Dinner at home was almost always family style. We’d each have a bowl of rice, and then a couple dishes at the center of the table to share. We took as much or as little as we wanted, and wrapped the leftovers up for tomorrow’s lunch. This summer, I’ve rarely had the chance to go out to dinner and eat a family style dinner with friends, but luckily (or unluckily—you can decide at the end of this post), I came across a new modern Chinese-American restaurant, Mei Mei, whose menu has a little footnote encouraging family style ordering.
Eight of us trekked over towards Fenway to find the beautiful, wooden-accented restaurant with friendly service and chalkboard drawings. The menu was on the pricy side, with “larger” dishes ranging around $16-$20, and the smaller dishes being around $7. Upon asking the waitress how much food we should order for the eight of us, she suggested four larger and four smaller dishes to share family style. Unfortunately, she severely underestimated the size of our—or any human’s—stomachs.
Our first larger dish was the Vegetable Biang Biang, which were hand-pulled noodles with turnips, greens, and almond yogurt. I kid you not, each of us got a singular noodle. From the strand that I remember, the noodle’s texture held the spices tightly. It was a long noodle, but I could have used at least fifteen more.
We also ordered the Honey Walnut Shrimp with walnuts, honeycomb candy, walnut mayo, and honey buttermilk. The combination of savory shrimp and the sweet honeycomb candy was impeccable, and quite possibly the best shrimp I’ve ever tasted. As we each bit into our single shrimp, it was apparent that we all had similar thoughts.
The last “larger” dish was the Hot Times Curry, which was green curry, chicken, rhubarb relish, and rice. The sweet rhubarb paired amazingly with the traditional green curry, and the chicken was wonderfully tender as well. “My tablespoon of curry and rice was perfect,” David told me. “The rice was not soaked in curry sauce, and it was the perfect amount of spiciness so that I wanted to eat more, but I wouldn’t have to grab my water every other bite. It sucks that I only had one bite though.”
We also had two orders of The Double Awesome, which was a scallion pancake sandwich of cheddar, pesto, and fried eggs. Since only seven of us wanted to have some of it, we cut each sandwich into quarters, and then we cut one of the quarters into sevenths. Again, though we each only had a taste of the sandwich, the runny egg mixed with the gooey cheese tasted great with the crispy scallion pancake, and the pesto was a fine touch.
Our last order was another “smaller” dish of sweet corn fritters, which were essentially crispy balls of cornmeal and sweet corn. It looked, and had the texture of a falafel, and it tasted like a more delicate version of a corndog without the dog. “It was delicious and not oily at all,” Jenn said. “I wish I could have had more.”
Altogether, we each paid around $12 for the dinner that consisted of one noodle strand, one shrimp, a spoonful of curry and rice, half a corn fritter, and a quarter of a sandwich. “I think I’m hungrier than when I came in,” the other David whispered at the end of the meal. The food was undeniably amazing, but the portions were not suitable for a family style dinner, especially with a large group. If the portions were multiplied by three, this seriously could have been my first 10/10 for the blog, but the meager servings can’t be disregarded, considering that we even made a stop at McDonald’s before we headed back home. 7.5/10