appropriate for a date or just a nicer dinner out. it was a bit pricey, though, and you could probably eat at an asian steakhouse like arigato or kobé for the same price, but the huge and diverse menu at liang’s and the more typical asian food items you’ll find there, prepared with care and quality found at fine-dining restaurants, makes liang’s bistro completely worth visiting.
…it’s like a good p.f. chang’s.