If this is modern, I want old fashioned

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for over a week, every night thinking this is the day I write about the Modern China Cafe, and then putting it off.

I think that’s because I don’t really like to write about places that disappoint me.  I’d much rather laud a new restaurant than pan it, yet pan I must.

It looked like this would be a winner.  A Chinese restaurant on North Main street in Walnut Creek, big patio in front where we could bring Claudia (a major consideration these days), open until midnight so we could have a late supper, a promise of a fresh take on the standard Chinese menu.

What we go was a good location, nice tables, poor food and sad service.


Tessa and Gail at the outdoor table with built in fire pit

The tables have fire pits built in–there is flame coming out of the glass beads in the center.  I don’t know how they get around the insurance or liability issues, but they sure are interesting and fun.

The menu has both the standard dishes you would expect and individual orders of dim sum, which don’t come around on a cart.  The Modern China is as much a bar as a restaurant, and the dim sum serves as perfect small plate bar food.

We began with two orders of pot stickers–there are only 4 pieces in an order.


Here it is–a plate with the pot stickers just thrown on, the dipping sauce perched atop the food, no presentation or care.  That matched the taste–which was non-existent.  These were the most boring, insipid potstickers I’ve had in a lifetime of smacking the tasty dumplings down.

I had the Mongolian beef.


Bland.  Pedestrian.  Again, no presentation, no care, no desire to be better than anyone else.  Just some food thrown on a plate.

The accompanying bowl of rice was hard and crusty–I suspect someone in the back makes dozens of bowls at a time, and nobody cares if they get cold or hard.  Well, I care.  And I damn sure don’t like it.

Gail had the barbecue pork chow mein Hong Kong style, with pan fried noodles.


You know the drill–no care, food just thrown on plate, not very good.  This place is nothing if not consistent.

We had a strange moment when a hostess, who had been admiring Claudia, asked what Gail’s dish was–apparently even the staff can’t recognize this food.

You would think you would at least get good tea in a Chinese restaurant, but my usual glass of iced tea, lime not lemon, was room temperature, not enough ice, and clearly made from syrup or powder or some other commercial method that produces cheap product quickly.  It sure as hell wasn’t a decently brewed beverage.

I wanted to like this place.  I’d love to have a somewhere to eat late at night, right here in the Creek.  Chinese cuisine is old home comfort food to me, and it pains me that this the Modern China Cafe misses the mark so badly.


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