Friday, June 8, 2012

WV Panda

First it was Asian Garden, then it was Eastern Walk, and now, it's WV Panda. I loved Asian Garden, had a love/hate relationship with Eastern Walk, and now, I'm falling for WV Panda.

It's located in the plaza by Hibachi (which I also need to review) on University Avenue. Specifically, it's 3109 University Ave., Suite D. The other places in the plaza are Fox's pizza. I'm not quite sure why this is the third Asian restaurant in this building, but I didn't think any were completely atrocious.

I thought Asian Garden was fanstastic, with tons of different Asian dishes. I sometimes loved Eastern Walk and sometimes hated it. The consistency wasn't always there; however, Chris and I did have our second date there. And recently, I tried WV Panda. I'm not sure if there are new owners, or if it's simply a new name, but the food is definitely different than I remember at either place.

However, if you look at WV Panda's menu, it's simply Eastern Walk's with the title scratched out. You couldn't spring for new menus? It's not like the place is huge, I can't imagine how many you'd need anyway. But the interior is a bright green. With that being said, it somehow has a classier feel. Our silverware was wrapped up artistically in cobalt blue napkins, and white tablecloths draped each table.

The lone person working brought us over the menus and took our drink orders. I had a hard time deciding between General Tso's, which I'm familiar with or Pad Thai, which I've heard is good. Authentic, but good. I don't even know what authentic pad thai is like, really, but I do know I love Chaang Thai's. I was going to stick to a trend here, and I ordered the General Tso's. We also shared an appetizer of crab rangoons.

We were the only people in the entire restaurant. In fact, during the duration of our meal, which lasted more than an hour, only one other patron came in, and that was to pick up a takeout order. So, our good came out fairly quickly.

Though the description for the rangoons said there were six, we were supplied with eight. I won't complain. The sauce was a plain duck sauce, and the rangoons were average. They weren't brimming with hot creamy cheese; they were puffy in the middle, which led to a bite full of hot air, then eventually finding the cheese. But the taste was good overall. I liked the smoothness of the cheese and slight kick with the spices.

When my meal, and my friend Kaitlynn's meal, came out, I was surprised how they knew which was which. Essentially, they were both round chicken balls in a dark brown/red sauce with broccoli on the side. she had a separate chicken dish, but they were very similar looking. I was a little confused about why they were little balls of chicken; I was assuming this would be not of the highest quality. Don't judge a book by its cover.

One bite, and I was sold. They aren't stringy or chewy or grissley. They were whole white meat, tender and tasty. The sauce was on the tangier side, and I used my broccoli in intervals to help lower the intensity of the tang at times. And the bowl of white rice I was provided with did the same trick. The sauce was plentiful, so I dumped my white rice in the sauce, and it helped mute the spiciness a little bit. But I enjoyed the flavors. I liked the tang, I liked the quality of the food. I didn't feel like I was eating a big ball of grease, as is sometimes the case.

The service wasn't the best - he preferred the hands-off approach. He only gave us one refill while we were there, which is not ideal with some spicy food. And we said for a long time before finally calling over to him asking if we could have to-go boxes and our checks. I'm looking forward to going back and trying a different dish - maybe the pad thai! My bill came out to about $20 total, but that's because they didn't split the appetizer. That's okay. I enjoyed my meal - tons of good chicken, a nice tangy sauce and some mouth-watering rangoons.

Grade: A
Panda on Urbanspoon