Year Of The Snake? There’s No Snake

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Andrea’s View:  I experienced much confusion on Chinese New Year at On Time Seafood on Indy’s westside.  First, our GPS had placed this restaurant on the wrong side of the street.  Easily remedied, we found it without too much shouting.  Secondly, I believe that they may be changing their name from On Time Seafood  to Lucky Lou.  Thirdly, there is no indication inside whether you are to seat yourself or wait for someone to seat you.  That one, I can clear up, you wait for someone to seat you.

After that, there will be more confusion.  Confusion of the part of the staff, and the patrons.  Our first server said, “You are here for dim sum right?”  We replied, “Yes.”  The server disappears.   Hot tea arrives (the hot tea is superb) and then nothing.  Another young man comes out of nowhere and says, “You want spring rolls?”  Sure, we say.  Spring rolls appear.  They were tasty enough, though I have no idea what they were filled with.  A young woman arrives with a cart of food and says, “You want?”  Sure, but I don’t know what these things are.  She tries in very broken English (not her fault at all, please don’t send hate mail) to explain what these items are, but I don’t understand and would have appreciated a written menu with actually names and descriptions of the dishes.  I point to a dish she may have called “beef rolls” and to a dish that were definitely  taro rolls.  The beef rolls were similar to meat balls, although they may have been sitting out a while as some fat had congealed at the bottom of each morsel.  The taro rolls were fantastic in the sense that they were sweet and familiar.  Another cart came around and I pointed to a dish that I have no idea what the name is, but it was a rice paper dumpling with peanuts, chives, and pork.  The pork may or may not have been pork intestine.  This was okay, but  I did not care for the texture of the rice paper shell.  The last item I procured for Dave and I was curried calamari.  This, I actually liked.  Dave did not.  I was under the assumption that Dave liked anything that had been curried.  Apparently not.

As each cart came by and items were chosen off the carts, a small hash mark was made on a piece of paper that resembled a sushi menu.  I assumed, (again, my fault entirely) that after the meal, we could go up to the cashier, hand them the slip and pay.  That is not the procedure at On Time/Lucky Lou, but our server didn’t seem to know what the payment procedure was either.  She was flustered and I felt like a heel who just wanted to pay for my lunch and leave.  It seemed like the whole experience was lost in translation and I take full blame.

Dave’s View:  Here’s another restaurant for which  I can’t say kind words, but I also can’t say negative words either.  It’s just there wasn’t anything in particular that stood out.  For instance, the inside of the place, wasn’t horribly decorated, but also didn’t have any uniqueness.   Even though there were red lanterns hanging from the ceiling,  some interesting Chinese art on the wall, and attractive dining chairs, they all seemed overly commercialized.

The food had the same problem.  The beef roll was sitting for too long and was drying out.  As you can see in the picture, it’s sitting in its own fat.  The taste  of the beef roll had an earthy appeal to it, but the dryness took over my mouth.  The spring roll was prepared well, but lacked any creativity.  It is the same spring roll you’ve eaten everywhere!  The curry calamari wasn’t my favorite either, but here I have a bias.  I really don’t like any calamari made anywhere.  Calamari reminds me of chewing on beef gristle.  I try it every time I’m given calamari and every time I hate it.  So if you like calamari, try it here and let me know what you think.  My favorite though, out of all of them, was the taro roll.  They are sweet, purple inside, and complimented the other Dim Sum items we had.

We did order some tea and it is the unfiltered type, so don’t “freak” out when you see “floaties” in your tea.  It’s perfectly normal and it’s the way Chinese serve it.  It was tangy, but did not compliment our meal well, but that  may have been our fault.  Andrea and I are still in the beginning stages of tea pairing with Chinese food.

On the service side, the service was slow, but the place was packed because it was Chinese New Year’s Day and servers were scrambling everywhere.  There is a slight language barrier that you must get through to  order food, but if you’ve read our past blogs, that usually signifies excellent food.  This time though,  On Time, was lagging.

Service:  7  Food:  7  Ambiance:  7   Total:  21 out of 30

$25-$30 without adult beverages.  They do not serve adult beverages.

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On Time Seafood Restaurant on Foodio54

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2 responses »

  1. Heh, reminds me of the first few times I tried dim sum in Chicago area’s Chinatown. On-Time has ok dim sum, the service can be spotty & it does help to know what you want to order as not much help there otherwise: try Cha Siu Bao (BBQ pork bun), & the Shrimp Crepes -which are really rice noodle wrapped shrimps know as Chow Fun (pronounced Chow Fune) but some places call ‘crepes'; Hao Gao is shrimp dumpling – we do tend to skew towards shrimp in our dim sum with pork being so predominate and we just don’t care for pork items. We get Fried Shrimp Balls (and make the requisite jokes) if we’re feeling like fried food. They will try to get you to go for what’s on the carts and that’s fine if you want it but don’t be afraid to ask for other items instead. Try a tofu dish or stuffed eggplant or the Chinese broccoli they have there. Alternatively, try Shanghi Lil’s for their dim sum: it’s a bit more Americanized but still quite good, and they help you identify what the heck you’re eating.

    • Thank you for the good information. I did not know that we could ask for items that were not on the cart, I will do that next time. Dave and I have visited Shanghi Lil and we did find it more Americanized and familiar.

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