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Tasty China: Marietta (9/08)

posted on October 1, 2008 at 5:49 am
As most of you “ma la” addicts know, the past year has been one rocky exercise in consistency for this critical darling. I must admit that my visits to this Marietta restaurant tapered off once chef Peter Chang departed. However, I’ve found my recent meals there to be nothing less the stellar. Owner Phuong Nguyen (who knows me since I organized a supper club dinner there when they first opened) hired a new chef from a different part of Sichuan. Chef Liu is cooking many of the old standards, but his personality is evident in small twists and new dishes from the specials board near the kitchen. It also seems that Liu is sourcing higher quality peppercorns and grinding them more finely, which imparts a more subtle effect on the dishes. Phoung assured us he is not going anywhere since she is sponsoring him. So, this gem may have finally hit the stride it (and Atlanta) deserves. Here is a look at what we ate on our last visit:
Tasty China: Marietta
Sharp pepper fish: Fish filets with soft tofu and many different peppers in a light broth. 

Tasty China: Marietta
Dry-fried eggplant: Still my favorite dish that defines what eggplant can be if treated with some love and skill.  Chef Liu’s version may be better than Chang’s–yeah, I said it. I cannot go here without ordering this. 
Tasty China: Marietta
Shelihon and ham in broth: A subtle dish, but still very enjoyable. Moon’s friend recommended this one. The broth was slightly thickened with cornstarch and I wasn’t sure it if was bouillon or fresh stock. However, it was soothing and I would order it again.

Tasty China: Marietta
Shan City pork ribs: Phoung recommended this knowing how often I order the Shan City Chicken (fried chicken chunks that you can get bone-in/boneless). Very tender bone-in pork rib chunks, with those addictive chili peppers and peppercorns. Moon ate it the next day and remarked that it had intensified in flavor and piquancy as many of the dishes do

Verdict: Get back there if you haven’t been in a while. And please do not be put off by all the negative comments regarding Phuong’s demeanor around the net. She is a nice woman who works hard. I just advise you to have some patience, always go at lunch (nights are when most of the craziness happens) and stay away from the American-Chinese menu. 
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2 comments

  • Re: Tasty China: Marietta (9/08)
    posted by: Anonymous · October 1, 2008  6:51 AM

    My husband and I ate there last Friday and we were blown away. I agree that the food had suffered for awhile – but we still continued to go. Last Friday both of us new something was different – we were blown away by the EXCELLENT food that we were presented. We had the dry fried eggplant and green beans (stupendous) and the crispy shredded beef – and funnily enough – sweet & sour shrimp – which turned out to be great due to the fresh and plump shrimp that were used. Your standard chinese dish elevated by quality ingredients. We love this place – and we're still talking about that meal – it was that good.

  • Re: Tasty China: Marietta (9/08)
    posted by: Anonymous · January 6, 2009  7:45 AM

    We keep going back to Tasty China for another fix! We quickly learned to trust to Phuong order for us, and she hasn’t missed yet. Chicken w/ 3 mushrooms in a beautiful delicate sauce, Shan City Chicken, Noodle with Braised Beef Soup (chili on the side), Salted Pepper Shrimp, Fish with Black Bean Sauce, Chicken or Pork with Young Bamboo Shoots, it’s all wonderful! Bring your own wine (and wine glasses) along with friends to try lots of dishes. (Friday and Saturday night is crazy if you want to enjoy a glass of wine)
    One night, we took out of town guests. 30 minutes after we left the restaurant, they called and asked if we could go back the next night.

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