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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years ago


iRestaurant Review


I, S, and five others converged on iRestaurant, a Cantonese restaurant in Cupertino to try its highly reviewed menu for six to eight people.  What we had, with a few substitutions by the kitchen, was fairly good and homey, with many clean, healthy flavors.  We liked that the place felt Chinese, that most of the clientele was Chinese, and that the chefs were trying to be adventurous by serving some non-traditional dishes (e.g., the deep-fried eggplant and the char-broiled sea bass).


To start, we had:


  • Tiny bowls of roasted peanuts.


  • Slices of barbecue pork on top of some salty beans.  The pork was soft and otherwise pretty standard.  It had less sauce than most Chinese bbq pork and hence was less sweet.


  • Battered, fried eggplant.  Terrific; the best dish of the night. Cleanly textured eggplant (i.e., no skin, no seeds), battered and deep-fried.  Clearly freshly made.  We pressed the waitress and learned they used sticky rice in the recipe, though I couldn't follow the explanation of where.


  • Tofu and shrimp soup.  Decent/good.  Very light, clean flavors.


  • Fruit and shrimp salad.  Good, interesting.  A few long, peeled prawns and a variety of fruit (papaya, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and more) in a fruit salad dressing with accents of mustard.


Our more substantial dishes were:


  • Strips of calamari with snap peas.  Delicious and addictive.  Clean sauce, clean flavors, and excellently cooked calamari (no rubberiness) and snap peas (which still snap).  Of the main dishes, this was the only one with no leftovers.  I must say, however, that some weren't as enthralled by this dish as I was.


  • Chongjung chicken.  This was a substitution encouraged by our waitress from the original combo menu which didn't have any spicy dishes.  It was okay.  Chicken fried in a fluffy of dried red peppers and garlic.  Not much complexity.


  • Fried rice with salty fish and the usual such as carrots, peas, corn.  Good.  Our waitress warned us that the flavors were traditional and not normally liked by Americans.  We didn't think the salty fish was strong, and thought this a typical, non-oily, fluffy, fried rice dish.


  • Fried shreds of lotus root (or so we were told) topped with dried shrimp.  The supposed lotus root tasted like other fried tubers (i.e., potato chips).  Also, again, I think the chefs might've toned down the flavors, as I didn't notice much (any?) taste of dried shrimp (which many people think is an acquired taste).


  • Sauteed spinach in chicken broth.  Though there's really nothing remarkable about the dish, we all seemed to like it and argued about the leftovers.


  • Char-broiled sea bass with garlic and butter.  Good, moist fish.  We really liked the garlic flavors.  Served with sweetened mayo which I thought was unnecessary.  I particularly enjoyed the crispness of some of the skin, as if it were fried (though it was not).


Our dessert was a good, clean soup, sweetened with coconut milk, of tapioca flour and tiny white mushrooms.


For drinks, we shared a sweet fruit tea supposedly made of five fruits that the waitress was really proud of.  We enjoyed it, though one person complained it tasted too orangey--too much like the drink emergen-c.  We also had a pot of perfectly respectable jasmine tea.


We could've fed another person without making a dent in the amount of leftovers.  Indeed, we probably could've fed three more people with the huge amount of food they provided.


The total including drinks, tax, and tip was $26/person.




Recall how I mentioned the fried rice and fried lotus root dishes didn't taste a strange as I expected?  Well, in the leftover rice, the flavor of the salted fish came out more (and I liked it), and in the leftover lotus root, the flavor of the dried (large) shrimp were a bit more noticeable.


Original Announcement


I'm planning an outing to "a new Chinese restaurant in Cupertino, iRestaurant, [which] puts a contemporary spin on Cantonese dishes, using organic produce when possible and less oil and salt than the norm."


Comments from Other Attendees


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