Monday, August 6, 2012
Eatery - Hidden Village (CA)
25840 Cedar St, Idyllwild, CA 92549
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Chinese
How much can a person expect from a Chinese place up in the (mostly non-Asian) mountains of Idyllwild? I tried to keep that in mind as I ate there because even though the owners were Chinese, their main customers were not. So yes, the menu items listed were quite Americanized and very simple but they had a lot of good basics available. The place is located quite hidden away amongst various trees and down a road that isn't the main one in the city. You would've missed the Hidden Village if it wasn't painted a bright red.
Our first order was for the "Hidden Village Seafood Chowder," in keeping with my personal rule of ordering a dish that has the restaurant's name in the title. I mean, why would you put your name on it if you weren't good at doing it? Well they get much credit from me for this soup. The portion was huge for the two of us (it was listed as for two), and the seafood in it plentiful. A thick clear broth with turned egg whites, tomatoes, sliced snow peas, shrimp, scallops, and imitation crab, it was very filling and soothing on the stomach. The soup was very homestyle-like and delicious. We enjoyed it very much.
We had also gotten the House Special Fried Rice which was basically fried rice with everything (egg, peas, carrots, green onion, pork, beef, barbecue pork, shrimp, etc etc). I thought it was pretty good save for the butter they must've used to make the grains so separate and light when together. Surprisingly, however, it didn't leave grease marks on the plate so whoohoo! The meat was tender and the vegetables plentiful. Who doesn't like having everything in one place?
The entree was their beef with black mushroom and bamboo. I love this general combination with other dishes so knew that I would like this. Unfortunately, I was unimpressed with this dish. It tasted heavily of being over-salted or just assaulted with MSG. The mushrooms seemed to be the dried Shiitake kind that hadn't been soaked long enough since they were still pretty thin when we had them. I liked the bamboo and tenderness of the beef but wow, the saltiness was just overdone. I couldn't have more than the small portion I had first given myself when the plate came out.
They ended the meal with some fortune cookies (of course!) and the bill. After giving them our credit card, we got the receipt back and saw to our surprise that they had already charged us tip of $5! What? I mean, we were going to tip anyway but forcing it upon us left a bad taste in our mouths. That's just a bit uncalled for, people. If you had told us ahead of time, great, but adding it on after charging the card is not going to give us something nice to say about you to others afterward...