XO Taste (and not enough taste)

May 1, 2010 20:01 – 20:01

My verdict: Exceedingly bland. I won’t be going back.

XO Taste is hard to find. It’s at 6124 Arlington Blvd., but actually it’s on Patrick Henry Drive. Once you know that, it’s not so hard to find. But, even after you’ve been told “turn right on Patrick Henry,” you’re still drawn back to the buildings lining Route 50, and you’ll search each strip, and only venture to the right location after you’ve satisfied yourself that it really shouldn’t have an Arlington Boulevard address.

We probably ordered off the wrong page of the menu. Except, the entrées weren’t the only bland items. We both had the spring rolls. Karen liked them, but I found them very bland and utterly uninteresting.

Karen had egg drop soup–which I never order because even the best egg drop soup is still very bland. I had the hot and sour soup. It had no bite to it. None at all. And it was just barely sour. Hardly worth its name. House of Dynasty’s hot & sour soup puts everyone else’s to shame, true. But, XO’s doesn’t even put up a good fight.

Then came the entrées. Karen ordered the sizzling scallops. It was okay, and it was indeed sizzling, but it was very bland. Mind you, the sauce was a perfect texture and was very delicate and the scallops and broccoli were cooked perfectly. It’s just that that’s all I tasted. If I’d been blindfolded, I wouldn’t have known we were in an Asian restaurant.

I ordered the chunks of beef with broccoli in black pepper sauce—mostly because I love broccoli in Asian dishes, but also because I harbored the hope that their black pepper sauce might bear some resemblance to Taste of Saigon’s black pepper sauce.

Not even close. Worse, my dish had a little red chili pepper next to it in the menu, meaning it was supposed to be spicy. Not even close. The food was okay, but not what I want from a place called XO Taste.

Karen says she’ll try some of their other stuff for lunch sometime. Personally, there are hundreds of other places I need to try before XO gets a second chance.

The best part of the meal, in my opinion, was the 337 Cabernet Sauvignon wine. It was excellent, even if the amount they poured was on the stingy side. Oh… and the ice water was quite good. Ice and water are very hard to get wrong, although many restaurants do manage to screw even ice water up.

Their tea—which they bring out at the beginning without your asking for it—set the tone for the rest of the meal. Like everything except for the wine, the tea was bland—way too weak, even for Chinese tea.

At the end of the meal, there were no fortune cookies. Instead, they brought orange slices. The orange was okay… but it was a California orange. To this Indian River Florida orange lover, California oranges don’t measure up. They taste like they came out of a factory rather than off of a tree. Still, it was impeccably sliced. I’ll give ’em that.

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