Kenny Tang’s is a local Asian restaurant in Coral Springs, FL that has a lot of political buzz. The owner – Chef Kenny Tang actually catered for President Obama during a 2012 campaign stop. He’s also cooked for President George W. Bush and catered for many very high-end hotels in South Florida like the Breakers in Palm Beach. So how did his Coral Springs restaurant measure up to us? It seemed a little too ambitious and the end result kind of didn’t live up to our expectation.
Kenny Tang’s is located in a small strip mall anchored by a Walmart Neighborhood Market. The restaurant itself is smaller than expected and it’s split up into two rooms. The first room as you walk in contains what looks like (or was) a small sushi bar (very small), a regular bar that was also serving as the wait station and the host stand. We were immediately greeted by the hostess and asked if we had reservations. We had none, but were seated right away. The main dining area is to the right and there are maybe six tables with a few very large round tables. We can see how this place would fill up fast and reservations would be needed.
The restaurant was decorated nicely with some vases and other wall hangings that kept décor to a minimum. It all worked well and the space looked neat and clean. The kitchen was partially open to the dining area and in our opinion it looked much bigger than needed. We actually saw Kenny Tang himself making rounds in the kitchen about half way through our meal.
We were brought water and what looked to be fried wonton strips when our server greeted us. We needed a few minutes to look over the menu so we munched on the fried ‘wonton strips’ while we decided. The strips were a bit on the greasy side and were really thin and really tasted like corn flake cereal, only in a strip. Maybe it was rice paper or something, but they lacked any flavor. The dipping sauce that was served was thick like a duck sauce, but much lighter in flavor and color. Not the best pre-dinner choice, but we still munched on them.
Their menu is split into dim sum, noodle dishes and entrees (wok). They also have some sushi offerings on a special menu that might rotate more often. When our server returned, we ordered two soups and a dim sum sampler to start. She did ‘warn’ us that the Forest Mushroom Soup was ‘cream based’. Strange to see a cream based soup in an Asian restaurant, but we still ordered it. The soups didn’t take long to some out of the kitchen. The Forest Mushroom Soup was electric white. It wasn’t ‘cream based’…it was cream. It was loaded with shitake, straw and button mushrooms with elevated the flavor a bit, but the cream was a bit too overpowering to really enjoy. We are still puzzled at this soup offering in an Asian restaurant.
Jeff’s Shredded Roast Duck Soup was actually very good. Loaded with umami flavor, there were large pieces of duck throughout. We did find some bones in the meat which is not a good thing. They should be much more careful when they shred it. We found that mixing some of the duck soup into the mushroom soup made a good concoction.
After we finished our soups, our server took our entrée order and said it would be a few more minutes for our dim sum sampler. I then overheard her in the kitchen “I asked for two samplers, you only gave me one”. That meant it was going to be a longer wait as the table next to us got the one that was ready. It took about 15 more minutes for the sampler to come out. The plating was very nice and the dim sum looked amazing. They give you two of every item to sample and it’s chef’s choice, which means whatever they want to give you. Today it must have been fried dim sum day as every item our plate was deep fried. All of the selections were hot out of the fryer so we cautiously dug in. The Edamame Tempura Dumpling was interesting, but did lack a bit of flavor. The veggie and mushroom spring roll was tasty, but nothing made it stand out from any other restaurant out there.
The two stand outs on the dim sum sampler platter was the fried Chicken Sui Mei which was very tasty and had little pink caviar on top which did give it a little twist on the norm. The deep fried scallop and shrimp dumpling also stood out and was very tasty.
Our entrees were next, but they were also a bit slower out of the kitchen than we expected. The Singapore Rice Noodles were still hot and appeared to be a hearty portion. The curry flavor was there, but the sauce was a bit gritty. The noodles were done just right, but the noodle ratio was too high. There were only three shrimp and maybe four pieces of roast pork. The sauce also had a little kick which we did like and they gave us extra chili sauce on the side.
The Prawns in Peppercorn Sauce plate looked amazing. They sure do plate the food very nicely here and it makes quite an impact. At first we were ‘wowed’ by the dish, but that was mainly from our eyes doing the eating. As we looked further, we found that there were only three prawns. That’s a low number considering that the first word in the name of the dish is prawns. The sauce was your typical brown Asian sauce but it did have a peppercorn kick to it, which did give it some depth. The prawns were fresh and cooked well with a nice flavor, but the star was actually the vegetables. The steamed asparagus were really good and not stringy at all (like ours are at home). The veggies in the sauce were a little crisp and covered most of the dish. They offer you jasmine rice or noodles with your entrée. We chose the noodles and regretted it. They are thin and like a dry version of a lo mein. I’m guessing that you use them like rice and mix it with the sauce, but we felt that rice would go much better here.
While the overall prices are not very high for each item, you can rack up a serious bill if you want to try many items on the menu. The dim sum seemed to be priced a little high unless you order the sampler. The service was good, except the kitchen did seem to have a timing issue once in a while. While the plating looks to be a work of art here, the flavors need some tweaks along with portion size. Remember if you plan a late dinner visit, make a reservation just in case. In short, was Kenny Tang’s service and food good, absolutely. But was it “presidential” good, not quite.
Kenny Tang’s is located at 10615 West Atlantic Boulevard, Coral Springs FL.