Have you ever had one of those experiences that makes you break up with a restaurant? I think I officially called it quits with Ming’s Bar B Q yesterday.
I’ve never loved this Buford Highway restaurant but I’ve liked it well enough for its good (if, not to my palate, exemplary) Cantonese barbecue, noodles and soups. Once in a while I like to get a plate of pan-fried noodles for lunch or a box of crispy-skinned roast pork, duck or chicken to bring home for dinner. It’s the kind of place that is common in cities with bigger Chinatowns, but rare enough in Atlanta to be worth searching out.
It has never in my experience been a friendly joint, but always an efficient one.
So last night I stopped by and placed an order for some chicken, pork, garlic snow pea leaves and plain rice. Only after the order was placed and rang up did I notice the “cash only” sign. The bill was for $25.25 and I found exactly $22 in my wallet. Since our family minivan doubles as a rolling United States mint, I figured I’d be able scrounge up enough change to make the difference. I came back with a handful of change — quarters and dimes, mostly, with about 30 pennies. $25.25 on the dot.
The woman behind the counter counted out the change, looked dubiously at the waiting box of food and said, “Wait. Your ordered rice? We didn’t ring it up. Two dollars for rice.”
Because I didn’t have the money, she took the box out of the bag, shook her head and said, “I guess you’ll have to cook your own rice.”
I gotta say…I’m not in the habit of trying to cadge free food (quite the opposite, actually), but in this circumstance I think they might have thrown it in. The restaurant was nearly empty, so it’s not like they were going to run out of rice.
The insult to injury was getting home and opening this box of completely-raw-in-the-center chicken. I made rice, fried the chicken in a skillet and mulled over the fact that $9.99 was a lot to pay for a box snow pea tips. The pork was good.
Sorry, Ming’s. We’re over. Anybody know where else I can get my Cantonese barbecue fix?
P.S. AJC Buzz says my tagline should be, “I eat it so you don’t have to.”