I noticed the new restaurant Ming’s Asian Cuisine while driving past the eatery during a recent visit to Johnson City. I filed the information away and returned a few days later to give the restaurant a try.
I didn’t know if we would be arriving at a buffet or other type of restaurant. In fact, Ming’s offers an inventive, somewhat upscale menu of Asian favorites.
Ming’s Asian Cuisine is one of the newest entries onto the Johnson City dining scene. The restaurant opened last month in a large, spacious building on Hamilton Place in Johnson City.
Some careful planning went into the beautiful interior design of the dining area, which features walls covered with a wallpaper formed of woven natural fiber trimmed with dark wood paneling edged with a gold gilt design. Other walls in the dining area are curved and fashioned from natural stone tiles. Decorative frames in the shape of Asian fans display art of Asian scenery on the walls. The overall look is quite sleek and elegant, offering an inviting ambiance for diners.
The back of the dining area offers a sushi bar and a cocktail bar. The latter was unoccupied during my visit as the restaurant seeks its permits for serving alcoholic beverages.
According to the restaurant’s menu, the kitchen at Ming’s uses organic ingredients, including Angus beef, sesame and olive oil and locally grown produce. The menu also guarantees that no MSG is used in any of the restaurant’s dishes.
My friends and I began our first visit by perusing the meal-starters listed on the menu, including a range of appetizers as well as soups, such as Egg Flower, Wonton and Hot and Sour.
The appetizers at Ming’s Asian Cuisine include Crab Rangoon, Spare Ribs, Pork Egg Rolls, Calamari and Pork of Chicken Dumplings, which can be steamed or pan-fried. Appetizer portions of sushi and sashimi are also available.
We decided to share an order of Pork Dumplings, and we each also ordered an individual Vegetable Spring Roll.
The dumplings consisted of a half-dozen tasty morsels stuffed with minced pork, vegetables and seasonings. They were accompanied by a delicate sweet soy dipping sauce.
I really liked the crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls. They are accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce enhanced with a swirl of hot mustard.
Both meal-starters provided some flavorful treats to whet our appetites for the main courses.
Once we finished off these starters, we turned our attention to selecting an entree.
I considered several of the Chef’s Specials listed on the menu, including Curry Seafood Thai Style Casserole, Crispy Shrimp with Honey Walnuts and Boneless Duck.
Other dishes that attracted my notice include the Mongolian Beef, Kung Pao Shrimp, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Cantonese Chow Fun and Mu Shu Pork. All entrees are served with a choice of white, brown or fried rice.
The menu also offers Fried Rice, Lo Mein and several vegetarian options, including Egg Plant in Garlic Sauce, Bean Curd Sichuan Style and Sauteed String Beans.
The restaurant also offers Special Sushi Rolls, as well as Japanese-style dinner entrees. The Japanese selections are accompanied by a cup of Miso Soup and a House Salad.
I ordered the Shrimp in Garlic Sauce while my friends chose the Triple Crown and the Curry Chicken.
Many times, I tend to order a dish at Asian restaurants and end up liking the taste of the entrees chosen by my dining companions better than my own selection.
That wasn’t the case during my visit to Ming’s. I loved the rich garlic sauce that flavored my ample helping of plump, tender shrimp and mixed vegetables.
I was allowed to sample the other dishes at the table, which were all quite good, but decided I had made the best choice on this occasion.
Of course, the other dishes each had their own merits. The Triple Crown at Ming’s Asian Cuisine offers a generous medley of shrimp, chicken and beef with snow peas, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and bell peppers in a spicy-sweet garlic sauce.
The Curry Chicken at Ming’s Asian Cuisine is a Thai-style dish accompanied by diced bell peppers, onions and celery in a flavorful broth. It’s not the very best yellow curry I’ve tried, but it would make a satisfying dish for most curry fans.
There may be a bit of a sticker shock for some of the dinner entrees, which are a little more expensive than at many Asian restaurants. Fortunately, we also found the quality of food matched the prices of the items. The stylish presentation of the dishes, and the dedication to fresh and flavorful ingredients justified the prices. We also found the portions quite generous. In fact, a couple of us took some of our meals home in carryout containers to enjoy later.
The traditional fortune cookies arrived with the bill, offering a light dessert to wrap up our generous meals.
Although we visited for dinner, I took note that the restaurant offers a special lunch menu Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The lunch menu offers about 20 different menu items for $7.95 each. Selections include Honey Sesame Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Pepper Steak and Orange Chicken.
If you want a slightly less expensive introduction to Ming’s Asian Cuisine, you might want to consider a lunch-time visit to the restaurant.
Whether you go for dinner or lunch, let them know they came highly recommended.
AT A GLANCE: Ming’s Asian Cuisine, 1045 Hamilton Place, Johnson City. 328-7173. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Dinner entrees range from $11.95-$22.95. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Alcoholic beverage permit pending.