>I’m convinced that newly opened restaurants get the “new restaurant hype” and the long lines outside the place affirms that hype even more. This is what happened to Liang’s Kitchen, newly opened in Orange Tree Square Irvine, taking over the Takaraya space in the Ranch 99 Market plaza off Walnut. We tried to go there several times in the past few weeks and each time, we drove by there and the crowd outside was insane, so I opted out. I do not like standing in line for food, it puts me in a bad mood and makes my dining experience very unpleasant.
|beef noodle soup|
This time, we got there early and stood in line at around 10.50am (they open at 11am) and there were only a few parties waiting, Believe it or not, they put out a “sign in sheet” and make you put yourself on a “waiting list” and this is BEFORE they even open. Of course the minute the sign in sheet was placed outside, those who were in line behind us descended upon it like vultures trying to get in on the game. This is the reason why I hate eating in Chinese establishments around Irvine. People are rude and do not follow protocol. It is a highly stressful experience when you feel like you have to fight others just to get fed.
At 11am sharp, a guy comes to the door and reads off from the ‘waiting list’ and customers are seated. Menus are already on the table so the intention is for you to quickly order, so they can quickly feed you, so you can quickly get the hell out of there so they can keep the momentum going.
|dan dan noodles|
The menu is reminiscent of that from A&J, Nice Time Deli and even Yu’s Garden. An order sheet is provided as well as a menu with tons of photos to help you along the way. I’m a huge fan of tendon and beef noodle soup and although I like the one at A&J it’s not the best I’ve ever had. I was really hoping that the one here would be good. Sadly, it wasn’t and to add insult to injury, the whole thing tasted rancid from the broth to the tendon. It made my son and I gag and when that happened, no one else wanted to try it.
Scallion pancakes (cong you bing) is my son’s favorite item whenever we go to Chinese/Taiwanese breakfast but ironically, the ones here didn’t impress him at all. He ate one piece and didn’t touch it again. The pancake was undercooked, very greasy and was chewy instead of crispy on the outside. To make matters worse, the beef roll we ordered was wrapped with the same undercooked scallion pancake making it extremely soggy. When I took a bite, the grease oozed out from the scallion pancake — this is due to the pancake not being cooked at the right temperature and left to sit in the oil in low temperature.
Dan dan noodles (spicy sesame noodles) was terribly weak. The sauce was watery, lacked flavor and basically, consisted of nothing but just the sauce, a pinch of chopped scallions and such a small amount of crushed peanuts that it didn’t do anything to enhance the flavor.
I love bittermelon so I ordered the stewed bittermelon and was glad the flavor was nice and was soaked into the melon, but the seeds weren’t removed so the initial bite caught me off guard and I bit into a bunch of seeds which made the whole eating experience very tedious.
Fried pork chop bento was probably the best thing we had. The pork chop was nicely fried, even the ground pork on the rice was nicely flavored, but when I took a bite of the pickled vegetables, they tasted weird…. and I realized they were OFF. I quickly removed them from the plate and prayed that I wouldn’t get sick from this AND the rancid beef noodle soup.
If the food had been good, I wouldn’t have had a problem paying what we did for this meal. However, I don’t believe in paying for bad food, whether it’s a lot or a little. There is no excuse for serving bad food to customers, let alone rancid food.
The lines outside this place do not justify the quality you will receive and frankly I think it’s just that Liang’s Kitchen is new and people are curious that the line is so long. Once the hype dies down and everyone goes back to this being just another restaurant in Irvine, Liang’s Kitchen will have trouble staying so popular if it continues to serve its customers such crappy food.
Liang’s Kitchen, 5408 Walnut Ave, Irvine, CA 92618 — CASH ONLY