Kirin Court–Richardson, TX

Kirin Court
221 W. Polk St.
Richardson, TX
(214) 575-8888
Kirin Court

Kirin Court


Kirin Court is known mainly for its dim sum, and the fact that it is available any time the restaurant is open (when I went in the evening there were no carts but dim sum was available on the menu). As I suspected, though, it also has quite a large menu of various items that really dwarfs the seemingly more popular dim sum menu.

Dining room

Dining room

Going with some friends allowed me to try both the dim sum and the regular menu. The tables are set up so dishes can be shared if you wish, and this gave me a chance to sample several items. My impression was that everything was very good, but the biggest strength of the restaurant was that you can have a great variety of food when you go in a party of people as I did. Prices were in line with other Chinese restaurants I have visited, but there are so many hard to find dishes here it will probably push up the price because it is hard to say no to any of them.

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

The restaurant is on the second floor of the building, with both an elevator and stairs going up to the balcony where Kirin Court’s entrance is located. I had a conversation with one of the owner’s family members who said originally they were just in the property management business, but they opened the restaurant when the former one taking up the second floor closed. They opened this concept of a Chinese restaurant because there was a dependable customer base in Dallas to support this type of dim sum and authentic Chinese food (they do have some dishes more familiar to Americans but their main business is for the traditional Chinese food).

There are two chefs at the restaurant (both from Hong Kong), one for the regular menu and one for the dim sum.

Soup

Shrimp wonton soup

Shrimp wonton soup

The shrimp wonton soup is an example of the wide variety of soups served, and although I did not try it I do have a photo.

Stir Fried Dishes

Singapore noodles

Singapore noodles

Singapore Noodles is a standard dish I find in traditional Chinese restaurants, although this one seemed to be better than most. It had a combination of meats (shrimp, pork, etc.).

Dim Sum

Xiao long bao

Xiao long bao

Although I really had enough food to be full from the other items, I specifically wanted to try the Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) from the dim sum menu. These have soup inside which flows out when you bite off the outside of the dumpling, and the whole thing is very flavorful.

This was the first time I had tried the dish and I was very glad to finally sample it. I found out later from a trip to Jeng Chi in Richardson, though, that the dumplings are really supposed to be served with a ginger sauce (which was not given to me at Kirin Court), and that restaurants usually give you a large spoon to collect any soup which spills when you bite open the dumpling (which if they had here I was unaware of it).

The serving at Kirin Court is smaller than at Jeng Chi (so it was less expensive). It was good at both restaurants, but if you order it here I would recommend at least asking for a large spoon (and possibly ginger sauce if they will provide it).

Hot Pot

Braised tofu hot pot

Braised tofu and assorted meat hot pot

The Braised Tofu and Assorted Meat Hot Pot was a very good dish that made it seem that (at least for me) it is best to order from the menu here and use the dim sum only for appetizers or dessert. The tofu hot pot is one of the standard Chinese dishes I like to order, and this one was so good I am very likely to get it again if I come back. The hot pot contained pork, chicken, and seafood, but the seafood particularly stood out because of being quite fresh and better than others I have had.

Tea
The Jasmine tea made with loose leaves was very good, and was what I would expect from an upscale Chinese restaurant.

Other Details
The dim sum is made in house, and has some MSG (the other food also has MSG but you can ask them to omit it). Although I liked dim sum I sampled, I just think that if you are making a special trip here or coming from out of town it is best to order from the menu and only use the dim sum as a supplement.

The restaurant mentioned to me that all the meat is fresh and none is ever frozen. This explains to me why the seafood was so good, and I would say that I particularly recommend the seafood here.

I do want to explain that the $$ cost is not what I paid, but is what it would be if I made multiple trips and spaced out my orders to match my usual appetite rather than ordering several things at once as I did on this visit (part of it was because it was on Thanksgiving and I wanted to splurge).

On a related note, I called several restaurants and found that Kirin Court was one of the few that was open on Thanksgiving Day (so it is a good place to keep in mind for holidays).

The party at another table ordered Peking duck, so I at least got to observe it and find out that Kirin Court serves it, even though for my taste I think what I got was probably better.


RATING: 26

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 23, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Braised Tofu and Assorted Meat Hot Pot, Xiao Long Bao

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (loose leaves)
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Braised Tofu and Assorted Meat Hot Pot
star 5 Xiao Long Bao
star 5 Singapore Noodles

 

Lucky Palace–Bossier City, LA

Lucky Palace
750 Diamond Jacks Blvd.
Bossier City, LA
(318) 752-1888
Lucky Palace

Lucky Palace


Although Lucky Palace is thought by some to have the best Chinese food in the Shreveport area, and even described as having Chinese food “like Dallas,” it is quite easy to miss. The location is straightforward (at an exit of I-10) and I knew about it being inside the Bossier Inn and Suites Motel, but I still missed the entrance to the motel until making a second try. Once inside the building I did not see the restaurant but the desk clerk pointed me in the right direction.

The dining room

The dining room at Lucky Palace

Once inside, though, I found an upscale restaurant with a view of the outdoor patio through plate glass windows, a wine bar, and a rather impressive menu (although without the special Chinese menu found at many Dallas restaurants). The soothing jazz and classical music in the background turned out to be a theme I found in various Asian restaurants throughout Louisiana, and the restaurant was non-smoking.

View of the motel pool and patio

View of the motel pool and patio

Prices were in line with the more upscale food served, although by upscale I do not mean the type of large family style dishes served in large cities. It is good quality food, and the dishes are the type that I think most people would enjoy for lunch or dinner.

