For some time now, the First Chinese BBQ chain has dominated in the DFW area for authentic Chinese cuisine (Cantonese specialty). Ask any food lover for the best Chinese food in town, and they’ll take you right to the hanging roasted pigs and ducks at First Chinese BBQ. A new Asian supermarket, Asia World Market, recently opened in northeast Plano (Legacy at 75), and has brought some new Asian restaurants to the DFW dining scene.
I was checking out the new Asia World Market before a BYOB dinner (almost a weekly ritual now since there are quite a few good BYOB restaurants in DFW) at Jasmine Thai (my favorite Thai place in DFW thus far). By the way, the Asia World Market is large, clean, with a good selection of all sorts of Asian foods. I noticed that Japanese and Korean items had their own aisles. Anyway, armed with a bottle of Yalumba Barossa, I was ready for some excellent Thai. However, out of all the restaurants in the shopping center, we noticed one with a particularly busy amount of activity, New San Dor.
I went in with the intention of grabbing a takeout menu and coming back another time, but between the modern sophisticated look of the restaurant (love the clay orange walls) and the mouthwatering extensive Cantonese menu, I knew I had to try it for dinner that very night. Jasmine Thai would have to wait until another time as we put our name down on New San Dor’s waiting list.
Here’s the downside to eating at New San Dor (and hopefully it’s temporary): the restaurant has been open for less than a month and the employees’ efficiency completely reflect the restaurant’s new-ness. The logistics of clearing out tables and seating new customers didn’t flow smoothly. What was quoted as a 10 minute wait turned out to be 25 minutes. I’m not a patient one so this unexpected wait was irking at my irritability.
Once seated, service was much more prompt. Turns out New San Dor offers wine and beer but will allow you to BYO for a $5 corking fee, not too bad at all, especially considering the waiter goes through the whole ceremonial bit (I hate when restaurants charge a corking fee, but then just leave a corkscrew at your table for self-service). The menu was expansive, somehow we narrowed it down to two entrees, the sizzling seafood plate and beef with bitter melon. While we waited for our entrees, I took notice of the patrons around us. A Chinese family to our left had ordered an appetizing vegetarian tofu stir-fry, crispy chicken, and some sort of hot pot. The WASPy couple to our right had ordered your Americanized Chinese standards, sesame chicken and broccoli beef. Usually, at these authentic type Chinese restaurants, their “fake” Chinese food is lacking (like at First Chinese BBQ). Surprisingly, at New San Dor, perfectly glistening individual pieces (not stuck together by the gummy soggy batter) of sesame chicken is served on a bed of fresh steamed broccoli and beef with broccoli is actually beef slices with Chinese broccoli (gai lan). Now, I only got to see these dishes, not taste them, but the couple next to us scarfed their food down in no time, noting how delicious it is with every bite. Here’s the run down on our entrees:
Sizzling Seafood Plate:
I don’t think I can rave enough about this dish. I’m not even a big seafood lover but I’ve been thinking about this dish for half a week now. Tender lightly floured pieces of shrimp, calamari, and scallops in a brown sauce seasoned with garlic and black pepper. The calamari was pleasantly chewy and the scallops perfectly tender, the shrimp was a little bit too well done. It’s like seafood fajitas with a great Cantonese-style sauce.
Beef with Bitter Melon:
Bitter melon is a Chinese veggie that is more like squash than melon, and as its name implies, is bitter. Saying that it’s an acquired taste is an understatement. I’m actually not a die-hard fan of bitter melon (I was with an adventurous companion who insisted he wanted to give bitter melon a try), but I can handle it when the melon has been peeled before cooked (the skin is the most bitter part), like at Genroku. New San Dor’s version had the skin on (which is common in traditional preparation) and was a little too bitter for my taste. If you don’t think you’re into bitter vegetables, I challenge you to try the tender beef slices in the same dish. They have just a hint of bitterness, providing some depth to the otherwise simple brown sauce. As expected, my companion didn’t become a bitter melon fan, but still ate up the delicious beef slices.
Getting our check took a little longer than we wanted, but I’m not going to be too harsh on the service since the restaurant is so new. Dinner was $38 for two entrees, corking fee, tax and tip, only a tad more expensive than First Chinese BBQ. Every dish at New San Dor, both the ones we sampled and judging from the looks of the ones on the surrounding tables, was well-executed and as far as I can tell, used fresh ingredients. I will definitely be back. I noticed that there is a small menu of set family style dinners (prix fixe based on how many are in your party) written in Chinese. I can’t read Chinese (only very basic characters) so perhaps when my parents are in town, we’ll give the set menu family style dinners a try.
New San Dor is giving First Chinese BBQ a run for their money as my favorite Cantonese restaurant in DFW. It doesn’t have the roasted goods hanging in the window, but the atmosphere and the tasty dishes are hard to beat.
Oh, one more thing. Boba Latte, my favorite bubble tea place in DFW, has opened a second location in this shopping center (original at Belt Line & Greenville in Richardson). They use real fruit instead of the powder stuff for smoothies and slushies. Good place for dessert if you decide to try out New San Dor.
Rating: 4 / 5
New San Dor
240 Legacy Dr
Plano, TX 75023