Chi Dynasty (Americana at Brand)
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Chinese food…if you want to call it that…in Glendale.
Oh the sacrifices I make for you people.
Chi Dynasty is someplace I never had a good vibe on. Partially, it was how they presented themselves as “Top 7 Chinese Restaurants in Los Angeles.” But after a while, you just want to strike it off your list.
Shoulda kept it on the list.
First, there was the general vibe. You walk inside, and it looks like they’re going for old world Hong Kong from the 1920s from…you know…when the British were in charge of the place. That’s not a bad thing. Of course, to walk inside, and be greeted by a racially diverse crew and waitstaff was not necessarily a bad thing either. They all seem committed and nice enough.
Of course, I wasn’t thrilled with the fact the alcohol selection contained exactly one Chinese beer, Tsingtao.
But the breaking point, the moment where I turned on this place faster than a NASCAR driver making a left turn, was when they set this in front of me:
No. No. No. No.
Are…you freaking…KIDDING ME???
What…is…my…number…one…rule? (Actually, Rule Number Three…but who’s counting?)
No Chinese place of any respectability…anywhere…at any time…is going to give you a fork as your first option…ever.
Like I’ve said before, it goes to the mentality of a place, it’s core philosophy. If a Chinese place is out there serving you with forks, it’s all but advertising the fact that actual Chinese people who know what this stuff is supposed to taste like don’t go here. They are advertising that this is a Chinese place for white folks, or…in other words…anyone who had not remotely tasted a bite of actual mainland-style Chinese cooking in their lives. Anyone who thinks going to Panda Express counts as getting Chinese food. Anyone who things going to P.F. Chang’s is living on the edge. Anyone for whom the idea of going to the 626 Night Market is an anathema.
And then, for the Waitstaff to have to fish through their supply closet and find a set of take-out, wooden, split apart Chopsticks? Yeah, the review became an automatic pan at this point. You’ve just told me all I need to know about this place.
Must’ve blown folks minds to watch me eat my entire meal with those cheap @#$ chopsticks.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: A table at an actual Chinese restaurant.
But failing that, I went with two items, both of which disappointed in their own unique ways. First I ordered Honey-Glazed BBQ Sliced Pork as a starter. Only, it wasn’t sized like a starter, it was sized like a dang dinner plate. On top of that, I’ve had BBQ Pork. I know what it looks like. I know what it tastes like. The Hawaiian Grill inside the Glendale Galleria does a better job of it than this place. Chi Dynasty inexplicably just serves out thin slices of Pork, covered in a super sweet sauce, and cover in black pepper flakes. When it was set in front of me, it was a completely unrecognizable dish. Only thing is, the black pepper flakes have all the spicy heat of a bowl of plain white rice, and they may as well have poured honey on the Pork and gotten it over with. No Chinese dish I have ever had is as sweet as that. No Chinese dish anyone has ever had is as sweet as that.
For actual dinner, I went with a personal favorite their version of Pan-Fried Noodles, the Dynasty Pan-Fried Noodles. Now this dish at least looked right. It was familiar. It was comfortable.
It also bordered on flavorless.
All of the sudden, I was flashing back to the nightmare that was New Moon. Nothing is worse than having a flavorless, dull tasting meal. Nothing about it sparked. I’ve had stuff at Panda Express with more flavor than this.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Part of my issue could have been that…for whatever reason, the Air Conditioning wasn’t working all that well, and they had to blast fans from the Kitchen Area. It felt miserable in there.
Look every place has a bad night, and this was theirs…still, that doesn’t excuse the quality of food or the restaurant’s general philosophy.
Look, the most important safety tip is to go in knowing you won’t be having anything resembling actual Chinese food.
When Din Tai Fung opens at the Americana, it’s going to kill this place.
PARKING: Americana at Brand has its own pay Garage that’s pretty well organized. It’s designed along the same line as the one at the Grove. You can park for free for an 90 minutes, or more with Validation. If you want to go the extreme cheap route, you can park in the Glendale Galleria, which is always free, and just walk across the street. But it really depends on how long you’re staying and what you need to do. If you’re just jumping into the Apple Store for five minutes (or anything under 90), then it’s probably worth it to go ahead and park in the Americana.
769 Americana Way