Marco Polo expedition

marco.jpgAs a four-top yesterday evening at about eight, we may have been the smallest party at Marco Polo. There were a dozen and more in some groups, mostly students by appearance. When the menu came, up front were all the Malaysian dishes now a specialty of this restaurant located on the Oltorf side of the Clarion Inn complex (still the Quality Inn to some) at IH-35. The wipe-clean plastic-coated bill of fare showed photographs of some items, but not of others. Apart from some of the standard appetizer items and soups, the Chinese portion of the menu was relegated to the back pages. Before proceeding to sample the Malaysian dishes, we did share two soups, one with vegetables in a chicken-based broth and the other with scallops. These were delicious. The pan-fried dumplings were very large, and the flavorful filling was of a chopped consistency, not the oft-found paste. The colorful main courses brought to the table could have been photographed for some fancy food magazine. They were beautiful, especially the platter of shrimp with red pepper. I enjoyed my course, described as chicken in Malaysian black-pepper sauce, so much that I never did sample the shrimp, lobster, or scallop plates that were such a delight to look upon. All portions were very generous. Large as they were, they were so delicious, and we were so hungry, that there was scarcely a morsel left. Tea went well with this food, and Tsingtao was an even better accompaniment. The rice had a nutty flavor and was truly delicious. We kept seeing plates going to other tables that did not match any menu descriptions. It may be that, as was the case with Pao’s Mandarin House when it was downtown, there’s another menu for the initiated. The staff, though very friendly, was not always able to convey the nature of the unfamiliar dishes. After reading more about this cuisine, I know that there are several items listed on the menu, though not well described, that I would try another time. Somebody here can really cook.

2 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 11:12 am

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about that place, especially the Dim Sum on Sundays. I live less than five minutes from there and have been meaning to go for years. I’d better get off my ass.

    I really miss the Pao’s downtown. That was easily my favorite local chinese restaurant.

  2. Prentiss Riddle (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

    Yes, the dim sum scene on Sunday rocks. I went with a Malaysian Chinese friend and she gave it her seal of approval.

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