I always wanted to do it. Go out to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner.
You know, there’s always the standard, traditional, you-gotta-do-it Christmas dinner. Turkey. Goose. Roast Beef. All great stuff. But sneaking off to a Chinese restaurant instead …makes you kinda giggly.
For the 2nd year in a row my mom, sister (Nina), Duane, and I have done just that. The first year we didn’t know where to go and just followed the local online suggestions. We went to Chinatown in Green Hills. LOVED IT. We’ve been back several times throughout the year. The hostesses & the waitresses know us now. And we have our favorite waitress, too, but love them all. Everyone who works at Chinatown is especially friendly and all of them smile so very easily.
So this Christmas we knew exactly where to go. We also heard that reservations might be a good idea altho we never made them before. But we did this time and it seemed to work a little magic for us in the overly stuffed entryway crowded with guests trying to get in, picking up a take-out order, or just making an attempt to get to the desk to check in for their reservation. This is a very ambitious group and you have to be sure to bring your patience when arriving at Chinatown on Christmas day.
We got to our table and our favorite waitress ran over, obviously in a frenzy (but with an enjoying-it smile), already apologizing for delays. But she got our hot Chinese tea, beers, crispy noodles & dipping sauce, and scallion pancake out right away.
Then we ordered our Chinatown favorites (read: best things on the menu according to us): Mongolian Beef
Shrimp w Black Bean Sauce
(We passed on our other fav: Pineapple Shrimp in favor for:)
Shrimp Lo Mein
Moo Shu Vegetables (you know, the one with the pancakes)
Let me divert here for a minute…my family LOVES Chinese food the way we knew it & tasted it made by Chinese people in New York restaurants. They called it Cantonese, but I’m not sure if that is indeed what they cooked in Canton (egg foo young, shrimp in lobster sauce, pepper steak, wonton soup, fried rice, lo mein, chicken chow mein, spare ribs, shrimp toast). Still, that was Chinese food to us.
Nashville’s Chinatown delivers some of this nostalgic taste plus their spin on classics, and many of their own signature dishes. They take it all many steps higher. WOW. i.e. the Pineapple Shrimp. You have to try this. Little squares of pineapple (like those little math block squares) and chunky shrimp dusted with a mystery coating and fried or sautéed (hard to tell which). It’s a surprise with every morsel. WHAT IS THAT FLAVOR? I think it’s heaven.
At this restaurant, you don’t have 5 entrees on the table all basically tasting like soy sauce. Every time you try a new dish you’re sampling a whole new flavor.
It’s a year-round regular stop (for dinner or lunch). It does not disappoint. And if you go next Christmas, make a reservation. I’ll see you there for sure.
[If you’ve got a minute (well, actually 4.5) I’m betting you’ll love this little film. It’s about eavesdropping at a restaurant– but it kinda connects.] CLICK: Table 7