Sunday, August 21, 2016

Got An Itch For Chinese? Visit Zom Hee.

Family owned and operated Zom Hee Chinese Restaurant has been serving Szechuan, Hunan and Cantonese styles of cooking to hungry and sometimes desperate diners since 1985. When my bride and I moved to the beach from Tampa almost two years ago, it never occurred to us that dining options would be so limited at Christmas on this side of the bay, but they were. Then it struck me - Christmas is not a Chinese holiday, so maybe we could grab a bite at a little Chinese place we pass on Park Boulevard.

Well, friends and neighbors, we were not the only ones who had that epiphany. Zom Hee was overrun by starving people like ourselves and there was no way we were going to get a table, much less a parking spot, so we journeyed farther in search of sustenance. We did make a mental note to return to Zom Hee during a less hectic time.

Since that abortive visit we have been blessed with excellent service and good grub in large quantities on several occasions at Zom Hee. Last night for dinner with friends we once again graced a Zom Hee table.

We four wandered in around 5:30 and were promptly seated in a large dining area nicely decorated with an Oriental decor. On the way to our table, we discovered the nice sized cocktail lounge where a myriad of umbrella drinks come into being. 

At the table, I found myself itchin' for one of those umbrella drinks on the menu - the Confucius Itch. This itch of Confucius was presented in an appropriately decorated drinking vessel with the requisite umbrella. 

With the first suck on the straw I was immediately hit with an episode of brain freeze. Less robust draws on the straw allowed a more pleasant experience with this somewhat tart beverage made with gin, sloe gin, and passion fruit.

While the presence of alcohol was not over-powering, I did get the sense that with four or five more of these beverages I would probably have to be wheeled to the door - especially on an empty stomach. So, let us get to the comestibles.

Two in our party decided that aquatic fowl would be the protein of the day. The dishes requested were the Duck with Black Mushrooms and the Woo Shu Duckling with slivered almonds.

Both duck dishes were presented with rich and flavorful sauces. The servings were more than adequate in size, so much so that to-go cartons were requested. My duck with mushrooms was as good for lunch the next day as dinner that night.

My bride decided on the Sweet and Sour Chicken that came with a cup of won ton soup (not pictured), pork fried rice, and an egg roll.

Quivering in gastronomic pleasure, she described this dish as a sensation for the buds of taste with a perfectly breaded and cooked chicken breast slathered with a delightful sweet and sour sauce.

Then we have the Scallop Chili Hot Sauce which was described as not particularly hot. Flavorful, yes - hot, not so much. That isn't necessarily a negative depending on the diner's tolerance for heat. This dish was a richly sauced stew of bay scallops and al dente vegetables.

Personally, I would not characterize the Zom Hee dishes as authentic Chinese, but more as Americanized Chinese. The dishes I have tried have been flavorful and filling and warmly comfortable in the tummy. As an added plus, the prices are really comfortable on the wallet. Our table of four spent a little over a hundred bucks on food, adult beverages and optional gratuity.

I can live with that and return visits. There are several more umbrella drinks yet to be tried.

 Zom Hee Chinese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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