It’s always nice to see a small business start-up, full of hopes and dreams of making it big. Little Dragon is new to the neighborhood scene and shows lots of potential. It’s a toss-up about what you notice first when walking into Little Dragon, located in the King Soopers shoppette in Mayfair at 1305 Krameria Street. There’s the cute atmosphere with warm colors and decorating packed into the tiny waiting/dining area with only two small tables. Before you can really take that in, you are greeted by proprietress Mimi Chan, who has amazing customer service skills. Mimi is charming and friendly and makes great suggestions about what to order. While we waited for our food, customers called in for delivery or came in for pick-up and were greeted by name like they were old friends. Obviously Little Dragon has gained some loyal customers in a short time.
I ordered some of my favorite Chinese cuisine dishes to see if they were up to the standards I’ve become accustomed to with some of the other fine Asian restaurants in the area. We started off the meal with Oven Baked Cheese Crab Wontons (fried are also offered). I’ve never seen a baked version offered anywhere so we had to try them. They were delicate and flaky and a nice change from fried. The fried Veggie and Pork Spring rolls were also good with light, crispy wrappers.
For entrees, I ordered my favorite dish, Barbeque Pork Fried Rice which I love for the smoky flavor. While the overall flavor of the fried rice was very good, it lacked the smokiness and was more like regular pork fried rice. Although I usually prefer Lemongrass Chicken, I decided to try Lemongrass Beef which you also don’t usually see. It had a delicate flavor, as it should, and a very soft texture that I think is better suited (and expected) from chicken. The beef in Mongolian Beef was deliciously rich and spicy. The addition of crispy fried potato wedges sounded intriguing and started out great but got a little mushy as the dish sat.
Sesame Chicken is a fixture in all Chinese restaurants. Their version was light and didn’t feel overly battered. At Mimi’s recommendation, we also ordered the Naughty Buddha Salad, their signature salad with crisp lettuce topped with julienne carrots, crispy rice noodles, sliced almonds, mandarin oranges and shredded chicken breast with a light house dressing on the side. It was a cool, crisp foil to the hot dishes.
Little Dragon’s menu is easy to use and isn’t overwhelming in number of offerings, as often happens. They obviously chose items (with no MSG) that were a slight twist on the usual like Peace Not War Won Ton Soup that adds shrimp, chicken, pork and veggies to the usual dumplings or the Vegetarian “eel” with braised shiitake mushrooms wok-tossed in a sweet and spicy ginger sauce. The Chef’s Suggestions section of the menu offers organic tofu, chicken, beef or shrimp done up in various treatments like Kung Pao, Sesame, and Shacha an Asian barbecue sauce tossed with red and green peppers, onion, broccoli, mushrooms and zucchini.
Prices at Little Dragon run $2.50 – $9.95 for appetizers, soup and salad and $9.95 – $12.95 for entrees. I’ll be interested to see how things progress for Mimi and Little Dragon. Meanwhile, it’s good to have another restaurant around for take-out or delivery, all with super-friendly service to boot.