We have lamented this prior to, but Dallasites appear to be averse to driving to the suburbs for meal. We dislike to be the proverbial broken document, but there are respectable dining spots just a quick push north that are deserving of our eating pounds. 1 of these is Tian Tian, a regular Chinese restaurant occupying the corner room of a searching centre at Preston and Frankford roads. While it sporting activities a Dallas tackle, Tian Tian’s area is close enough to draw from the significant inhabitants of Chinese Us citizens in the northern suburbs to help the organization.
If the amount of active tables we noticed throughout our visits is any indicator, Tian Tian appears to be to be undertaking just fantastic with their chosen spot. It most likely doesn’t hurt that Tian Tian’s menu features a thoughtful mix of Americanized favorites and standard Chinese delicacies. We experienced a several hiccups with some features of services that we’ll touch on shortly, but these problems shouldn’t dissuade individuals in look for of a stable Chinese meal.
Tian Tian’s space is thoroughly clean and present day, completed in heat tones. Tables are distribute across the eating space, and while a bar sits in the back again corner, there’s no posting up for a pre-meal drink. In its place, it is really made use of as a exhibit spot for the wines and beers readily available and a staging region for drinks to be poured.
Diners both of those timid and adventurous are guaranteed to find something to commence the meal. There are typical wantons and edamame, and the chicken-filled egg rolls we sampled ($4 for two) had been evenly fried, with huge chunks of rooster blended with nonetheless crunchy cabbage and celery within the light golden wrapper.
Better alternatives are identified when searching among the the dumplings and bao. The gold and silver buns ($8) are an Instagram-worthy dish, with 50 % of the morsel-sized steamed buns obtaining a speedy fry to golden brown, served with sweetened condensed milk for dipping. We also loved the pan-fried pork buns ($7), although the menu promised a soup filling that was lacking on our order.
There was additional broth to be identified in the xiao very long bao ($8) and a tasty pork filling to be savored right after you’ve drained the broth from the dumpling. Fortune House in Irving is even now our regular-bearer for xiao lengthy bao in Dallas-Fort Really worth, but Tian Tian’s model is really excellent.
Buyer critiques of Tian Tian virtually often mention the Peking duck, for excellent motive. A 50 % duck is $26 but arrives with a duck broth soup and impossibly thin wonton pancakes. The duck is served sliced, and the crispy skin and fatty duck are solidly executed right here.
We ended up also amazed by the black garlic barbecued pork spareribs ($14). The garlic flavor could have been a touch much better, but the boneless bites of sweet pork have been spectacularly tender.
Traditional Chinese-American dishes are on Tian Tian’s menu. We experienced a serviceable cashew hen ($13) that was swimming in way too substantially sauce, but we observed the orange chicken ($14) to be a much better choice. There was a playful mix of dazzling citrus from the orange peel and warmth from the pink pepper, all wrapped in tender chunks of breaded rooster breast. Positive, it’s a sweet dish that’s tuned to American palates, but it is perfectly accomplished nonetheless.
Significantly less spectacular was the scallop fried rice, which was promised with both equally new scallops as very well as dried scallop flakes. Ours arrived to our desk with darkened dried flakes that seemed much less than appetizing and precisely two slim slices of fresh scallop in the full dish. The taste of the fried rice was not undesirable in and of itself, but for $16, we have been hoping for extra than two bites of fresh seafood.
You may possibly remember our new tale about Tian Tian and their Bellabot, a robotic server that assists shuttle foods to patrons. In our visits for this story, we were being by no means served by the droid, which admittedly left us experience a contact upset. On 1 of our visits on a active Saturday evening, we viewed the Bellabot glide quietly by our desk numerous situations to provide dishes throughout the restaurant, but it seemed to idle following to the kitchen when the human team hurried orders out. It’s possible the robot is pressed into much more responsibility when staffing is far more of a challenge.
Robots or not, we under no circumstances felt that Tian Tian was working brief of support. But the service can be scattered, including a person of the oddest deliveries of an entrée to our desk we’d at any time skilled. Two of us had been seated at a 4-leading table, and a person of our evening meal entrées had presently arrived numerous minutes earlier. Just in advance of we had been about to flag a person down about the lacking plate, a server who we hadn’t interacted with walks by our table with an armful of dishes, a single of which she slides on to the much close of our 4-top with out breaking stride or so significantly as a confirmation of what was remaining sent. It was so sudden that both equally of us ended up even now discussing it numerous several hours afterwards.
There had been a handful of other provider gaffs. On the same visit as the push-by meal shipping and delivery, our check arrived from another server in a very similar manner, then sat untouched on our desk with our credit score card plainly visible for yet another 10 minutes. On one more take a look at, we ordered appetizers initially and requested for a little bit a lot more time to make an entrée conclusion. The appetizers appeared promptly, but the menus had been collected prior to we put our main orders. In studying other diner’s reviews on Yelp, Google and the like, a number of mentions of dodgy support jumped out.
That is not to say that all the waitstaff had been impolite and aloof. And in fairness, some of this could quite possibly be attributed to unique cultural expectations of service in places to eat. In The usa, we assume to be doted on and pampered, but that form of awareness is basically viewed as intrusive and nosy in lots of Asian cultures. Well-liked places are judged only on the food items and not how normally the waiter chats you up. It can be not to say that you can find no perception of hospitality in Asian society — really the opposite is legitimate. But in China, dining out is deemed far more a merchandise than a services.
This is a fantastic line to navigate. We hope that our services encounters do not dissuade guests to Tian Tian, mainly because that is absolutely not our intent we really feel that the execution of dishes are well worth the trip. We really don’t feel to be on your own in that regard, possibly. Tian Tian appears to be performing a flourishing business enterprise, judging only by the number of people today we’ve seen during our visits. It truly is difficult not to pass up that the the vast majority of the clientele were being of Asian descent, which may perhaps aid our notion that any clear slights in company are not that large of a deal. That Tian Tian would have a robot helping with bringing diners their foods, with no likelihood of human conversation, only additional reinforces the transactional character.
Chinese dining places, especially types that are a lot more than just takeout spots, have long faced an uphill struggle in this nation. For lots of Chinese immigrants, opening a cafe served as the only way to bypass guidelines that were being made to retain them out of the nation. Throughout the most the latest pandemic, many Chinese eating places had been unfairly shunned by misguided diners who connected the coronavirus that initial broke out in Wuhan, China, with dining establishments that served food items from the similar location.
In parts close to North Dallas, Plano and Richardson, new restaurants like Tian Tian are assisting us reimagine Chinese foodstuff from takeout fare that’s sweet and tame to 1 that celebrates all the flavors and textures that Chinese cuisine has to give. In that regard, Tian Tian is now a accomplishment.
Tian Tian, 18101 Preston Road #204C. Dinner 4:30 -9:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday 4:30-10 p.m. Friday – Sunday. Lunch 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. everyday.