Ming Tasty, a Chinese restaurant, opened in the space most recently occupied by La Cocina de Raquel a couple of months ago. That particularly space has in recent years also hosted andy & joe’s, taqueria, Kolbeh and Casa María #2 – all of which served bad food and eventually failed. It’s surprising that the owners of Ming Tasty were not spooked out by what, by now, could be considered an unlucky location – but after getting a $200K loan from the Small Business Administration, they decided to give their restaurant dream a go.
I’ve been doubtful about the prospects for a new Chinese restaurant in San Leandro. There are quite a lot of them – mostly serving mediocre-to-good Americanized Chinese food at rock-bottom prices. The high-end corner of the Chinese food market has, so far, been cornered by Daimo, only a couple of blocks away. I’m not a big Daimo fan myself, but it seems to be popular enough. Ming Tasty, meanwhile, seems to be taking a mid-way approach. They’ve developed a stylish and comfortable space (in the mode of the “Asian Bistros” that have invaded the East Bay), created a long menu with unusual yet typical dishes that reflect the influences of the Chinese diaspora, and settled on mid-level prices. Indeed, I can’t find anything wrong with Ming Tasty’s concept (though the name is too goofy to take seriously), but it fails dramatically in its execution.
As I hinted above, I was quite pleased by the appearance of the restaurant. They covered up the garish Mediterranean-villa murals that previously covered the walls, and decorated the room with muted tones and stylish touches. Those $200K were put to good use. Service was competent, if not as efficient as we’d have liked, but not deserving of criticism.
The problem with Ming Tasty was the food – and in particular, the lack of care and respect that the kitchen shows for its product.
Let me start with my biggest complaint. I ordered the crispy deep-fried fresh chicken ($8.50 for half) – and it was served cold. When I complained, they took the dish back to the kitchen and instead of offering too cook a new order or serve me something else, they microwaved it! Now, the whole point of crispy fried chicken is that it be, well, crispy. Chicken skin cannot stay crisp when you microwave it – not to speak of what microwaving does to the texture of the meat. In my book, this is an un-excusable mistake. Well, not really a mistake, as clearly they knew what they were doing.
Other dishes in the menu were also not stellar. I enjoyed the “house special salted pizza” ($3.50), which was very reminiscent of Malaysian Roti, but it would have been better if served with a curry sauce. It was also quite expensive for what was, all in all, a fairly small piece of bread.
The kids had a very mediocre chicken chow mein and Mike had an OK, but not exciting, broccoli beef ($8).
In all, why the food in general was not bad, the microwaved chicken will make sure I don’t return.
BTW, Ming Tasty offers free delivery ($15 minimum order). They are also open really late (at least according to their menu), so it’s probably a good place to go when everything else is closed. Just be prepared for microwaved food 🙂
1668 East 14th St.
San Leandro, CA
M-Th: 10 – 1 AM
F – Su: 8 – 1 AM
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