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Pacific Rim Shot

All three below-average entrées featured shrimp. The shrimp were large and cooked expertly so they remained juicy. But each dish came swathed in a different sauce, and each ruined the perfectly cooked shrimp in its own way. The rainbow shrimp was coated with a cornstarch-based glop and served with a boring mélange of vegetables, while the apple-ginger shrimp tasted like not much ginger, a little apple and a whole lot of sugar. The shrimp à la Hunan reprised the hideous flavor of Santa's red-and-green scallop wreath.


How can a below-average restaurant like Café Le Jadeite be thriving when there are so many exceptional Chinese restaurants in Houston to choose from? The answer can be deduced by counting all the bland anglicized Chinese restaurants that thrive in strip centers in every neighborhood of the city. Sure, many Houstonians are exceptionally savvy about Asian cuisine, but others are quite content with sweet-and-sour pork and shrimp fried rice. And you can hardly blame the restaurant owners for giving the people what they want.

One of few successful dishes, the grilled shucked 
oysters are tasty with Tsingtao beer.
Troy Fields
One of few successful dishes, the grilled shucked oysters are tasty with Tsingtao beer.

Details

Lunch: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays though Saturdays. Dinner: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
1952 West Gray, 713-528-4288.

So it's pointless for me to get up on my high horse and tell the former owners of Panda Garden that Houstonians have more sophisticated tastes in Chinese food. They've already made a lot of money betting against that horse. Instead, let me advise those knowledgeable Houstonians who do love authentic Chinese food and real Pacific Rim cuisine to go eat someplace other than Café Le Jadeite.

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