$13 at Fung's Kitchen on the Southwest Freeway

Where

: Fung's Kitchen, 7320 Southwest Freeway, 713-779-2288

What $13 gets you: A near-anxiety attack.

Fung's Kitchen offers a menu with more than 400 dishes – and that doesn't include dim-sum. That's a lot of reading. And a lot of choices. It can make a grown man feel downright helpless. And don't dare dally. The waitstaff is relentless. I'm not saying they're impolite or unkind. But they will hound you.

I will only go to Fung's Kitchen for lunch, since the menu is condensed to a navigable two pages. That's more my speed. But I'm still not fast enough. During my most recent visit, three different waiters came to take my order a total of five times before I made up my mind. And I swear I had been sitting for only five minutes.

Recommended? Only if you perform well under pressure.

The dining room at Fung's Kitchen is large and attractive, with chandeliers and six tanks of live fish and lobster. The place is known for its seafood and several adventurous dishes. The reasonably priced lunch menu includes sesame jelly fish ($4.99), cold chicken claws ($4.99) and sauteed scuttle fish with ginger and green onion ($5.95). I splurged a little and got the vermicelli with shredded duck ($8.50), which arrived in a large bowl of hot, delicious broth.

But I couldn’t seem to enjoy it. I was too busy fending off the overzealous waiters who tried to seize the bowl every time I let the spoon down for more than 40 seconds. After a while, I caved and just let them take the thing. It wasn't that great anyway. The veggies tasted freeze-dried and the duck was tough, rubbery.

Leaving the restaurant, I breathed a sigh of relief. I really should stop going to Fung's Kitchen. It seems I just don't have the nervous system for it.

Bonus point: All day dim-sum. - Todd Spivak


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