There are quite a few restaurants along windward parkway in Alpharetta. For those that live in the area, this is a really good thing! However, for the restaurants I feel the competition must be really tough. These establishments really have to out-perform the others to stay in business.
Tucked in to the shopping center with 5 other restaurants (Ichibans, Nahm Thai Cuisine, Sushi Nami, The Red Hen, and Mambo Jambo) is Xian China Bistro. I guess what it has going for it is it’s the only chinese food restaurant in the plaza. Many people in the area have found out about Xian from their almost weekly mailings. Seriously, we don’t need any more flyers.
Laura and I have had a coupon to this place from the entertainment guide book but never got around to trying it. Funny thing is, once that coupon expired we decided to give it a shot. We have bad timing.
So it’s Friday night, around 7 and we walk into Xian and see there are many empty tables. The place was decorated pretty nicely. It had a good feel with an open kitchen where you could see the periodic flame ups. So far, this place seems pretty cool.
We decided that we would try a couple appetizers and then split an entree. Normally this is a pretty good plan for us at Chinese places because the entrees are so large. So we order the crab meat crispy wontons, peking dumplings, and a cup of the wonton soup. In addition to the appetizers, a plat of fried wontons was brought to the table (like the chinese food equivalent of a bread basket). Ok, the crab meat crispy wontons were a bit surprising. We were expecting something like crab rangoons, but instead got fried deflated balloons with a miniscule amount of filling. These were NOT worth teh $6.50 we paid for them. Next we tried the peking dumplings. These were simply pork filled wontons with a soy-type dipping sauce. These sucked too! The Ling-Ling potstickers you get at Costco are better. Laura wanted to try the wonton soup which came out luke-warm and with very little broth. I was kind of shocked by that. I thought wonton soup was pretty much all broth. This soup was full of greens and other junk. It was pretty bad. It’s safe to say that the appetizers, as a whole, are dissappointing.
For our entree we tried one of the Chef’s Specials, Pine Nut Chicken. From the description it sounded like it would be pretty good, kind of like a not as spicy General Tso’s. While waiting for the entree we (mostly me) managed to finish off the plate of fried wontons. Ugh…. The entree took forever to get to our table! I didn’t want to eat an entire plate of fried calories. I guess I lose.
Ok, fast forward 20 minutes since the finishing of the appetizers, our entree arrives. It looks good and, as we expected, plentiful. Served with it was our choice of white, brown or fried rice. I asked the waitress what the most popular one was, and of course it was the fried rice. While looking at the rice I thought to myself, “This looks like brown rice. Where are the different mix-ins that normally come in fried rice.” Laura found some bits of egg, so that was our indicator that we did in fact get fried rice. This was pretty crappy fried rice, and to make it worse, it cost us an additional 2 bucks. I guess I lose again.
No that I have had my little pity party with the appetizers and fried rice, it was time to try the entree. This was much better than the rest of the meal, really it was. But that’s not saying much. It was overly sauced and VERY sweet. There was very little uniqueness to this “Chef Special”. It just tasted like another ordinary chinese food dish. Well damn, this meal was very underwhelming.
I wanted to like this place. I wanted there to be a chinese food place in Alpharetta that would be reliable and good, but this is definitely not it. The food is well below average, the service is slow, and the price is too much. The lack of patrons on a friday night should be a warning to us all. Xian is a must-miss.