SANDY China Lily serves up mellow favorites in a mellow setting.
Sure, the place can get bustling when the Mongolian barbecue is in full swing, but overall the mood is tranquil in this spacious restaurant, which is broken into three- or four-table sections with cutwork metal and wooden Asian-style screens.
We dropped by China Lily after a movie at Jordan Commons. The kids were revved up after enjoying "Cars," but they quickly settled down as soft music played overhead.
We started with tightly wrapped, golden-brown fried wontons, six with pork filling and six with cream cheese, and a plate of pan-fried dumplings, eight of them close-packed and presented with a lacy, dark-charred lattice of pan drippings sticking them together. The kids loved the crackly wontons, with just a taste of filling in each one; my husband and I most enjoyed the dumplings, with their firm, ground meat-and-veggie filling and almost bitter seared wrappers.
Our server offered us soup on the house (it was nearly the end of the evening), so the kids and my husband happily slurped down egg-drop soup with chicken and corn, a nice take on traditional egg drop with its delicate drifts of egg and brighter flavor, thanks to the corn. I had the hot-and-sour soup, full of egg and julienned bamboo shoots and mushrooms. It was tasty but much more sour than hot.
In fact, I noticed at China Lily that most things that were supposed to be hot and spicy were only mildly spicy. If you need heat, smuggle in some Tabasco or Chinese mustard.
For dinner we had the beef with broccoli, a family favorite that was well done here, with an assertive, garlic-infused brown sauce. We also tried the Mandarin combination, sliced beef and chicken with tail-on shrimp, whole Chinese mushrooms and veggies in a lighter brown sauce.
Because I wanted a little spiciness, our server recommended the chicken with black-pepper sauce, sliced chicken with onions and green beans in a pepper-flecked sauce. It was a little spicy, not as much as I expected, but I enjoyed it. The spring-green beans almost tasted like asparagus, and the sauce heightened the fresh, bright tastes.
For dessert, we had China Lily's delicious deep-fried chunks of apples and bananas, served with yolk-golden scoops of Fendall's vanilla ice cream. The batter coating was exquisitely crisp and light, not oily at all, and the fruit inside was delightful apples firm and tart, bananas melting and sweet. That dessert alone was worth the trip.Appetizers $3.95-$8.95, soups $1.50-$5.95, Mongolian grill $11.95, entrees $8.95-$27.95, rice $4.95-$9.95, dessert $2.50-$5.50.
YOU MAY HAVE noticed that the information box accompanying this review has a new entry: "Wheelchair Access." This improvement, suggested by smart reader Stanley Johnson, will help people who use wheelchairs gain a better picture of their potential experience at each week's eatery. If a place is readily accessible, I'll list it as "Easy." If it's crowded or has other obstacles but is still somewhat accessible, I'll list it as "Challenging," and if there's little or no access I'll list it as "None," along with some explanatory notes.
Where: 9400 S. State, Sandy; other locations in Provo, Lindon and (as Xaio Li) downtown Salt Lake City
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-
10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-9 p.m.
Payment: No checks accepted
Phone: 304-4095Wheelchair access: Easy
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org