I’ve wanted to try Ming’s Asian Cuisine ever since the “Opening Soon” banner went up on their Hamilton Place property a couple of months back. I got my chance late one afternoon.
We were coming back from picking up a load of mulch, and my dining partner said: “Look, Ming’s is open. Let’s get lunch.” Since I was wearing my work jeans and my “hole-y” work shirt, I demurred, saying that we could do an early supper there once we got cleaned up. After a quick wash-up and change of clothes, it was off to North Johnson City’s latest Land of Celestial Delights.
Ming’s has a comfortable, soothing Asian Modern décor. The staff is attentive and very capable, as we found out when our server turned out to be our old friend Brandon. My partner chose the Mu Shu Pork ($12.95) and a bowl of the Hot & Sour Soup ($3.95). I ordered the Crab Rangoon ($4.95) as an appetizer, followed by my entrée of Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($12.95).
Wonder of wonders, Ming’s Crab Rangoon actually had shreds of crabmeat inside. While good, the Hot & Sour Soup needed a meatier overtone to make it exemplary. My partner’s Mu Shu Pork was a delicious stir-fry of shredded pork, Asian mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, carrots and bamboo shoots. Accompanying the dish were thin pancakes and a ramekin of Hoisin sauce for dipping; a kind of Asian take on the fajitas and tortillas pairing.
My Chicken Lettuce Wraps saw a mixture of minced chicken, diced carrots, onions and peas served in a softball-sized iceberg lettuce leaf bowl and garnished with rice noodles. Now, there are three of these delicious lettuce bowls per order, so be sure to bring your appetite.
Well, the food and service on our first visit was so good we scheduled a return trip, and brought along two other members of the dine-around bunch to share our fun. The Dieter ordered Ming’s Shrimp with Cashew Nuts ($14.95). The Carnivore chose the Beef with Garlic Sauce ($12.95), while my partner opted for lighter fare, ordering the fried Chicken Dumplings ($6.95). I wanted sushi, and picked out two Maki offerings: the Yellowtail & Scallion Roll ($3.95) and the Spicy Salmon Roll ($4.95).
Questions about the cookery of our choices were deftly answered by Rocky, the maitre’d and Lee, our server.
The Dieter’s Shrimp with Cashew Nuts featured some sizable shrimp stir-fried with an Asian vegetable medley in a savory brown sauce, the cashews providing a nice texture and taste garnish to the dish. My partner’s fried Dumplings were well-prepared, the chicken being a lighter and much more flavorful choice than the usual pork filling.
Though chopsticks were provided, my partner preferred the familiarity and proven food handling ability of cold steel. I had no trouble with my set of chopsticks, easily manipulating well-prepared morsels of Yellowtail and spicy salmon roll, along with the odd sliver of pickled ginger or dab of eye-watering wasabi just for fun.
The Carnivore’s Beef with Ginger Sauce was last to arrive, and well worth the wait. Strips of lean marinated beefsteak tossed with a toothsome mixture of carrot, asparagus, sliced bell pepper, snow peas and zucchini, then simmered in a fiery garlic sauce for some added spice and heat. The Carnivore takes Asian cuisine composition seriously, and spent some time tossing and stirring the contents of his plate, making sure the beef, veggies and garlic sauce were well distributed.
A first forkful speared and brought mouthward was paused and scrutinized intensely. This was followed by a sidelong glance at the rest of us, who by now were watching with interest. Having his audience’s full attention, the forkful was inserted. There followed a slow, thoughtful mastication followed by a smile from our friend and another forkful. Gradually, the forkfuls began coming with greater frequency. We each assayed our one (and only) taste of the dish; excellent. Finally, placing fork on plate, the Carnivore sat back with a satisfied sigh.
“Good. Very good.” was his comment to Rocky, Lee, and the rest of us.
“My dear, how kind of you,” said my dining partner to me, while looking at one contented Carnivore, “Dinner and a show.”
Ming’s Asian Cuisine1045 Hamilton Place
Sun -Thu 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fri – Sat 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Credit cards accepted.