Appetizers

Scallion pancakes

Scallion pancakes

There are two types of appetizers here–those that come with the meal and those that can be ordered separately. I chose one of the latter, the Scallion Pancakes, because it had been reviewed as one of the restaurant’s “authentic” dishes. I had to agree that it was authentic and very good, but I will tell people who are not as intent on trying different dishes as I am that you will get plenty to eat with the regular dish (and will likely be more than full without ordering an extra appetizer).

Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

Hot and Sour Soup is one of the soup choices which comes on the lunch menu with any selection, and I would definitely recommend it. This had a very good flavor and a substantial amount of ingredients in the soup. I made a note that this was better than any hot and sour soup I knew of in Oklahoma City (I mean this as a suggestion that you should definitely try this one if you like hot and sour).

Pork with Garlic Sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

The Pork with Garlic Sauce had a sauce that I thought was a little sweet, but the meat, vegetables, and sauce were all good with this one stipulation. The large amount of water chestnuts and other vegetables were very enjoyable, and overall I thought this was an excellent dish. I would have preferred it to be more spicy because it would have helped the allergies I was suffering that day, but the flavor of the dish was good with the amount of spice it had.

Tea

Jasmine tea

Jasmine tea

They served a brewed jasmine tea which I thought was excellent (I think the dark spot in the tea is a loose leaf which came from the brewing process).

Further Comments
The restaurant is located in an aging motel with a hard-to-find entrance and other problems (such as the bathroom not being accessible). The food is good, though, and the restaurant is very pleasant.

This restaurant is not like the ones in Dallas in the sense of having a “Chinese menu” (usually a separate menu written in Chinese), butI the scallion pancakes and a few other items are authentic, and in my opinion the garlic pork was certainly close enough. The big bonus was the hot and sour soup, which was just about the best I have ever had.

I did not have any problems with MSG, but it will have MSG unless you tell them otherwise. I have to assume that the amount in the hot and sour soup was very small since I ate this along with the other food.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Mon.
Accessible: No (even if there was an entrance I did not see, the bathroom was not accessible)
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 24, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Pork with Garlic Sauce, Hot and Sour Soup

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (brewed)
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pork with Garlic Sauce
star 5 Scallion Pancake
star 5 Hot and Sour Soup

 

Blu Basil–Lafayette, LA

Blu Basil
5451 Johnston St.
Lafayette, LA
(337) 456-1120
Blu Basil

Blu Basil


Although I know Lafayette is the center of Cajun food, music and culture, this is certainly not the only type of food worth exploring in the area. I had read many good reviews of the Asian restaurants in the city, and Blu Basil seemed to be at the top of the list.

Blu Basil is a Vietnamese restaurant that also serves “Asian Fusion” (according to Yelp). My take on it is that it is Vietnamese food plus other items, rather than the Vietnamese food being Americanized into a fusion cuisine. The atmosphere is quite elegant, giving the customers the feeling that they are at a “special treat” Asian restaurant, yet the prices are moderate (they are higher than I would want to spend every day but are far lower than I have seen for special occasion type Asian restaurants in various cities).

Some on-line reviews indicated that Blu Basil had one of the most extensive Asian food menus in the city, and this is one of the things that initially drew me to the restaurant. When talking to the waitress, though, I found out that some of the more interesting Vietnamese dishes had recently been dropped from the menu due to low demand by customers (one of these was the Banh Xeo). Although I was disheartened by this (thinking that every city deserves a good Banh Xeo), there are other reasons Blu Basil is still a good choice.

I experienced quite heavy traffic throughout the city as I made a tour, aggravated largely by major construction zones as well as what appeared to be major population growth around a street system which had been designed for a much smaller city. Although it is good that some of these problems are now being resolved, I was made more aware of the fact that Blu Basil offers a tranquil haven of good food, soothing jazz music, and friendly employees. The nicely decorated interior made me think I was going to have to pay quite a bit for my meal, but it turned out to be pretty reasonable (I was too late for the lunch specials which are served until 3:00 P.M but dinner is not much more expensive).

Vermicelli Dishes

Grilled chicken bowl

Grilled chicken bowl

One of my favorite dishes at Vietnamese restaurants is the vermicelli bowl, and Blu Basil had several from which to choose. The Grilled Chicken Bowl actually had the extra bonus of coming with spring rolls, and although this almost made this dish too much for my appetite, I certainly thought it was enjoyable. The good points of the dish included high quality meat, a good mixture of vegetables, a good fish sauce, and of course the very good spring rolls. The negatives included the fact that they did not offer lemongrass chicken and the fact that the dish did not include mint among the mixed vegetables. Neither of these detracted greatly from the dish, although if I lived in the area I would hope these would be available in the Vietnamese food.

Tea

Jasmine tea

Jasmine tea

For hot tea the restaurant serves a very high quality jasmine tea served with loose leaves. I was somewhat amused by the lemon and honey they give you to put in the tea, but it was quite good without these additions (but at least everyone has a choice). In addition to the jasmine tea I ordered they also offer green and chrysanthemum hot tea, Vietnamese iced coffee, iced tea, orange juice, and freshly squeezed lemonade. All of these items currently cost $3.50 and at least with respect to the jasmine tea, I thought it was well worth it.

Further Comments
In a sense I felt that the food here was really better than in other Vietnamese restaurants to which I have given the same rating, but it is taking into consideration the fact that Blu Basil does not have as large a choice as other restaurants (such as the fact that no lemongrass chicken is available). I will say, though, that adding the spring rolls on top was an unexpected bonus that few other restaurants include.

The menu included quite a few dishes that either looked like more exotic Vietnamese dishes or were “fusion,” so I think if you come here expecting to pay $$$ instead of $$ you might well find some very good dishes.

They have a large variety of pho, and it seems as if they have the basic dishes well covered as well as the more expensive and elaborate ones.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Full Bar

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 27, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Grilled Chicken Bowl

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (loose leaves)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Grilled Chicken Bowl