It is a widely held belief, if not common knowledge, that while Sarasota is home to a wide assortment of excellent dining options and cuisines, there is not a bona fide Chinese restaurant among them. So it’s been a long time wish of the SarasotaFoodies that we’d one day find a great Chinese restaurant, and like a dream come true, enters Yummy House.
Having grown up in Toronto, with its own amazing China Town smack in the middle of downtown, I spent countless nights trying all kinds of Chinese delicacies. It was a right of passage for me — a chance to step outside the box and try food quite unlike the meals I was raised with at home.
So like everyone else who has ever had authentic Chinese food, imagine how excited I was just entering and looking at the menu for the first time. Ding, ding, ding! I haven’t tasted a morsel yet, but I’m already including this place in heavy dining rotation.
We started with the Salt and Pepper Chicken wings – crispy and savory. Salt and Pepper anything are signature dishes at Yummy House, so don’t pass up ordering something from these selections! Unlike the name suggests, this preparation does not come off tasting heavily salty. In fact, combined with a generous portion of cilantro, both of your SarasotaFoodies were scooping up the remaining topping with a spoon once we finished off the chicken wings. Easily one of the best versions of a chicken wing either of us has ever had, we have to confess there were more wings on the plate before we stopped chowing away and remembered to take the photo!
Jill notes that the menu has a wide variety of dishes she’s never seen before, so she opts for a half order of the Hong Kong Style Roasted Duck, while I decide on a more exotic preparing of Frog Legs with Bitter Melon Clay Pot. Our server was quick to warn me that the melon was “very bitter” but also very “good for you”. Maybe, he says, it is something Chinese people like that I will not. . . What?!!! Bring it on!
Neither dish disappointed. The duck was juicy with a crispy skin, and deep flavors, while my frog was fall off the bone tender in a savory black bean sauce and chunks of fresh ginger, along with the aforementioned bitter melon. The sum of the parts exceeded anything I could have imagined, and yes, the melon is bitter, but I was warned. I really liked it when taken with a bite of the frog. The portions are substantial enough that we had them pack up our leftovers for lunch the following day.
But wait, there’s more! As long as we’re here, let’s get some take-out to enjoy later (of course).
I just had to take home an order of the Japanese Octopus, a cold salad of marinated octopus with some pickled vegetables on the side, and a mountain sized portion of the Dried Scallop Fried Rice.
This was easily the best octopus dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of sampling, and it travelled well as a lunch the next day, as did the rice, which doesn’t always come back to life after leaving a restaurant. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t re-order, but I feel compelled to try the other 185 (yes, that’s right) dishes on the menu first. (And that doesn’t count the dim sum menu!)
Since the place is so new, there isn’t a dedicated website for the Sarasota location, but if you want to get a look at their menu, we’ve provided a link to their Tampa location. Most of what we enjoyed is shown there.
Thank you, and welcome to Sarasota, Yummy House!