And now: for a restaurant review from the Plaid Guy.

I have been looking forward to this day for as long as I can remember. (By that, I mean “for as long as I can remember having known about this restaurant”) (In laymen’s terms, I’ve been looking forward to this for approximately 8 days).
I am, of course, writing about the day that I finally got to visit the Orange Garden Restaurant on East State Street. While the name of this restaurant is nothing to write home about (or write a blog about, for that matter), it’s what’s written beneath the Restaurant’s name that caused me to scoff in disbelief and grow in curiosity: “Italian and Chinese Cuisine”.

Really?

How does that work?

In my head, I pictured a large dining room decorated with olives, wine bottles, lily ponds and those dainty little Chinese umbrella things.  In my mind, I pictured the music playing in the background being a strange mix of Italian opera and Shidaiqu (which, of course, is a type of Chinese folk music).  The menus would make brave culinary choices, like serving Orange Chicken with a side of fettuccine… and, of course, every meal would come with unlimited bread sticks and chopsticks.

I’ve had dreams about visiting this restaurant. I’ve made plans… and today I finally visited.

I thought about dinner all day.  During my morning coffee, I planned what I would wear. While battling with a bout of hiccups (which, unfortunately, lasted for a full hour and a half), I tried to decide which of the odd food combos I would select. And, of course, while straightening up the Lobby for the evening, I decided that I would have to limit myself to 5 breadsticks, so as to leave space for the fortune cookie.

Dinner time finally rolled around, and Marta and I arrived at the restaurant. We were greeted by a toothless waitress, sat by the only other two people in the building, and informed that they were currently out of “cheese sticks, pizza, and chicken tenders” (so… why are they serving chicken tenders at an Italian Chinese restaurant?). The menu’s were a little scatterbrained, perhaps, but nothing too abnormal (except for the fact that there was both Italian and Chinese food in the same book).  Our cooks, who had been outside smoking by a tree, were beckoned back into the kitchen once we ordered (Marta ordered Singapore noodles with Chicken, and I ordered Pasta Primavera). The Italian dish was completely Italian. The Chinese dish was completely Chinese. No mixing. No “round-the-world” sampler platters. Shockingly enough, there were no bread sticks… and the chopsticks only came by special request.

The food itself was odd. The Singapore noodles had a hint of air freshener, and the veggies in the pasta primavera were a little freezer burned. We both ate with chopsticks and tried not to make too many jokes within earshot of the waitress. (That wasn’t very hard. Once she gave us our food, she retreated into the kitchen.  I went looking for her a little bit later (for our box and our check) and, I’m not positive, but she may have been playing poker with the dish washer… who was also half of the cooking staff)

When I asked, while we were leaving, how long the restaurant had been open, she replied “8 months”.
Then I asked, “and are things going well for you?”
Her response? “About 8 months and 2 days”
I’m assuming that means things aren’t going so well for them.

All in all, I suppose I can call our trip to the Italian Chinese restaurant an interesting experience. Honestly, they seem to have missed a fantastic chance for a comedic dining experience.
Needless to say, I probably won’t be visiting that restaurant again anytime soon… and I’m currently searching for a very large tub of tums.
Hopefully I won’t awake with food poisoning in the morning.

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