Sophisticated China Tang channels ’30s vibe
With a mix of elements designed to evoke the feel of a 1930s Shanghai supper club, China Tang, the new restaurant at MGM Grand, charms you. It starts with the art deco-style décor and the art on the wall, and continues to a singer regaling you each hour and a noodle-pulling show five nights a week. This is the first location in the U.S., and with others in London and Hong Kong, the owners have had plenty of practice with exemplary service and attention to detail.
Like many Chinese restaurants, the offerings are plentiful. You’ll find a cocktail menu that lives up to its Vegas environs. One of the specialties is the colorful Tiki Five Spice—rum, baijiu, lime and pineapple juices, orgeat syrup bitters, Chinese five-spice and a bit of lime—which is then lit on fire with the help of an overproof rum! The Madame Shin is also a stunner, although on the other end of the spectrum from the Tiki Five Spice. Champagne, lychee vodka, ginger liqueur and a lovely liqueur with bergamot, lemons and flowers combine for a bright sip; making it extra special is a small scoop of pear sorbet, which is meant to slowly mix into the drink. There’s also an extensive wine list, and an expert to help you choose what to pair with what.
On the dim sum section of the menu are crab meat dumplings, which arrive delicately plated in a small steamer basket; nicely light vegetable spring rolls are enjoyed with sweet-and-sour and soy sauces. The barbecue pork appetizer comes tender and juicy, spiced with ginger, garlic and a signature sauce. You may choose to indulge in a bit of soup—hot and sour soup will both warm you up and get you ready for entrées such as the stir-fried Angus beef—these morsels are exceptionally tender and flavorful. Feeling brave? The Three Cups chicken, with basil and crispy shallots atop, and the spicy Wok Tossed Chicken have more than enough chilies to test your mettle.
The showstopper at China Tang might be hard to pinpoint, but the Hammer Chicken actually comes out in a shell, and is covered in wine, lit and hammered open right there. The chicken itself is baked for approximately five hours.
Vegetarians can choose from dishes such as the sweet and sour vegetables with cashews. It’s amazingly light, with the cashew flavor permeating that light dressing. Ask for the fried rice as a vegetarian dish (you can also get it with pork, chicken or shrimp) and enjoy the threadlike egg—it creates a pretty yellow bloom. On a recent visit, a spinach salad was created by pressing cooked spinach into a rectangular block, then covered with peanut sauce. It works marvelously well.
For dessert, the pan-fried Shanghainese Pancake sandwiches red bean paste and banana slices with flaky layers of pastry, and pairs that with ice cream. And, if you are so inclined, a tawny port provides a wonderful accent to the dish.
MGM Grand, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., singer performances at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. 702.891.3110