Ming's Café is a cozy little eatery with a big selection of Szechuan, Hunan, and Cantonese offerings.
The cafe offers takeout, delivery and dine-in options. It's a hidden casual retreat for meeting a friend for a bite to eat and catching up. With soothing mauve and dark green walls, wood floors and tables, some Asian pictures and other collectibles, the atmosphere is peaceful.
After perusing the “customers' favorites” list, I ordered my food at the counter — steamed dumplings for an appetizer, and shrimp with cashews for my entrée, along with some hot tea. Yes, my friends, I dined alone. My trusty “dining companion” was otherwise engaged.
My waitress arrived quickly with a pot of steaming hot tea, a welcome comfort on a damp, chilly day. The dumplings came shortly afterward. I have to admit, steamed dumplings don't look as appealing as fried dumplings. Not at all. But these plump babies tasted delightful. Stuffed with fresh pork and savory seasoning, dipped in soy sauce, they were both filling and satisfying.
The cashew shrimp boasted a generous number of perfectly cooked plump shrimp atop a bed of carrots and green peppers, sprinkled with cashews and served with fluffy (not sticky) white rice. Both the carrots and peppers were cooked crisp-tender, sealing in their natural flavors. The sauce hit just the right note – spicy enough to make it delicious, and the cashews provided a pleasant contrast of taste and texture. I read ahead and discovered that the restaurant uses fresh vegetables, and I could definitely see and taste the difference.
For the record, they also use only white meat chicken and make their fried rice from scratch.
My dessert choice was a slice of key lime pie, added to the “customers' favorites.” The pie was possibly frozen and thawed, but that's OK; it was creamy, sweet and scratched an itch.
The meal was reasonable at under $25, so I went back to the counter and ordered carry-out for my missing companion. When asked for a recommendation for a beef lover, the server, a friendly gentleman, said he likes Szechuan beef. I queried if it was spicy hot, and he offered to take the heat up a notch for me.
The dish featured tender (I did taste it) tangy beef, with julienned carrots and green beans in a spicy sauce, served with rice. My companion, grateful for the surprise meal, said his veggies were, his actual words, “not soggy.”
With a menu boasting more than 70 selections, Ming’s Café has something for everyone. The staff is also accommodating, offering vegetarian options for favorite meat dishes.
The restaurant is expanding its delivery area. Currently, Ming’s delivers to Severna Park, parts of Arnold, and will soon expand into Pasadena.
Ming’s Café is a no-frills Asian café that's a nice step up from carryout only. The service was great. You can't beat good food, a comfortable environment, and smiles.