My younger daughter and I checked out a relatively new restaurant last night. She's not all that adventurous with her food, and it was just the two of us so we didn't really sample enough of the menu to know for sure, but I think this place is very promising. Red Leaf is worth a visit. I don't know how long it's been around, but it can't be that long. It's located in Sun Plaza, in the location of the former Osaka Tea Garden, on DW Highway across from Pheasant Lane Mall. Despite being in a high traffic neighborhood, it's a terrible location. I hardly ever went to Osaka Tea Garden in all the years it was around. That was partly because of the relatively slow service, but also because of "out of sight, out of mind". There's no visibility of the restaurant from the road. There were only three tables in use while we were there last night. I'm hoping that this post might get a few more people to go, because I'd like this place to survive at least long enough for me to sample some more of the menu.
As I said, my daughter is not that adventurous. She ordered miso soup. I ordered hot & sour. We also asked for tea with the soups, and they brought green tea. I shouldn't have been surprised by this, as it is a Chinese and Japanese restaurant. I'm not really that fond of green tea, but actually it was a nice change from the black tea that I drink just about every day. Other than the miso and the green tea, though, we didn't order any of the Japanese items on the menu. There's a substantial selection of sushi, but trying that will have to wait until I go with the rest of the family or an even larger group.
Back to the soups... The hot & sour had a nice underlying flavor, and a good amount of pepper, but it was missing something. Maybe several somethings. It could have been a bit more sour, and I missed the sesame flavor that is in my favorite vesions. It could have had more "stuff" in it. Still, hot and sour soup tends to vary a bit from night to night within the same restaurant, and this was close enough that I'd definitely try it again. The miso, though was really very good. My daughter nearly finished it, which is unusual for her. I just got one spoonful. I don't normally take much notice of miso soup, but it was very rich and flavorful. Now, the quest for the worlds best hot & sour soup is one of my lifetime goals, but even if the hot & sour at Red Leaf doesn't quite rise to the occasion, I might just order miso and not miss the hot & sour.
We also orderd a chicken wing appetizer. This is a requirement. If there are chicken wings on the menu, my daughter must have them. They were the non-battered variety, very crisp but juicy inside. I like a little more flavor in wings myself, but my daughter approved of them the way they were.
Chicken fried rice is another requirement. Actually, an almost requirement. We can sometimes get away with switching to lo mein instead, but my daughter really likes her fried rice, and she really, really likes her chicken! This was a very nice version. The chicken was not dried out, there was a substantial amount of egg mixed in, and the rice had a nice flavor --- not overwhelmed by soy sauce.
The other entree was beef with broccoli. This is such a standard dish, and I didn't expect it to be anything special. Few restaurants go out of their way to make their version of it stand out. Red Leaf did. The broccoli was nice and crisp, and the beef was plentiful. The sauce was not too heavy, and there was a very nice flavor in it -- something that I can't quite identify that made it a lot more interesting than the usual.
We brought a decent amount of leftovers home. The serving sizes were good, but not huge. It's 24 hours later, and the leftovers are gone. Prices were not low, but reasonble. I didn't do a direct comparison, but they're probably a bit lower than at Lilac Blossom. We'll be going back.
1. James Governor02/09/2007 06:48:27 AM
when i lived in Nashua I lived just behind that stripmall. i will pass on your recommendation to some other locals.