Monday, April 15, 2013

Lam's Garden: Take-out

510 Bailey Rd.
Crystal City, Mo

Pizza Hut Supreme
Those of you that pay attention to such things might have noticed that there was not an update last week. That is due entirely to the fact that this blogging thing does not pay as well as you might think, which means I have a day job. That job occasionally requires me to work weekends, and this is why for this week, and last week, I was not able to go out with my family.
I was able to work from home, but I had appointed tasks during the dinner hours, so I had to stay put.
Pizza Hut Hot wings
Last week we picked up a couple of pizzas from Pizza Hut in Desoto. We picked up two large pizzas, a Supreme for Angel and I and a black olive and pepperoni for Adam. He doesn't like most ingredients. They also picked up some hot wings.
As I worked I munched on a couple of slices and enjoyed it thoroughly. Even better was Sunday brunch, leftover pizza, reheated.
I didn't try the wings, no  point really since the whole hot-wing thing is wasted on me. I've tried several and just have yet to see what the fuss is about. They're incredibly messy, too spicy, and there's not a lot of meat for the mess. Angel and Adam both said they were excellent though.
The pizza was very good. Plenty of toppings, spread out nicely, crust browned and just starting to crisp. There may be better pizzas around, but for taste, texture, price and location, Pizza Hut is our go-to.
This weekend was a little trickier. I suggested we have Chinese take out.
The Place:
Lam's Garden is behind Dairy Queen in Crystal city. We've gone there a few times, you can see the reviews in the archives.
The Food:
Tsao's (left) and Chicken peppersteak
My only real problem with Lam's is that I prefer a buffet when it comes to Chinese food, and Lam's is not a buffet. I like lots of different things Chinese, but strongly prefer to have a little of several things as opposed to a lot of only one thing.
There is a way around this though, take-out-family style.
Sesame Chicken
Adam ordered what he wanted most, the sesame chicken, Angel ordered what she likes best, the cashew chicken (Springfield style) They also ordered the beef broccoli to share.  I asked for two different things. I like the chicken pepper steak and I like the General Tsao. I didn't care for a lot of either, I prefer a little of one and a little of the other for balance. The pepper steak style is served with a beef-stock like sauce, like gravy, and the Tsao is sweet and spicy. They balance nicely.
Each of the orders came with rice and egg rolls or rangoons.
Angel and Adam fetched the food and brought it home. By the time they arrived I was done with my work, so I got to enjoy it at a leisurely pace. We popped open the boxes, all different stuff and voila! Instant buffet.
Cashew Chicken (pre-sauce)
We each loaded a plate with combinations of stuff, just like at a real buffet.
Most of Lam's offerings are better than their local buffet equivalent. So not only was it a buffet, it was like a premium buffet.
I plopped some rangoons, half an egg roll three styles of chicken, sesame, Tsao's and the pepper steak, then a generous portion of rice. To make it even better I used one of my Japanese plates I bought off of Ebay a few years back.
Beef Broccoli
The chickens were all excellent. The Tsao's was spicy but not too much so. The pepper steak was savory and had large scrumptious portions of peppers and onions that mixed well with the rice. The rice itself was a little bland, it lacked brightness. There were veggies mixed in, but their taste was indistinguishable from the rice itself. Shoving the pepper steak veggies into the pile fixed that problem. The rangoons were thickly loaded but in transport had lost a little crispness. The egg roll was better than many places, but not outstanding. Like the rice, the filling in the roll tasted only one flavor deep. The sesame chicken was pretty sweet, but since I only had a little it also balanced well. Usually in one-item Chinese restaurants I avoid sesame chicken to avoid the sugar high a full plate of the stuff will induce, this amount was perfect.
As I filled up on mine, I heard grunts and groans of pleasure from the others. We all agreed that this was pretty darn good.
Summary:
The result, my pretty plate!
 Lam's makes very good food and serves generous portions. Every dish is a little better than you'll find at most typical buffets, at least locally.
We ordered a lot of food and certainly paid a little more than we would have at a buffet. HOWEVER! We got about two meals each for that price, (Sunday brunch again) buffet's don't allow you to take home leftovers.
The price wasn't really all that bad, all that food for under forty dollars.
I wish their rice and egg rolls were a little better, a little fresher. I'm sure they know how to do that, but I imagine they make big batches rather than to-order. That's what it seems like in taste anyhow. We've certainly figured out how to do this though. The home-buffet was perfect, plenty of choices, of good quality Chinese fare.
I love Lam's now that I know I don't have to actually go there. 





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